April 12, 2016
Symphony in D minor, Op. 120 (#4) - Schumann - Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer
An exuberance spills out and over, washing the countryside. As we pick up the pieces we civilize and in civilizing are civilized. This isn't my favorite recording of this piece, but Klemperer does pick up on some of the work's strangeness, wearing its awkward moments gracelessly but exactly, like an ill-fitting suit of clothes.
Concert Fantasy - Rimsky-Korsakov - Orchestra of Radio Luxembourg, Louis de Froment, Aaron Rosand
The best part of the piece is toward the end where a clarinet finally gives the solo violin some push back. Otherwise it's vapid and dull, like sitting through somebody else's vacation slides.
Klarinettenquintet in B minor, Op. 115 - Brahms - Amadeus Quartet, Karl Leister
Lush, overgrown tendrils of counterpoint have insinuated themselves into every crevice. Each phrase is a complex of threads and asides, no single voice speaking a whole thing entirely. The variations that finish it open the door at last to some fresh air.
April 14, 2016
The rhythmic flexibitily in play (which is prodigious) is different in flavor but not in degree to, say, a late Beethoven Sonata in Schnabel's reading, or a Chopin Nocturne in Cortot's. Robustly anti-metronomic.
Frankie Blues - Mamie Smith [from Alan Lowe's Really The Blues]
Another, brilliant, take on the great American mythopoetic saga: the romantic betrayal between Frankie and Johnnie.
Fat Meat and Greens - Jelly Roll Morton [from Alan Lowe's Really The Blues]
There is a bluesiness about the swing that is echoed in his bendy attitude toward pitch and touch, offering another way to think about the reflection of the horizontal upon the vertical: meter to (something like) intonation, rather than pitch set to pitch set.
Violin Concerto in D - Stravinsky - Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky, Isaac Stern
Moving, but not going. Circulating, spiraling to get back - spinning wheels within spinning wheels. Each seeming repetition transformed, each nearly familiar angle re-configured.
Concerto - Khachaturian - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz, Dickran Atamian
I wasn't familiar with this piece going in, and it started by reminding me of Bartok, but without the astringency. It certainly is shamelessly Lisztian. I ended up kind of digging the keyboard writing, especially when he piled on as many moving parts at once as he could, like juggling snakes and kittens.
In Session at the Tintinabulary
April 11, 2016
Gradus 288 - Neal Kosály-Meyer
We now have a fourth pitch, as Neal introduces G natural (the highest one), joined by a lowish E for the 2nd rung.