The Classical Dinner mixtape is meant to be mood playlist to accompany a intimate dinner. Enjoy!
Notes on update #005 of The Classical mixtape.
Ernst Krenek is one of the twelve tone composers that followed and was inspired by Schoenberg and the second Vienna School. Originally from Austria but later moved to America. I really like the lyric qualities and almost romantic tone of his music. One very nice work is the Lamentatio Jeremiae prophetae which combines twelve tone techniques and Renaissance style counterpoint.
Tapiola was Sibelius last orchestral work. It is a truly astonishing work. The general feeling is that the music doesn’t move forward. One reason is the beautiful harmony and orchestration. It is quite impressionistic. Like a darker variant of Debussy with the forest instead of the sea. Another reason is the form. The music is rolling back and forth with a few outbursts that really doesn’t lead forward.
Notes about update #004 of The Modern mixtape.
Polymorphia by Krzysztof Penderecki is a modernist classic from 1961. It is scored for 48 strings and Penderecki uses a lot graphical notation to build clusters of sounds. The result is brutal and harsh. The ending C major chord is quite surreal. It was used in the soundtrack of both The Exorcist and The Shining.
Another modern classic is Gruppen by Stockhausen. It is scored for three orchestras and each orchestra is conducted by a separate conductor. The idea is that Stockhausen had is that you have groups of notes that have characteristics in common. It can be the timbre or if all notes have high pitch. In Gruppen each group also share the same tempi. Thats why there are three orchestras with individual conductors. Another reason is the spatial possibilities that you can explore when you place the orchestras at different places. Stockhausen made a lecture serie in England 1972 where he among other things explains the theories around groups and point. It is available on youtube here.
The flutist Clair Chase is one the great champions for contemporary music. Both as a solist and as the founders of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
Notes about update #003 of The Jazz mixtape.
Emptiness by Trio Elf is currently my favourite Jazz piece. Those drums are really something.
Niculin Janett does not have a band with a piano, or any other chord instruments, on No Parking Any Time. It really gives a special feel to the music and it requires the musicians to be more melodic and harmonically aware when they play.
For Jazz musicians to cover classical pieces is something that is really hard to get right. I think Nicolas Kummert Satie cover “Gnossienne” really works.
Notes about update #004 of The Classical Mixtape.
Haydn is one of my favourite composers. He has a way to work and develop musical material that makes him one the greatest. The way he develops a small but dramatic motif of four notes in the first movement of the 83rd Symphony for instance.
I also think his music often has maturity and afterthought. Often with rough edges, but with great sense of humour and a big heart. The second movement in the 31th piano sonata for instance is a great example of that. Emanuel Ax recording with Haydn piano sonatas, especially the late album, must be one of my favourite albums with Haydn piano music. He reflects this maturity and afterthought in a light and fluent way of playing.
Concerto in E-flat “Dumbarton Oaks” is a chamber concerto by Igor Stravinsky that was written during his Neoclassical period and completed in 1938. It was premiered on Dumbarton Oaks in 1938 with Nadia Boulanger as the conductor.
Notes about update #003 of The Modern mixtape.
Fragments of a circle is an orchestral piece by the Swedish composer Pär Lindgren that just recently have been available for streaming. A fascinating orchestral piece inspired by Leonardo da Vinci drawings.
Unsuk Chin is a composer with unique language of her own. In pieces like Xi for ensemble and electronics and the Double Concerto for piano, percussion and ensemble she is demonstrating a energetic type of music with it’s very own timbre and sound.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard is part of recent album where he is performing Tristan Murail’s monumental piano concerto Le Désenchantement du monde. He is a true champion for contemporary music. He is, for instance, famous for his interpretations of Messiaen and Ligeti. Both the album with Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus and Ligeti’s Études is very good.
Another recent monumental recording is Un’immagine di Arpocrate for piano, choir and orchestra by Salvatore Sciarrino. I associate two types of music with Sciarrino. One is these long ambient pieces pieces like Un’immagine di Arpocrate and Sui Poemi Concentrici. I really like how he stretch and hold particular mood for long periods of time, much like Brian Eno has done in his ambient music like the recently released Reflection. He has also written a lot of operas and have for many have worked with how to write music for the human voice. That has also been the inspiration for his late string quartets, for instance the seventh one.
Notes about update #003 of The Classical mixtape.
Happy Birthday Jacqueline du Pre. She was a astonishing cellist but had to stop performing at the age of 27 because she had multiple sclerosis. She was most famous for her performance and recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto. She also made a number of recordings with chamber music together with Daniel Barenboim (with whom she was married at the time). For instance the Beethoven Cello Sonatas, his Piano Trios and the Brahms Cello Sonatas.
On March 31, 1913, there was a scandalous concert in Wien that ended in riots and couldn’t be finished. The conductor was Schoenberg and below is the program.
- Zemlinsky 6 Songs after Poems by Maeterlinck, op 13
- Webern Six pieces of Orchestra, op 6
- Schoenberg Chamber Symphony no 1, op 9
- Berg Five Orchestral Songs, Op. 4
- Mahler Kindertotenlieder
Two month after that concert, on the 29th of May, the most famous scandalous concert took place. The premiere of The Rite Of Spring.
I really like Maurizio Pollini’s album with the late works of Chopin. He plays with ease and a light, thoughtful touch.
Notes on update #002 of The Ambient mixtape.
Notes on update #002 of The Modern mixtape.
Belinda Reynolds is a new acquaintance for me. Elegant and beautiful.
Helmut Lachenmann can be quite hard to digest but when you do it can be very rewarding. He is considered one of Germany’s most important composer. His music has been described as musique concrète instrumentale. The easiest way to explain it is that it is composed with other parameters than more traditional classical music. He generally replaces notes with timbre and the sound that is produced on an instrument. The music is generally acoustic, sometimes with electronic amplification.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard have recently recorded his monumental “piano concerto” Ausklang. I think that he is a very interesting pianist. He is doing both traditional repertoire like the Beethoven piano concertos with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and contemporary music like his recording of Ligeti’s piano études.
One of Lachenmann’s students is the French composer Mark Andre. You might regard him as a blend of the avant-garde aesthetics from Darmstadt and the live electronics from IRCAM. über, from 2015, is a work for orchestra, clarinet and live electronics.
Jo Kondo is a Japanese contemporary composer. He refer his style as sen no ongaku which translates to linear music, or the more poetic row of endless tones. The result is music which is conceived like one continuous , endless line. Much like Morton Feldman in his late music. Listen, for instance, to Aquarelle and Bonjin.
Notes on update #002 of The Jazz mixtape.
Happy birthday David Bowie. Sue (Or in a Seson of Crime) is a collaboration between David Bowie and the composer/arranger Maria Schneider. She described the collaboration in a newly released documentary about David Bowie’s last 5 last years. The result is very good and once again showed what a adventurous and curious musician David Bowie was. Many of the musicians from that session also participated on his last album, Blackstar.
There are a couple of Latin American flavoured albums that I currently listen to. The first one is the afro-colombian inspired Pensamiento album by the Canadian trumpeter/composer Rachel Therrien. The second album is Metal Na Madeira with the Brazilian singer Paula Santoro and guitarist Ian Faquini.
Rakim is known to be influenced by Jazz, especially John Coltrane. In his early years he played the saxophone. The result is a very relaxed, musical and free style the absolutely reminds you of John Coltrane.