The Classical mixtape #004

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.

William Alwyn was English composer that died 1985. He wrote a lot of film scores but also symphonies, concertos and string quartets.

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.

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The Modern mixtape update #003

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.

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The Classical mixtape update #003

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.

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.

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The Ambient mixtape update #002

Notes on update #002 of The Ambient mixtape.

Janice Giteck is an American composer born in 1946. It’s a sort of melancholic Minimalism/PostMinimalism. The most famous album is probably Home (Revisted) with the piece Om Shanti.

And Their Refinement of the Decline is Stars of the Lid seventh album and was released in 2007. The music is a beautiful and sensual blend of electronic sound and live instruments. Very good.

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The Modern mixtape update #002

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.

One of his students is the American composer Linda Catlin Smith. She have also studied for Morton Feldman. That comes through in works like Among The Tarnished Stars. Beautiful and calm.

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The Jazz mixtape #002

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.

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The Classical mixtape #002

Notes on update #002 of The Classical mixtape.

Klangfarbenmelodie is a technique that is mostly associated with Arnold Schoenberg. You basically divide a melodic line between different instruments. E.g making a melody of different timbres. The most extreme example is the “point” music technique that Webern and later Stockhausen used.

The term comes from Arnold Schoenberg’s Harmonielehre book. The prime example is the third movement in his 5 Orchestral pieces op 16. Webern used it a lot. One, a bit odd ,example is in his orchestration of Bach Musical Offering.

I also associate this technique with the impressionistic orchestration of Debussy. Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune for instance. For me though, the most skilful example is by Mahler. The ninth symphony in particular. The melodic language is romantic but the orchestration is modernism.

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The Ambient mixtape update #001

Notes on update #001 of The Ambient mixtape.

Reflection is the latest ambient project of Brian Eno. It is both an album and a app. In the app the music will change so it, for instance, is brighter in the morning.

It is based on probability with rules that dictate the how likely something will happen. That way the piece will be different each time it is performed. You get a certain freedom in the music that reminds me of John Cage. Especially the number pieces where the pitches are chosen with the help of I Ching and the performer are left a lot of freedom on how to perform the pieces.

Brian Eno defines Ambient music as something that is always the same but changes all the time. Like looking at a river. I totally agree with that definition. He sees his ambient music as a continuous project that started in 1975 with Discreet Music and Reflection is the latest stage. It’s a very good piece. In my opinion one of the best that he has done so far.

At first glance the Snd album by Microstoria might seem disparate and ugly. But, the more you listen to it you discover it’s beauties. The sounds fit together and make up a small but very beautiful world of it’s own.

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The Modern mixtape update #001

Notes on update #001 of The Modern mixtape.

The label Divine Arts have released two fantastic albums with music with the Russian composer Vyacheslav Artyomov. One with On the Threshold of a Radiant World and one with Gentle Emanation. Both are part of the tetralogy Symphony of the Way. Russian, powerful and beautiful.

New South American Discoveries is a really good album with new South American music. Miguel Harth-bedoya conducts The Norwegian Radio Orchestra. I especially like Mecánica by Sebastián Vergara.

Group 180 was a Hungarian minimalist ensemble formed in 1978 behind the iron curtain. One of the founders was the composer Tibor Szemző. The music is more European and harsh then it’s American counterparts. A bit like Louis Andriessen.

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The Classical mixtape #001

Notes on update #001 of The Classical mixtape.

RIP Heinrich Schiff. He was a Austrian cellist and conductor. He is most famous for his astonishing recordings of the Bach cello suites and Shostakovich concertos.

Happy Birthday Alexander Scriabin! One interpreter of his music that is one of my favourites is the Swedish pianist Maria Lettberg. In 2007 she made a very good recording of Scriabin solo piano work.

I am a big fan of John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Especially the recordings of the Beethoven symphonies. I really like the noisy, fast performed with period instruments in small orchestras. It’s a refreshing contrast to the many big, romantic interpretations that you are used to. They have also recorded a very fine album with the complete symphonies of Robert Schumann.

Also, a new album with the Beethoven cello sonatas performed by Ralph Kirshbaum and Shai Wosner.

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