From the album Studies For Player Piano by Conlon Nancarrow, recorded on Conlon Nancarrow’s custom-altered 1927 Ampico reproducing piano at the studio of the composer in Mexico City on January 10 and 12, 1988.
Conlon Nancarrow’s Studies for Player Piano is a cycle of work unique in many respects, not the least being its seeming indivisibility from itself. As the primary text of the music is a hand-punched piano roll intended to be played on specific, Ampico model player pianos, it does not lead to a wide range of options in terms of interpretation. Studies for Player Piano, stems from master tapes made in Mexico City for release on the 1750 Arch label in the 1970s and ’80s, with Nancarrow´s own specially retrofitted pianos, in Nancarrow´s studio, and with the composer himself picking tempos and working with producer Charles Amirkhanian to achieve ideal results. These recordings were considered state of the art at the time and still sound great, and can certainly be considered definitive; CDs drawing from sources made later represent the music as played back by other machines and operators. While the differences might be slight, they are still significant, particularly in regard to tempo choices, which can either make or break this music, and breaking it isn’t hard to do at all. Hearing them played back on Nancarrow´s pianos also affords an additional layer of articulation missing from many reproductions; one of Nancarrow´s pianos was fitted with metal hammers, resulting a clattery sense of attack, whereas the other had hammers covered with leather strips for a more mellow sound. Make no mistake about it: the Other Minds set truly represents what Nancarrow himself wanted you to hear when it came to his player piano music, and he did have very specific ideas about that. [source]
Conlon Nancarrow - Piano
Two different worlds united in one.
Igor Stravinsky wrote the Ebony Concerto in 1945 for the Woody Herman band known as the First Herd. It is one in a series of compositions commissioned by the bandleader/clarinetist featuring solo clarinet. Herman recorded the concerto in the Belock Recording Studio at Bayside New York, calling it a “very delicate and a very sad piece”. Stravinsky felt that the jazz musicians would have a hard time with the various time signatures. Saxophonist Flip Phillips said “during the rehearsal [...] there was a passage I had to play there and I was playing it soft, and Stravinsky said ‘Play it, here I am!’ and I blew it louder and he threw me a kiss!” [source]
Woody Herman Orchestra.
Igor Stravinsky, conductor.
Recorded in 1946.
Columbia 78rpm disc 7479-M (XCO 36778; XCO 35779).
Digital Transfer by F. Reeder
listen to the version with Benny Goodman here
Webern’s Six Bagatelles for string quartet, Op. 9 (1911-13) represent a critical step for the evolution of atonal musical techniques. They also mark a critical step for the composer, who in his attempt to realize the ideas of his mentor, Arnold Schoenberg, emerged as a true original. For several years, Webern had doted on Schoenberg personally and artistically. When Schoenberg wrote his Six Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19, in 1911, Webern noted that some of the movements lacked contrast. While Schoenberg apparently gave little thought to the implications of his new work, Webern wrangled with this problem of contrast in the still-emerging language of atonality. Later that year, Webern wrote the internal movements of Op. 9, considering the result as his second string quartet.
In the following year Webern followed Schoenberg to Berlin, where the revered master composed his epochal Pierrot Lunaire, which featuring the Sprechstimme (song-speech) technique. Webern presently composed three movements for string quartet, the second of which featured a Sprechstimme setting of his own poetry. Schoenberg, who had composed a string quartet with the addition of soprano in 1908, was no doubt painfully aware that Webern was in danger of becoming a faceless copycat. Schoenberg’s response was to not comment on Webern’s new work at all. Hurt and dismayed, Webern eliminated the Sprechstimme movement and used the two remaining movements to bookend his second string quartet.Schoenberg was very pleased with the result and even provided a glowing preface for its publication.
The Six Bagatelles require about five minutes to perform. One difference between Op. 9 and Webern’s previous quartet, Op. 5, is that the earlier work contains movements built from sections and contrasts — in that sense, much in the spirit of Haydn. However, the movements of its successor are through-composed, not sectional, and there are no contrasts that require resolution. The level of musical tension is, nonetheless, very high; the work achieves this effect because the material in the first two measures provides ample opportunity to highlight and juxtapose individual musical gestures, and the dramatic envelope is controlled by the density of such activity.
Alban Berg attempted a similar approach in his Four Pieces for clarinet and piano, Op. 4, but Schoenberg felt that Webern was more suited to this particular challenge and persuaded Berg not to pursue this compositional direction. Even Webern himself managed to carve out only two more works in this manner (Opp. 10 and 11) before he exhausted its possibilities. With this trio of works, however, he made a lasting impression upon the keener listeners of his day, and the Six Bagatelles remain among the strangest and most compelling aphorisms in the string quartet repertoire. [source
Juilliard String Quartet (Recorded in New York 1970)
Emerson String Quartet (Recorded in New York 1992)
Lasalle String Quartet (Recorded 1968)
Recorded June 4th 1979, and filmed on location in the monastery church in St. Florian, Austria with Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Karajan later in an interview related that he was given special access to Bruckner’s underground tomb located beneath the great organ, where he was alone with Bruckner’s sarcophagus for a lengthy amount of time before the performance.
Anton Bruckner ’s Symphony No. 8 in C minor is the last Symphony the composer completed. It exists in two major versions of 1887 and 1890. It was premiered under conductor Hans Richter in 1892 in Vienna. It is dedicated to the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. This symphony is sometimes nicknamed The Apocalyptic, but – as with the nicknames The Tragic (for the Fifth Symphony), The Philosophic (for the Sixth), and The Lyric (for the Seventh) – this was not a name Bruckner gave to the work himself. [source]
Partita For Violin And Orchestra was composed by Witold Lutosławski from 1984 to 1988 and was dedicated to the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. The premiere was 10 January 1990, Munich: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Witold Lutosławski.
Witold Lutosławski ( January 25, 1913 – February 7, 1994) was a Polish composer and conductor. He was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians during his last three decades.
Through the mid-1980s, Lutosławski composed three pieces called Łańcuch (“Chain”), which refers to the way the music is constructed from contrasting strands which overlap like the links of a chain. Chain 2 was written for Anne- Sophie Mutter (commissioned by Paul Sacher), and for Mutter he also orchestrated his slightly earlier Partita for violin and piano, providing a new linking Interlude, so that when played together the Partita, Interlude and Chain 2 form his longest work. [source]
1. Allegro Giusto (4:14)
1. Ad Libitum (1:12)
3. Largo (6.23)
4. Ad Libitum (0:47)
5. Presto (3.52)
Witold Lutosławski - Conductor
Phillip Moll – Piano
Anne-Sophie Mutter - Violin
BBC Symphony Orchestra
[List of Witold Lutosławski´s complete works]
Capriole for Bass Clarinet and Cello composed by Kimmo Hakola.
Kimmo Hakola is a Finnish composer born in 1958 in Jyväskylä. He studied composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara and Magnus Lindberg. He first came to prominence with his first String Quartet of 1986. [source]
Shinsuke Hashimoto - Bass Clarinet / Martin Stanzeleit - Cello
Live recording from Hiroshima Feb.9.2007.
Symphony: Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) is among the most famous orchestral works of German composer Paul Hindemith. The symphony is based on themes from Hindemith’s opera Mathis der Maler, which concerns the painter (in German, “Maler”) Matthias Grünewald (or Neithardt). Hindemith composed the symphony in 1934, before he had completed work on the opera. The conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler asked him at that time for a new work to perform on an upcoming Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra concert tour, and Hindemith decided to use themes from the opera in a symphony as a ‘trial run’ for the music. Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic gave the first performance on March 12, 1934. The first performance outside Germany was given by the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra in October 1934, conducted by Otto Klemperer. Other performances include the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra in 1936, conducted by Daniel Sternberg. The symphony was well received at its first performances, but Furtwängler faced severe criticism from the Nazi government for performing music that seemed to oppose party ideology. Hindemith completed the full opera by 1935 but, because of the political climate, its premiere was delayed until 1938 in Zürich, Switzerland.
Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini in Boston March 29, 1974:
[via Zdenka Pregelj on Google+]
Wire Recorder Piece also called The Expression of Zaar is recorded in 1944. From the CD album Crossing Into The Electric Magnetic, by Halim El-Dabh, released on Halim El-Dabh Music LLC in 2000 .
Halim Abdul Messieh El-Dabh (Arabic: حليم عبد المسيح الضبع (Ḥalīm ʻAbd al-Masīḥ al-Ḍabʻ); born March 4, 1921) is an Egyptian-born American composer, performer, ethnomusicologist, and educator, who has had a career spanning six decades. He is particularly known as an early pioneer of electronic music, for having composed in 1944 the first piece of electronic tape music, specifically an electroacoustic musique concréte piece, and later for his influential work at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center from the late 1950s to early 1960s.
It was while he was still a student in Cairo that he began his experiments in electronic music. El-Dabh first conducted experiments in sound manipulation with wire recorder there in the early 1940s. By 1944, he had composed the first piece of electronic tape music or musique concréte, called The Expression of Zaar, pre-dating Pierre Schaeffer´s work by four years. [source]
“Distance de fée” created in 1951, one of the best pieces of Takemitsu’s early period. The spirit of Debussy and Messiaen are fully felt in this work of approximately 7 and 1/2 minutes duration. Messiaen’s octatonic scale is used in the tonal language. The opening lyrical theme is repeated several times, and finds a new pathway upon each return – this is a version of variation as well as rondo form, two of Takemitsu’s favorite compositional procedures. This piece, like many others by Takemitsu, was inspired by poetry, in this case, a poem of the same title by Shuzo Takiguchi (1903-1979). This work describes, with lightly mythological imagery, an elusive, transparent creature living in “air’s labyrinth … it lives in the spring breeze That barely resembled the balance of a small bird” source
Arisa Fujita – Violin / Megumi Fujita – Piano
From the album Between Tides and Other Chamber Music with compositions by Toru Takemitsu, with Fujita Piano Trio, released in 2001.
Another excellent recording with unknown performers: