Pascal Dusapin – Aufgang (2012)

l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Conductor: Osmo Vänskä

Violin: Renaud Capuçon

Victoria Hall de Genève (Jan. 2014).

Kindly recorded and presented by RTS.ch

This composition was commissioned by Renaud Capuçon.

NOTES
I like the German word ‘Aufgang’, because it suggests a rising movement. The French translation – échelle (‘scale’) or escalier (‘stairway’) – is necessarily an approach that expresses more of a concept than a movement. The word ‘Aufgang’ came to me rather spontaneously while I was composing, when I couldn’t find a way into the space that the desire for this concerto form had led to. I find it extremely difficult to express what I wanted with this concerto and how I was trying to go about it. I started working on it in 2008. Then I had to put it away. It was the first time that something like that had happened to me. I didn’t want to have anything more to do with it and I gave up the project. Several years later, thanks to the generous and enthusiastic initiative of Renaud Capuçon, I picked it up again and completed it in 2011. To do that, on the one hand I had to start all over again, but on the other hand carry on with everything. [source]

Renaud Capuçon:

Pascal Dusapin:

Pascal Dusapin

[This blogpost is inspired by Ronnie Rocket, thanks]

Ravi Shankar with Philip Glass – Passages (1990)

Passages is a collaborative chamber music studio album co-composed by Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass, released in 1990 through Atlantic Records. The album’s content is a hybrid of Hindustani classical music and Glass’ distinct American minimal contemporary classical style. [source]

Tim Baker, violin / S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, vocals / Seymour Barab, cello / Al Brown, viola / Ashit Desai, conductor / Blaise Dupuy, engineer Barry / Finclair, viola, violin / Mayuki Fukuhara, violin / Jeannie Gagné, voices / Jon Gibson, soprano saxophone / Philip Glass, performer, producer / Peter Gordon, French horn / Regis Iandiorio, violin / Rory Johnston, executive producer / Karen Karlsrud, violin / Abhiman Kaushal, tabla / Jack Kripl, alto saxophone, flute / Suresh Lalwani, arranger, conductor, mixing, orchestral assistant, producer / Regis Landiorio, violin / Beverly Lauridsen, cello / Batia Lieberman, cello / Ronu Mazumdar, flute / Michael McGrath, assistant engineer / Kurt Munkacsi, producer / Keith O’Quinn, trombone / Richard Peck, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone / Melanie Penny, art direction / Martin Perlich, liner notes / Lenny Pickett, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone / Alan Raph, trombone / Michael Riesman, conductor, mixing, piano / Ebet Roberts, photography Partha Sarathy, sarod, veena / Sergiu Schwartz, violin / Ron Sell, French horn / Ravi Shankar, arranger, orchestration, performer, producer, vocals / Shubho Shankar, sitar / Richard Sortomme, viola / T. Srinivasan, drum sounds, mridangam / A.R. Swaminathan, engineer / Masako Yanagita, viola, violin / Frederick Zlotkin, cello

  1. “Offering” (Ravi Shankar)– 9:47
  2. “Sadhanipa” (Philip Glass) – 8:37
  3. “Channels and Winds” (Philip Glass) – 8:00
  4. “Ragas in Minor Scale” (Philip Glass) – 7:37
  5. “Meetings Along the Edge” (Ravi Shankar) – 8:11
  6. “Prashanti” (Ravi Shankar) – 13:40

[buy]

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Terry Riley – A Rainbow in Curved Air (1969)

“Rainbow in Curved Air” demonstrates the straightforward pattern technique but also has Riley improvising with the patterns, making gorgeous timbre changes on the synthesizers and organs, and presenting contrasting sections that has become the basic structuring of his works (“Candenza on the Night Plain” and other pieces). [source]

The largely improvisational nature of the work, based on modal scales, owes much to jazz and Hindustani classical music. Some jazz musicians had explored overdubbing techniques before, notably Bill Evans, one of Riley’s piano “heroes”,[3] on his classic album Conversations with Myself from four years earlier, with its three piano tracks; but Riley uses a far wider range of instruments and colors. [source]

David Behrman – Producer / John A. Johnson – Preparation Engineer / Glen Kolotkin – Engineer / Terry Riley – Composer, Dumbek, Electric Harpsichord, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Primary Artist, Rocksichord, Sax (Soprano), Tambourine / Howard H. Scott – CD Preparation, Preparation / Roy Segal – Engineer

[A guide to Terry Rileys music]

Terry Riley - A Rainbow In Curved Air - Front

György Ligeti – Organ Study No. 2 ‘Coulée’ (1969)

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“Op-art” — short for “optical illusion” — first became a real trend in western painting in the 1960s, with artists like Josef Albers and Victor Vasarely. Often tricking the eye with tempting but suspect patterns, many of these paintings offered a vision of great, cool precision, of bright candy-colors and flawlessly hygienic brushwork; out of meticulous background grids arose great cubes or spheres that were — in truth — nothing more than the well-constructed fib of a flat canvas.

The late 1960s works of composer György Ligeti are often described as the musical equivalent to these visual essays. And in many ways, works like the composer’s 1969 Organ Study No. 2 (“Coulée”) are brilliant reports on the art of sonic illusion. On the one hand, “Coulée” — French for “flow” and also “casting” — obsessively exploits extremely fast arpeggios and passage-work in an unstoppable moto perpetuo of ever-shifting flurries. But, per its trompe-l’oreille tactics, “Coulée” manages such steadfast consistency in its technique that the ear begins to hear a slowly-evolving continuum, almost lyrical in its arching contours. Breakneck speed emanates an air of gradual, yawning curve; tiny, scurrying patterns lose their definition and sink into a larger sound-mass. In this sense, “Coulée” is the logical organ-child of its harpsichord precedent, 1968’s famous Continuum. In this work and the organ study, Ligeti exploited a fusion of two musical concepts, “dot-pattern music” and “grid-system music” — the former a music of surface perceptions, the latter its imperceptible architectural basis. The result of this fusion, in both pieces, is a music at once static and supremely mobile, a sonic contradiction between cognition and concept.

So, thanks to Ligeti’s “Coulée,” we’ve got our musical counterpart to “Op-art” all wrapped up. But of course, that’s not the whole picture, primarily because once one gets past the technical sympathies between a Vasarely and a Ligeti, one begins to perceive a disturbing rift. A painting like Vasarely’s Ziko is a resplendent objective paradise, psychedelic in color and antiseptic in effect — it works perfectly; but Ligeti’s “Coulée” carries mud on its shoes. It plays too hard, so to speak, pushing the organ to its limits of articulation and air-power, and the performer to her limits of stamina. Like Continuum, Ligeti’s “Coulée” carries a certain peril and anxiety with its illusionary strategies. One is reminded not of M.C. Escher’s witty retinal paradoxes, but of Franz Kafka’s horrible execution-machine from the story “In the Penal Colony,” — a device which obsessively, punctiliously tattoos its victims with their own sentences until they perish. In Ligeti, as in Kafka, the machine breaks down amidst its hysterical but ultimately inanimate rite. But perhaps “Coulée” is redeemed through its implied endlessness, a much more merciful vision than Kafka’s, or Ligeti’s own in Continuum; as one commentator put it, the organ fades away “dispersing into the higher vaults of the cathedral; the rhythmical grid is a transient section of an infinite movement…”

György Ligeti – Organ Study No. 1 ‘Harmonies’ (1967)

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Although György Ligeti composed only three works for the organ, ‘Volumina’, ‘Harmonies’ and ‘Coulée’, these pieces mark significant stages in the course of his compositional development; more importantly, they revolutionised the world of organ music and provided the initial spark for an entire wave of New Music for the organ. ‘Volumina’ completely dispenses with the parameters normally used to structure time in a musical work, such as melody, rhythm and harmony.

The only active structural parameter in this music is the tone colour. The music is perceived more in a spatial than a temporal sense, with the title referring to differently dimensioned ‘stationary’ sound spaces.

In the 11-movement piano cycle ‘Musica ricercata’ Ligeti explores the possibilities of using the 12 chromatic semitones for composition. One of the movements was arranged for the organ by Ligeti himself; the others have been arranged by the organist Dominik Susteck. Susteck, who performed and recorded these works on the organ of Kunst- Station Sankt Peter in Cologne, also presents an original composition: his organ improvisations ‘Sprachsignale’ which are inspired by Ligeti’s piece ‘Artikulation’. Play loud!

Boguslaw Schäffer – Symphony (1966)

Symphony is the first work of any considerable length realised by the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio; its composition was spread out over more than a year. The basic idea was to transpose into purely electronic music the notion of the assembly of sounds of different origin that the word “symphony” suggests. The realisation of the work demanded close co-operation between the composer and the engineer, Bohdan Mazurek, who contributed a great deal in the suggestion and provision of suitable apparatus. –David Rissin

Béla Bartók – Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117 (1937–38)

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Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117 was written in 1937–38.

Bartók composed the concerto in a difficult stage of his life, when he was filled with serious concerns about the growing strength of fascism. He was of firm anti-fascist opinions, and therefore became the target of various attacks in pre-war Hungary.

Bartók initially planned to write a single-movement concerto set of variations, but Zoltán Székely wanted a standard three-movement concerto. In the end, Székely received his three movements, while Bartók received his variations (the second movement being possibly the most formal set of variations Bartók wrote in his career, and the third movement being a variation on material from the first).

Though not employing twelve-tone technique the piece contains twelve-tone themes, such as in the first and third movements.

The work was premiered at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on March 23, 1939 with Zoltán Székely on violin and Willem Mengelberg conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

It had its United States premiere in Cleveland, Ohio in 1943, with Tossy Spivakovsky on the violin accompanied by The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Artur Rodziński. Spivakovsky later gave the New York and San Francisco premieres of the work.

Allegro nnon troppo
Andante tranquilo
Allegro molto

Violín: Yehudi Menuhin

Philharmonia Orchestra

Director: Wilhelm Furtwängler

Recorded in 1953.

Brahms – Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 (1878)

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The Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, was composed by Johannes Brahms in 1878 and dedicated to his friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. It is Brahms’s only violin concerto, and, according to Joachim, one of the four great German violin concerti. The Germans have four violin concertos. The greatest, most uncompromising is Beethoven’s. The one by Brahms vies with it in seriousness. The richest, the most seductive, was written by Max Bruch. But the most inward, the heart’s jewel, is Mendelssohn’s.

I. Allegro non troppo 0:00
II. Adagio 22:36
III. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace 32:26

David Oistrakh
Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française
Otto Klemperer
Studio recording, Paris, June 17-19, 1960

[Dedicated to Ida Holst]