Hanns Eisler – 14 Arten den Regen zu beschreiben (14 Ways To Describe The Rain), Op. 70 (1941)

In 1941, Eisler wrote music for the 1929 black-and-white documentary Rain by legendary Dutch director Joris Ivens. The Ivens website describes the film as “a very poetic film with changing moods, following the change from sunny Amsterdam streets to rain drops in the canals and the pooring rain on windows, umbrellas, trams and streets, until it clears up and the sun breaks through once again.” Eisler’s score was written as an experiment for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Film Music Project at the New School in New York City. The music does not exactly correspond to the mood of each image in the film; instead, it explores the textures of sadness—an unusual theme for Eisler. The chamber suite based on the film score was one of Eisler’s favorite works and is a study in his communicative style of twelve-tone music. It was premièred in Arnold Schönberg’s home in Los Angeles for the elder composer’s seventieth birthday celebration in 1944. [source]

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Sándor Veress – Hommage à Paul Klee (1951)

Composed By – Sándor Veress / Conductor – Heinz Holliger / Orchestra – Budapest Festival Orchestra / Piano – András Schiff and Dénes Várjon

Sándor Veress was a Swiss composer of Hungarian origin. He has (among others) been teached by Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók, and he has teached György Ligeti, György Kurtág, Heinz Holliger, Heinz Marti, Jürg Wyttenbach and Roland Moser.

I : Zeichen in Gelb, Allegro (Mark in Yellow)

II : Feuerwind, Allegro molto (Fire wind)

III : Alter Klang, Andante con moto (Old Sound)

IV : Unten und oben, Allegretto piacevole (Below and Above)

V : Steinsammlung, Allegretto (Stone Collection)

VI : Grün in Grün, Andante (Green in Green)

VII : Kleiner Blauteufel, Vivo (Little Blue Devil)

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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