Mariss Jansons conduct Bruckner

There are many wonderful recordings of the Eighth, surprising given its difficulties. This one, with the rich-toned Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, deserves a place with all but the very greatest. Mariss Jansons’s eye for balance and detail is prodigious: even in the grandest, loudest passages the clarity he achieves is extraordinary, perhaps above all in the last movement, where for once Bruckner’s need to crown the work with something worthy of the first three movements is satisfied. No lover of this symphony will be content with less than half a dozen recordings, and this should undoubtedly be among them. [Source]

BEETHOVEN – Piano Concerto No. 1 / Buchbinder / Thielemann

Following on from his recent debut album for DG focused around Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, the celebrated pianist and renowned Beethoven specialist Rudolf Buchbinder rejoins the celebrations of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary that come to a climax with a breath-taking live performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with his long-time friend Christian Thielemann conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker. Recorded in 2016 the recording is also the first release on DG of Christian Thielemann and the Berliner Philharmoniker. The album is completed with a recording by Buchbinder of Beethoven’s six variations for piano op. 34.

Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov has announced his next album will be released this coming November

‘Silver Age’ will include works by Scriabin, Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Recorded with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra, the album recalls a time when Russia’s composers, poets, artists, dramatists and star performers were among the most original anywhere in the world. ‘Silver Age’ illustrates the artistic audacity and brilliance of a turbulent era in the country’s history with works by three of its most pioneering composers. [Source]

Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 / Haitink, Bavarian Radio Symphony

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For a long time, Anton Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony (alongside the Second) was regarded as something of a ‘poor relation’ in his immense symphonic oeuvre, although the composer himself had moodily referred to it as his “boldest.” Over the decades, in view of its performance figures and recordings, this changed significantly: The work has now secured itself a permanent place in the repertoire. The Sixth Symphony belongs to the creative process of the two preceding symphonies, the “Romantic” Fourth and the Fifth, and is now understood as an important preliminary stage in Bruckner’s last great upsurge that followed the composition of the “Te Deum” and culminated in the sublime grandeur of his final symphonies, the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth. The “very solemn” Adagio of the Sixth Symphony, in particular, provided the model for the famous Adagio of the Seventh Symphony that followed it. The recent Munich concert performance of May 2017 has now been released by BR-Klassik. This outstanding interpretation of one of the key compositions in the late Romantic symphonic repertoire is conducted by Bernard Haitink.

Alvin Lucier – I Am Sitting In A Room (1980)

I am sitting in a room is Alvin Lucier’s idea of pure sound experiments. Through playback and recording of successive generations of his own voice the sound is washed until his talking is a pure harmonic. The album starts with a relatively bland Lucier..”I am sitting in a room” but as the generations progress everything becomes a pure ambient. As Lucier suggests in the recording, this sound is the dynamic of the room he records in. It is released in two parts on well pressed vinyl.

“I am sitting in a room, different from the one you are in now.” So begins one of the masterpieces of 20th century music merging processed music, minimalism, and self-reference into an utterly amazing and ultimately beautiful work. The instructions for producing the piece are, in fact, the piece itself. The composer sits and describes what will happen, and then it happens. Lucier tapes these instructions (about 80 seconds worth), tapes it, replays that tape into the room, tapes that, plays the second tape into the room, etc., and so on. Little by little, the “natural resonant frequencies of the room” erode the source material, softening hard edges, blurring boundaries between words. Different rooms will, presumably, give different results depending on their individual architectural properties. After ten or 12 repetitions, the listener already has difficulty distinguishing individual words, though the rhythmic pattern remains. But, and this is one of the cruxes of the work, all is not entropy. As the text becomes indecipherable, elements of undeniably musical tones emerge from nowhere, as though they were embedded in the original speech and only came to light after the surface structure was eliminated. Indeed, small melodies can actually be heard and the effect is absolutely magical. Fifteen minutes into the composition, Lucier’s speech has become a hazy cloud of wavering, bell-like tones interrupted by the occasional sibilance, the latter generated by the composer’s stutter, which adds an element of poignancy to the piece’s conception. Halfway through, no aspect of the speech can be gleaned except a rough cadence; instead, the listener has been transported to a sound world at such a far remove from the initial text as to leave one both baffled and awash in wonder. I Am Sitting in a Room is a unique, extraordinary idea/composition, a landmark among late 20th century avant-garde music and a touchstone for a generation of composer/theoreticians. It’s a rare combination of sensual beauty and intellectual rigor, and should be heard by anyone interested in contemporary music. [source]

Side A. I Am Sitting In A Room Pt. I (21:50)
Side B. I Am Sitting In A Room Pt. II (23:10)

This record was made by the composer on October 29 and 31, 1980 in the living room of his home in Middletown, Connecticut. It consists of thirty-two generations of the composer’s speech and was made expressly for this Lovely Music record.

Alvin Lucier – Vocals

 

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Conlon Nancarrow – Study for Player Piano 3a (1988)

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

 

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Paul Dolden – L’Ivresse De La Vitesse (1992-93)

L’Ivresse De La Vitesse is from the album L’Ivresse De La Vitesse by Paul Dolden. This amazing mix of real instuments and tape recordings is beyond all limits of genres.

Culling material that covers a decade of work, L´Ívresse de la Vitesse (Intoxicated by Speed) had the effect of a bomb in musique concrète circles. Paul Dolden´s previous album, The Threshold of Deafening Silence (1990), already indicated that the composer eschewed traditional tape music esthetics, but this ambitious two-CD set consecrated him as a new voice. Dolden works with instruments. His compositions are amalgams of partitions, hundreds of them, recorded individually on a wide array of instruments. They are later assembled through pitch, polyrhythmic and textural relations to create high-density pieces that seem to be performed by massive lunatic orchestras. At the heart of the album are three such pieces: “Dancing on the Walls of Jericho,” “Beyond the Walls of Jericho” (these two completing a triptych started on the previous CD with “Below the Walls of Jericho”), and the title piece. The three works in the “Invocation” series feature tape parts from the Jericho cycle over which a solo part has been added. Performers include Dolden himself on guitar, Vivenne Spiteri on harpsichord, and cellist Peggy Lee; they are simply beautiful in “Physics of Seduction: Invocation #2.” The same method is applied to the title track, transformed into the two parts of the “Resonance” series, both performed by François Houle (on soprano saxophone and clarinet). An older piece, “Veils,” concludes the set with a look at the emergence of Dolden’s technique as it is made of acoustic parts and more conventional musique concrète treatments. The energy, richness, and density of the music bring to mind the Vancouver new music big bands NOW Orchestra and Hard Rubber Orchestra — that is to say that it conveys a much more organic experience than more standard tape music. Decadent and subversive, L’Ivresse De La Vitesse is a classic, a unique form of fin de siècle tape music. [source]

Paul Dolden- Electric Guitar, Tapes / Francois Houle – Clasinet, Saxophone


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Witold Lutosławski – Mi-Parti (1976)

Mi-Parti is an orchestral work by Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, written in 1976 to a commission from the City of Amsterdam for the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The name broadly means in two parts, and is in accordance with Lutosławski’s preference for two-part structures during the 1960s to 1970s: a preparation part, and a main body with development and climax (this is most clearly demonstrated in his Symphony No. 2). [source]

Composed and Conducted by Witold Lutoslawski.
Recorded in 1976 with The Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, at Studios of Polish Radio & TV, Katowice.

From the EMI-album: Lutosławski* : Polish Radio N.S.O.*, Lutosławski* ‎– Concerto Per Orchestra · Jeux Vénitiens · Livre Pour Orchestre · Mi-parti

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Paul Hindemith – Sonata for viola and piano in F major, Op.11, No.4 (1919)

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963). Hindemith is among the most significant German composers of his time. His early works are in a late romantic idiom, and he later produced expressionist works, rather in the style of early Arnold Schoenberg, before developing a leaner, contrapuntally complex style in the 1920s. This style has been described as neoclassical, but is very different from the works by Igor Stavinsky labeled with that term, owing more to the contrapuntal language of Johann Sebastian Bach and Max Reger than the Classical clarity of Mozart. [source]

1. Phantasie (3:06)
2. Thema mit Variationen (4:01)
3. Finale mit Variationen (10:09)

Kim Kaskashian – Viola
Robert Levin – Piano

From: Paul Hindemith – Kim Kashkashian – Robert Levin ‎- Sonatas For Viola And Piano And Viola Alone, released in 1988.

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Dubravko Detoni – Phonomorphia II (1967 – 1970)

From the album by the Croatian composer Dubravko Detoni: Jugoslav AvanGarde Music: Graphies I.II.III / Phonomorphia 1.2.3., written between 1967 – 1970 and released in 1970.

Dubravko Detoni (born 1937 in Križevci, Croatia) is a composer, pianist and writer. Although active since the early 1970s he is almost unknown internationally.

He was educated in Zagreb, Sienna, Warsaw and Darmstadt, and studied with John Cage in Paris. He has written more than a hundred musical pieces, theatrical spectacles, multimedia and performance pieces, books of poetry, essays, commentaries, and radio and TV programs.

As the founder and leader of the ensemble, ACEZANTEZ, he has performed around Europe, Asia and America. [source]

Dubravko Detoni – Piano & Tape

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