Iannis Xenakis – Empreintes (For Orchestra) (1975)

Xenakis made use of the resources of the expanded modern orchestra throughout his composing career. Visceral gestures‚ prolonged in sequences of vibrant inner activity‚ typify Xenakis’s Pythagorean ballet for Balanchine‚ Antikhthon (1971). The procedure is fined down in 1974’s Noomena‚ whose chains of sound react against each other at a dizzying rate of velocity‚ while Empreintes (1975) heralds a new phase in its more sustained growth towards a laconic‚ Stravinskian close.

Orchestra – Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg
Conductor – Arturo Tamayo

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Franz Liszt – Sonata in B minor (1853)

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The Sonata in B minor, S.178, is a sonata for solo piano by Franz Liszt. It was completed in 1853 and published in 1854 with a dedication to Robert Schumann.

Liszt noted on the sonata’s manuscript that it was completed on February 2, 1853, but he had composed an earlier version by 1849. At this point in his life, Liszt’s career as a traveling virtuoso had almost entirely subsided, as he had been influenced towards leading the life of a composer rather than a performer by Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein almost five years earlier. Liszt’s life was established in Weimar and he was living a comfortable lifestyle, composing, and occasionally performing, entirely by choice rather than necessity.

The Sonata was dedicated to Robert Schumann, in return for Schumann’s dedication of his Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 (published 1839) to Liszt. A copy of the Sonata arrived at Schumann’s house in May 1854, after he had entered Endenich sanatorium. His wife Clara Schumann did not perform the Sonata; according to scholar Alan Walker she found it “merely a blind noise”.

Emil Gilels, piano. Live recording, Naples, Italy – 04.04.72.

John Cage – Music Of Changes (1951)

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Music Of Changes I

Music Of Changes II

Music Of Changes III

Music Of Changes IV

Piano – Pi-Hsien Chen
Recorded April 2nd, 3rd & 5th, 2012.

Music of Changes dates from 1951, the watershed year in John Cage’s development, when he began to eliminate any element of personal choice in his compositions by relying on indeterminacy – in this case the I Ching, the Chinese book of divination – to generate his music. Pi-Hsien Chen interleaves the four books of the Music of Changes with nine of Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas, which she plays mostly in pairs. The juxtaposition works wonderfully. The cut-glass precision of Scarlatti’s binary forms and the springy leanness of his keyboard writing contrast beautifully with the irregular, multilayered sound masses of Cage’s pieces. What links them here, though, is the sense of buoyancy and alertness that characterises all of Chen’s playing, in which every rhythm seems freshly imagined and every texture like a discovery, so that Scarlatti’s sonatas, poised between the baroque and the classical, seem every bit as radical as Cage’s pieces.

Andrew Clements – The Guardian

Alireza Mashayekhi – Violin Concerto (1977)

Alireza Mashayekhi (born 1940) is a notable Iranian musician, composer and conductor. He is one of the first Iranian composers who has pioneered Persian Symphonic Music [source]

Maziyar Zahireddini – violin
Tehran Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edo Micic
1998
Live Recording

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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.

Bülent Arel – Electronic Music No. 1 (1960)

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The initial sound material of this piece is derived entirely from sine- and square-wave oscillators. It is composed in clearly differentiated sections, each with a carefully limited number of horizontal and vertical patterns. The progression of well-contrasted phrases in cumulative rhythmic tension lead, in the end, to a strong impression of unity.