2009/08/17

3 + 3 avant C. for peace and calm

(before we begin, a few re-ups: the gorgeous bird symphony, Kaija Saariaho's "L'Aile Du Songe", as well as the 2 for solo post which contains Feldman's "For Bunita Marcus" and Scelsi's "Complete Clarinet".)

the following is my favorite installment in the Avant Garde Project - 4 pieces of music by Robert Erickson. words in the original article:

"The composer of all four tracks, Robert Erickson, was born in 1917 and was a founding member of the Music Department at University of California San Diego, starting in 1966. He wrote a number of books, including Sound Structures in Music (1975).

Night Music is the standout piece in this set, and is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard (same here - zhao). It is based around the agile, sinuous trumpet playing of David Burkhart, supported by flute, clarinets, trombone, cello, bass, and percussion. If the first two AGP installments have been too chaotic for your taste, check out this lovely meditative fantasy. It starts off quite softly for the first few minute--no adjustment to your equipment is necessary.

The other three tracks fill out the remaining Erickson pieces I was able to find in my stacks (minus Pacific Sirens, which is currently in print). The Idea of Order at Key West features the soprano Carol Plantamura singing Wallace Stevens’ poem, backed by flute, clarinet, Burkhart’s trumpet, viola, and cello. It includes some nice harmonies and ensemble scoring. General Speech is an interesting novelty piece in which Stuart Dempster plays trombone while forming his mouth around the words of General MacArthur's retirement speech at West Point. The timbres that result are intriguing, and one can even somewhat follow what is being said. End of the Mime is a choral piece to a text from Finnegan’s Wake.

These tracks were drawn from CRI releases SD 325 and SD 494, and New World Records NW 254. The text file has liner notes from all three LPs, including biographical material on Robert Erickson and the lead musicians as well as commentary on the pieces. "

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for those unfamiliar with this classic set of music: ideas from Gamelan and African xylophones meets Satie-esque minimalism, realized on carefully messed up pianos performed by the one and only John Tilbury.



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and finally when you are ready for some serious meditative depth. a performance of Cello music by La Monte Young. of course it takes some patience, as the first section is a single tone which does not change much, if at all. but it does pay off, as ever so slowly other layers of ebb and flow gently swell in the composition...

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Erickson download is missing track 2...

Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated that both you and Zhao think Erickson's "Night Music" is "one of the most beautiful pieces of music you've ever heard".

I just listened to it and thought, "white academic does free jazz without the passion". I'll grant that the last minute or so was interesting harmonically and melodically. Reminded me of Mahler.

But mostly, I don't understand how this can be on anyone's top-10 list. You guys have listened to a ton of music (so have I). I respect you, but I don't 'get it'.

I guess I'm amazed at how arbitrary/contextual musical values are. We listen to the same thing and have totally different responses.

I wish you well.

M. Campbell said...

Thanks for pointing me towards the Erickson. However, the 2nd track is missing. Easy enough to grab from AGP, of course.

OV said...

Thanks for this! Any chance though that you reupload "GIACINTO SCELSI - THE 5 STRING QUARTETS, STRING TRIO, KHOOM" would love to hear that.

dave said...

the tilbury performance is exquisite. pure magic