jueves, 31 de marzo de 2016

Ophélie Gaillard / Pulcinella Orchestra CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH Vol. 2

After the success of their first volume Ophélie Gaillard and Pulcinella propose a second disc devoted to Johann Sebastian Bach's most talented and surprising son, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788). The Sinfonia in C major expresses multiple emotions, ranging from irrepressible suffering in the Adagio to joyous release and insouciance in the concluding Allegretto, tinged with near-Mozartian grace. The Cello Concerto in B flat reveals the influence of the waning Baroque era and Vivaldi in particular. The Sinfonia in E minor, nicknamed 'Fandango' and dating from his Berlin years, is commonly regarded as one of his finest symphonies. The particularly virtuosic Sonata for cello piccolo and keyboard shows to advantage the two soloists of this recording: Ophélie Gaillard and Francesco Corti, whose fieriness is further revealed in the Harpsichord Concerto in D minor. (Presto Classical)

miércoles, 30 de marzo de 2016


Pianist Lucas Debargue quickly became the most talked about competitor at this year's International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, garnering praise for the emotional expression in his playing and his musical individuality and integrity.
The London Spectator called Debargue 'the real winner' of the competition, due to the Moscow Music Critics Association prize bestowed on the 4th prize recipient.
Debargue began piano studies at age 11 at the Compiegne Conservatory under Christine Muenier. He gave up formal studies at age 16, but always maintained an admiration for virtuoso repertoire. After three

martes, 22 de marzo de 2016

Pinchas Zukerman / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra VAUGHAN WILLIAMS The Lark Ascending - Tallis Fantasia ELGAR Introduction & Allegro - In Moonlight

Double Grammy Award winner Pinchas Zukerman stars as violin and viola soloist and conductor in a landmark new Decca recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 'Elgar & Vaughan Williams' offers his mature thoughts on Ralph Vaughan Williams' evocative masterwork The Lark Ascending, which Zukerman first recorded over forty years ago.
It also includes revelatory performances of Elgar's Introduction and Allegro and Serenade for String Orchestra, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, such evergreen Elgar miniatures as Salut d'amour and Chanson de matin, and the world premiere recording of In Moonlight, an arrangement for solo viola, strings and harp of Elgar's celebrated Canto popolare. Maestro Zukerman here draws on the strength of his partnership as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as the orchestra celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Pinchas Zukerman recorded his new album at Cadogan Hall, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's central London home. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was founded by Sir Thomas Beecham, a great champion of English music, and gave its first performance in September 1946. The orchestra launched its 70th anniversary year on tour to the United States in company with Pinchas Zukerman, now in his seventh season as Principal Guest Conductor. He is set to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London's Royal Festival Hall on 1 March and perform at Buckingham Palace two days later for the orchestra's 70th Anniversary Gala Concert.

Marie van Rhijn MARIN MARAIS Dans les jardins d'Eurytus

Marie van Rhijn's 2016 album on the Evidence label is a collection of brilliant harpsichord pieces arranged from the tragédie en musique, Alcide, a collaboration by Marin Marais and Louis Lully, son of the composer Jean-Baptiste Lully. Marais was most famous as a composer of viol music, which became enormously popular in the court of Louis XIV, though he is not known to have composed any works for the harpsichord, so these keyboard transcriptions of his operatic music might be a bit unexpected. Consisting of airs and dances, such as the courante, the sarabande, the menuet, and the passepied, most of the pieces here consist of two lines with elaborate ornamentation and are quite suitable to the keyboard. Van Rhijn is a virtuoso of the harpsichord, as well as an authority on vocal music of the French Baroque, so her lively performances convey something of the drama and florid lyricism of the original work, infused with a personal flair that makes her playing fascinating. In addition to the pieces from Alcide, van Rhijn also plays harpsichord adaptations of the Suite in B minor for viol da gamba, including the "Tombeau pour Monsieur de Lully," which rounds out the program with more familiar music by Marais. Highly recommended. (Blair Sanderson)

viernes, 18 de marzo de 2016

Mark Padmore / Kristian Bezuidenhout SCHUMANN Dichterliebe - Liederkreis op. 24

Mark Padmore (b.1961) started his musical activities as a clarinetist and singer. During the early 1980s he sang with The Sixteen and the Hilliard Ensemble. With the Hilliards he can be heard on ‘Perotinus’, an ECM album that has meanwhile achieved legendary status. In the 1990s he worked as a soloist with William Christie, Philippe Herreweghe and John Eliot Gardiner, and was much sought after as the Evangelist in the Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach. In 2002 he appeared for the first time in a lieder recital, singing Schubert’s ‘Die Schöne Müllerin’. His accompanist, Roger Vignoles, encouraged him to concentrate on the lied repertoire, and as a result, Padmore now spends a large amount of his time on the recital podium. He performs with seasoned accompanists: Julius Drake, Graham Johnson and Malcolm Martineau, and has also forged performing relationships with famous pianists: Imogen Cooper, Till Fellner and Paul Lewis. The latter accompanied him in very successful recordings of Schubert’s great song-cycles, ‘Die Winterreise’ and ‘Die Schöne Müllerin’.
For his most recent recital tour Padmore opted for a collaboration with fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, an artist who was invited by Harmonia Mundi to record Mozart’s complete solo piano music. Padmore dedicated his tour to the poet Heinrich Heine, who was a fount of inspiration for Franz Schubert. Robert Schumann visited Vienna in 1838, ten years after Schubert’s death, and became acquainted with the older composer’s Ninth Symphony and the song cycles ‘Winterreise’, ‘Müllerin’ and ‘Schwanengesang’. Despite the fact that Schumann initially looked down on the Lied phenomenon, but in 1840, just married to Clara, in his new role as family man felt obliged to provide a more substantial income. Considering the popularity of the lied genre with the middle class in those days, publishing songs was a logical way to bolster his wages. Schumann’s preference for Heinrich Heine was no coincidence. Heine’s ‘Das Buch der Lieder’, published in 1820, enjoyed an immense popularity and inspired nineteenth-century composers to write no less than 8000 songs. On this CD five of those are placed between Schumann’s opp. 24 and 48. They were selected from the volume ‘Sängerfahrt’ by Franz Paul Lachner (1803-1890). During the last two years of Schubert’s life Lachner befriended Schubert, who was six years his senior. Lachner’s music pays homage to Schubert, and some of his settings employ texts that were also set by Schubert and Schumann. On this recital they are ‘Im Mai’, the opening song of ‘Dichterliebe’ (‘Im wunderschönen Monat Mai’), and ‘Das Fischermädchen’, also known in a setting by Schubert. They are a resounding testimony to the difference between talent and genius. (Siebe Riedstra)

miércoles, 16 de marzo de 2016


There is no question as to Yundi Li's technique. When this recording was made in 2001, Li was a mere 19 years old, but from the evidence on this disc, he was already a formidable technician. The extravagant technical difficulties of the repertoire -- Chopin's Sonata No. 3, several of the etudes, and the Andante spianato et grande polonaise -- are dispatched with skill and panache from the most delicate arabesques to the thunderous double octaves in contrary motion. Although there have been many other pianists who have played these works as well or better from a technical point of view, Li's performances stand up well in their company. But for all of his maturity as a technician, Li's interpretations are still those of a youth. The deeper meaning of the Sonata No. 3 -- its awe-inspiring harmonic structure and its formalization of fear and courage in the opening and closing movements -- are wholly beyond Li. The transcendent elegance of the Andante spianato and the radiant joy of the grande polonaise are merely graceful and cheerful in Li's interpretations. And his three Nocturnes are not so much emotional, seductive, and beautiful as they are sentimental, playful, and pretty. With his amazing technique, Li may develop into an amazing pianist. But one hopes that he grows as an interpreter as well. (James Leonard)

Yundi CHOPIN Ballades - Berceuse - Mazurkas

Following his 2015 release of Frédéric Chopin's Préludes on Deutsche Grammophon, Yundi Li continues his survey of the Polish master's works with the Four Ballades, the Berceuse in D flat major, and the Four Mazurkas, Op. 17. Yundi's album is part of his ongoing Chopin Project, which has the appearance of being his life's work, so closely is he associated with this music. In keeping with Chopin's preferences, Yundi plays with calm introspection and flexibility in his phrasing, which gives the music a spontaneity that avoids formulaic Romantic clichés. Most importantly, Yundi's use of rubato and his dynamic adjustments are appropriate to the music's flow and not employed for sentimentality or showmanship. Instead, Yundi gives the lyrical Ballades room to breathe, and the tugging of the tempo is always at the service of expression, rather than effect. To sample Yundi's exquisite treatment of line and pacing, the poetic opening of the Ballade in F major, Op. 38 (track two) is a good place to start. But for a livelier example, the Mazurka No. 1 in B flat major shows the pianist in fine form. (Blair Sanderson)

Alliage Quintett / Sabine Meyer FANTASIA

With four saxophones and a piano the line-up of Alliage is already unique. But for their new programme Fantasia the two-time ECHO Classic winners have invited the ‘queen of clarinet’, Sabine Meyer. The soloist and the quintet embark on a musical fairy-tale journey, narrated in a new and exciting sound synthesis that savours all symphonic possibilities of a large orchestra and yet promises the intimacy of subtle chamber music. On one hand, Meyer’s clarinet sets soloistic accents and leads the high registers; on the other hand, she elegantly fits herself into the chameleon-like saxophone sound, so, the listener could hardly differ within the family of instruments. 
Like a storyteller narrating his own adaption of a legend the Alliage Quintet and Sabine Meyer move through imaginative compositions of Alexander Borodin (Polovtsian Dances), Igor Stravinsky (The Firebird), Paul Dukas (Sorcerer’s Apprentice), Leonard Bernstein (‘Candide’ overture), and Dmitri Shostakovich (Five Pieces). Sebastian Gottschick, Rainer Schottstädt, Stéphane Gassot, Camille Pépin, and Itai Sobol are well experienced in writing perfect arrangements for the needs of Alliage. With this extraordinary chamber ensemble a bunch of well-known compositions re-sounds in a completely new tonal language. Let yourself be captivated by the magic of this fairy-tale evening.

martes, 15 de marzo de 2016

Christian-Pierre La Marca / Les Ambassadeurs / Alexis Kossenko CANTUS

If you are going to substitute the singing voice for an instrument what do you get? The warm and lyrical voice of the cello of course!
Christian-Pierre La Marca’s Cantus ticks all boxes when it comes to originality, having interpreted famous sacred pieces into a single-instruments voice - the cello. What is left is an understanding of the musical emotion displayed in these famous pieces, with his repertoire including the titles Mass, Stabat Mater and Agnus Dei.
Tackling on classics by Mozart, Bach and Pergolesi is a stupendous task, however Christian-Pierre successfully reveals the intensity of these melodies. In turn his album acts as a message, reinforcing the eighteenth century idea that music, by its power of proposition and submission, goes beyond words to express the unspeakable, often with clarity and extent.
If you admire the organ, viola and theorbo of sacred music than Cantus is for you, with Christian-Pierre’s repertoire covering the most important names in sacred music from the sixteenth to twenty-first century. Although you will not find me listening to Cantus I can still very much appreciate the depth of artistic expression and understanding that has gone into this album. (Taylor  Woodward)

Mark Padmore / Kristian Bezuidenhout BEETHOVEN An die ferne Geliebte Op. 98 - HAYDN Songs - MOZART Masonic Cantata K. 619

Following up on their acclaimed recording of Schumann's Dichterliebe and Liederkreis, tenor Mark Padmore and fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout join forces once again for a varied and appealing lieder recital of songs by Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart. Works featured here include Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte, Mozart's Masonic Cantata and selections from Haydn's English Songs.

Don't assume that the British tenor Mark Padmore is an opera lightweight from the ethereal sound and almost choirboy purity of his voice...he can sing with penetrating intensity...his is an intimate tenor voice, ideally suited to the Evangelist in Bachs St. Matthew Passion, and, as this new recording again demonstrates, the lieder repertory...This is eloquent lieder singing driven by astute and sensitive attention to the texts. (The New York Times)

 The songs are thoughtful and the interpretations deeply considered. Tenor Mark Padmore sidles in with an artless tone and only gradually unfurls the fronds of his full voice across the Haydn rarities that open this recital...An die ferne Geliebte finds fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout on inspired form: his transitions between songs are seamless, the extended lead-in to Es kehret der Maien notably elegant. (Sinfini Music)

TrioFenix LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN String Trio in E flat major, Op. 3 - Serenade in D major, Op. 8

In 2006, Shirly Laub (violin), Tony Nys (viola) and Karel Steylaerts (cello) founded TrioFenix to bring to a wider public through concert performance the seldom-played repertoire for string trio. As well as the great masterpieces, TrioFenix explore and perform lesser-known and contemporary works written in this genre. From the start, they have had the support of Klara, the Flanders Festival, the Ostbelgian Festival and the Musiques en Ecrins Festival among many others.
Their first CD was recorded in 2010 on the Fuga Libera label. The well-known Divertimento KV 563 and the six Adagio and Fugues KV 404a by W.A. Mozart became their musical calling card and a significant step for TrioFenix. In 2012 they recorded the Serenades Opus 8 by Ludwig Van Beethoven and Opus 10 by Ernst Von Dohnany for the television channel Canvas.
Their new CD dedicated to Beethoven string trios will be released in April 2016 (Fuga Libera). Shirly Laub studied violin at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels with Clemens Quatacker and furthered her studies in Utrecht with Viktor Liberman and Philippe Hirschhorn. From 1998 to 2005 she was Co-Principal Violin of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. As such, she is regularly invited to play with various eminent orchestras in Europe and Asia. As first violin of the Oxalys Ensemble she plays at the most prestigious international venues. She is professor at the Conservatoire Royale de Musique de Bruxelles. 
Tony Nys studied at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel with Clemens Quatacker and Philippe Hirschhorn. As a violist in the Danel Quartet from 1998 till 2005 he played worldwide in numerous festivals, recordings and performances of newly composed pieces. Since 2005 he has regularly worked as a freelance musician with ensembles such as Prometheus, Ictus, Ensemble Modern, Explorations. He is currently member of the String Trio & Quartet Malibran. As an orchestra musician, Tony Nys has been viola solo in La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra since 2007 and in that position he was also invited by the Frankfurt Rundfunkorchester. He teaches viola and chamber music at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel and at the Fontys Muziekhogeschool in Tilburg.
Karel Steylaerts studied at the Brussels Conservatoire with Carlo Schmitz and then at the Hochschule für Musik of Cologne with Maria Kliegel. He was a prize winner of the 1990 Tenuto competition. He has been Principal Cellist of the Beethoven Academie for many years. Karel Steylaerts is currently Principal Cellist at the Brussels Philharmonic.

martes, 8 de marzo de 2016

Nikolaus Harnoncourt / Wiener Philharmoniker BRAHMS Ein Deutsches Requiem

Widely respected as a pioneer in the field of early music who employed original instruments in performances of Baroque and Classical music, Nikolaus Harnoncourt is also admired for his insightful interpretations of 19th century music. His 2007 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic of Johannes Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem is characteristic of his handling of the Romantic repertoire, insofar as he clearly knows the best scholarship on performance style, yet neither makes authenticity a fetish nor lets expression suffer through an obsession with period practice. The sound of the orchestra is quite modern and full, and there is no attempt to make the strings play with minimal vibrato or to make the ensemble seem reduced in size or altered in the seating arrangement, unlike some historically informed performances. Furthermore, Harnoncourt's tempos are conventional, and the pacing is steady and even on the slow and reverent side, so his approach shows that he is far from doctrinaire in his choices and doesn't always follow a revisionist approach. The singing by the Arnold Schoenberg Choir is quite rich and smoothly blended, and the solos by soprano Genia Kühmeier and baritone Thomas Hampson are warm and expressive. Overall, the sound of the recording is fine, though RCA's microphone placement seems a little distant and soft-focused, so some of the details in the counterpoint seem hazy. (Blair Sanderson)

lunes, 7 de marzo de 2016

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016) / Wiener Philharmoniker ANTON BRUCKNER Symphony No. 9

Anyone who loves Bruckner's music will want to hear this recording since it contains the Finale of his Symphony No. 9, the music which, according to Bruckner's musical executors, never existed except in the mind of the dying composer. But while that story fooled generations of conductors into performing a three-movement version of the Ninth, musicologists have long known that most of the Finale existed in score and sketch at Bruckner's death. But what the musicologists knew to be true has been almost completely ignored until this recording. Almost completely ignored because there have been three previous recordings of Ninth's Finale over the past 20 years and all of them are far more compelling than this one by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Vienna Philharmonic. For one thing, all the other recordings of the Finales have been completed with the bits that Bruckner didn't finish filled in, while Harnoncourt's recordings only have the bits that Bruckner finished and interpolates a lecture to describe what's missing. While this may be musicologically more accurate, in performance it is at best disruptive, at worst dull. For another thing, all the other Finales are performed with the overwhelming need to compel belief in the Finale while Harnoncourt himself seems unconvinced of its merits. But then, Harnoncourt's recording of the three completed movements are just as unconvincing. In Harnoncourt's performance, his opening movement alternates long stretches of quiet tedium with short bursts of loud bombast, his Scherzo alternates long stretches of loud hammering with short bursts of quiet inanity, and his Adagio alternates long stretches of loud, painfully dissonant music with shot bursts of louder, more painfully dissonant music. Harnoncourt's recording doesn't make a case for a four-movement Ninth; it doesn't even make a case for a three-movement Ninth. (James Leonard)

Yundi Li / Berliner Philharmoniker / Seiji Ozawa PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 2 - RAVEL Piano Concerto in G major

Yundi Li's premiere recording with the Berlin Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa demonstrates his steadfast, consistent approach to the piano. Unfortunately for him -- and for listeners -- that means only one of the two concertos heard here is performed as it should be. The Prokofiev Second Piano Concerto, premiered by the composer when he was only 22 years of age, is ideally suited to 24-year-old Li. It is a work filled with youthful energy, bombast, and technical bravura clearly designed to impress. Li knocks this one out of the park. His more-than-ample technique allows him to perform this incredibly demanding work with apparent ease. The extended passages for solo piano are executed with spine-tingling amounts of power and technical precision. Anyone in the market for a riveting performance of only the Prokofiev need look no farther. But then there's still the matter of the Ravel G major Concerto, a work which, unlike Prokofiev, does not rely on ostentatious displays of technical prowess. Li fails to pull out some introspection and thoughtful interpretation of this much more intimate work. The second movement is disturbingly vertical and angular -- characteristics that worked quite well in Prokofiev but that leave Ravel sounding mechanical. Like many of his earlier recordings, Li again demonstrates himself to be an absolute master of technique, but also as a young artist still searching for deeper musical understanding. (Mike D. Brownell)

Sara Stowe / Matthew Spring / Jon Banks / Martin Souter MUSIC FOR THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII

Henry VIII was a musician and music lover. This album of cheerful songs and dances brings together some of Henry's own compositions with the best Renaissance music from England and the continent, reflecting the taste of each of Henry's wives and giving a lively impression of Tudor court life.
Spanish, French, Italian and English music - including many pieces by Henry VIII himself - in a programme designed to reflect the tastes and characters of Henry's wives. Cheerful songs, dances and reflective pieces give an impression of court life and the music that was made and composed there. Many of the pieces are taken from a manuscript which was written during the reign of Henry VIII and which contains many of the King's own compositions.
Henry VIII's turbulent loves and life are famous. It is not so often remembered, however, that court life had its own rhythms and occasions which continued throughout all the confusion and turmoil of the King's personal problems. Music was a major feature of that court life, and this included marvellous, soaring choral music to match the superb ecclesiastical buildings that Henry VIII built or worshipped in. But court life also included more secular, domestic music-making in which the king himself took an important part. He was an accomplished composer, as the works on this album will show, and it is clear that he liked music, and that it was one of his many accomplishments as one of the most cultured and intellectually gifted monarchs that the English throne has ever seen.
The pieces on this album have been grouped together here to represent each of Henry's wives - hence the distinctly Spanish style of the opening few tracks, which are for Catherine of Aragon. Each section of music ends with a quiet, gentle piece (a 'Consort'), written by Henry, and which are dotted about throughout the manuscript. Anne Boleyn was educated in France, so the pieces for her are French in style. Helas madame is a love song by Henry. And I were a mayden reflects her youth when she became Queen. Pastime with good company, which we have placed with Jane Seymour, is probably Henry's most famous composition, along with Greensleeves, a beautiful melody which is often attributed to the king's pen. Anne of Cleves has her European dance, and a Flemish song from Obrecht, one of the greatest European composers of the time.
Catherine Howard's music is more rustic, with echoes of the countryside and the royal ritual of hunting. Le pied de cheval is from an English manuscript, despite its French title, and is sometimes known as the Horse's Brawl. Catherine Parr's music features some traditional English tunes and a beautiful Italian fantasia, first published in 1536, which Henry may have played to her.

sábado, 5 de marzo de 2016

Simone Kermes / Enrico Casazza / La Magnifica Comunità LOVE

A collection of beautiful baroque and renaissance love songs that reflect the versatility of love – passionate, dramatic and addictive by the most popular composers of this time, from Monteverdi, Purcell, Cesti to Merula and Dowland.
Love is Simone Kermes’ most intimate and personal album yet.
The arrangement, cast of instruments, and recording set up is as such that the “pop song” quality, the contemporary and eternal spirit, the immediacy of these compositions is revealed. All sung with the unique legato, pure, and silver quality that makes Simone Kermes’ voice so special.
Simone Kermes is a dramatic coloratura soprano and multi-award winner. For her solo albums she has received a number of international awards, such as the annual award of the Deutsche Schallplattenkritik, the Echo Klassik award for 2011 Female Singer of the Year, the Diapason d`Or, Midem Award, Choc Le Monde de la Musique and Gramophone magazine’s Recording of the Month. In April 2013 she received one of Russia’s highest cultural awards, the Golden Mask, for her performances as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Tchaikovsky State Academic Theatre in Perm.
Opera performances have taken her as Konstanze, the Queen of the Night, Fiordiligi, Donna Anna, Giunia, Rosalinde, Lucia, Gilda, Ann Truelove, Alcina and Laodice, among other roles, to New York, Paris, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Moscow, Beijing and German state opera houses. (Presto Classical)

jueves, 3 de marzo de 2016


Chicago composer Lois V. Vierk's first signature album was released in 1990 on the XI label (for Experimental Intermedia), and contained compositions written from 1981-1986. All of Vierk's compositions are deeply influenced by, and indebted to, Gagaku, the Imperial Court music of Japan. The three pieces here reveal Gagaku's influence in their sonorities and microtonalism rather than in strict thematic structure. "GO Guitars" (the word go means the numeral five in Japanese) is an aggressive piece for five guitars all tuned microtonally around E. The volume is high and the pitch is a wavering, shimmering glissando around sonorities. These all change as the tempo is increased and the notes fall off the board, moving the intersecting tones around to create new ones between E and G. "Cirrus" for six trumpets is a study that La Monte Young copped later for a trumpet work of his own. A choir of trumpets plays a drone tone at the top of the middle register, and one or two others play prescribed melodic improvisations around the one tone, using a limited amount of pitches. Finally, cellist Theodor Mook plays all eight parts of "Simoom." The piece begins with microtonally composed thirds in the cello's middle register. Eventually, shorter and then longer glissandi begin to enter the picture, forcing the instrument to move upward toward its higher register to realize all the tonalities presented in the score. As the limits of the high register are breached, a dramatic conclusion is reached as the glissandi are scored as hyperactive structures in the low register with repeated notes -- thirds, fourths and sixths -- carrying it to its conclusion. While not as compelling as her Tzadik release, Simoom reveals Vierk as a composer of depth, technique, and dynamic complexity, whose use of microtonality foreshadowed her later command of its language. (

miércoles, 2 de marzo de 2016

LOIS V. VIERK River Beneath the River

River Beneath the River features four compositions, covering a ten-year span in the life and work of the composer. It is meant to be a kind of introduction to Lois V. Vierk's work, a primer for the uninitiated, or a "greatest hits" for the aficionado, and is one of the prestigious Tzadik catalog's most welcome additions. The title track, a string quartet from 1993 commissioned by Kronos -- but played here by violinists Eva Gruesser and Patricia Davis, cellist Bruce Wang, and violist Lois Martin -- features several Vierk trademarks. First there is the sense of stillness that slowly evolves into glissando movement. It begins as a downward slide into the point of stillness, but before reaching it, the second trademark comes into play, as systematic activity and movement travel ever upward to a polyphonic epiphany. Energy accumulates until the violins become almost free within the score, placing you on the edge of your seat. Next is a string quartet commissioned by a dance troupe, the flowing "Into the Brightening Air," first written in 1994 and reworked in 1999. The third piece, "Jagged Mesa," is perhaps the most serene and beautiful piece on the album. So gradual is its unfolding, so long are the intervals between the predominate fourths and fifths, that it feels as if the piece is one long unraveling ball of yarn. Perhaps the best-known work here is "Red Shift" (1989), for electric guitar, synthesizer (played by Vierk herself), cello, and percussion (courtesy of Jim Pugliese). It is as close as possible to rock in the post-classical age. Glissando is the strategy here, as the work slides from its somber, spare beginnings into a near-operatic frenzy. "Red Shift" has yet to be equaled as a single piece that brings the visceral dynamics of rock together with the sophistication and emotional control of classical music. (Thom Jurek)

martes, 1 de marzo de 2016

LSO / Pierre Boulez / Klangforum Wien / Emilio Pomàrico OLGA NEUWIRTH Clinamen / Nodus - Construction in Space

Olga Neuwirth 's faible for grotesque themes and her occasional vegetative proliferation of pieces ensured her a permanent place in the repertoire. As brilliant growths of an undomesticated artist.
Many-facetted, vigorously arranged scores with the most heterogeneous influences and styles, far remote from any of the false glamour characteristic of postmodernity. With the conductor Pierre Boulez she has found herself a genuine ally. (Wolfgang Fuhrmann)

ICI Ensemble OLGA NEUWIRTH Who am I? - No more

The title ‘Composer in Dialogue’ stands for a biennial cooperation between the ICI Ensemble and a contemporary figure, the aim of which is to create a kind of ‘work in progress’ through composition itself but also by involving improvisational forms. Performances of pieces thus created remain the intention. The present recording documents an ICI concert with the composer Olga Neuwirth. 
Olga Neuwirth began her musical career on the trumpet, before she embraced composition as her favoured means of expression. She remains one of today’s most important protagonists in the field. She can thank exchanges with Adriana Hölszky and Luigi Nono, studies with Tristan Murail, and a befriended author, Elfriede Jelinek, for the path her professional life took. 
Olga Neuwirth meets an ICI Ensemble whose calling card is a kind of improvised music that draws on Afro-American roots. Here we must look to Vinko Globokar, Barry Guy, Giancarlo Schiaffini, and George E. Lewis for any explanation. NEOS will now release, after the duo CD JOMO (Johanna Varner & Mary Oliver), the second recording in the ICI Edition. 
The most exciting thing about this meeting of musical minds is the feeling that opposites impinge on each other. Here, that which is composed comes into head-on conflict with what has been – or can be – improvised. This simultaneity of determination and random coincidence, the inherent paradox of which is something that especially interests Olga Neuwirth, guarantees friction. As for the medium of live electronics and the use of samples, which have such an important bearing on the way instruments actually sound, these too point in this direction. 
Olga Neuwirth likes to describe her music as ‘music for catastrophes’, because just beneath the surface with its confusing patterns of sound – ones which resemble a series of labyrinths – there is a dark undertow that suddenly takes the music in new and unexpected directions. This is how she enables the listener to take part in a virtuosic deconstruction, and experience how sounds are perceived. What are called into question are our aural habits. And what is born is the impingement of possible associations. 
Two works emerged as joint projects and were premiered: the first, Who Am I?, is a composition that uses musically heterogeneous material and fragments of Kafka’s Letter to his Father, these excerpts read, however, by a woman. In the second work, No More, Olga Neuwirth incorporates her own writings with lines from the songs of Frank Zappa as well as providing us with an instrumental song, one that “continues to return and which is ‘worked through’, as in the process of Psychoanalysis”, to quote the composer. At the end, only vague reminiscences of The Long Rain remain. (Gunnar Geisse)