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What KFJC has added to their library and why...

NEW MUSIC FOR ORGAN [coll] [Nonesuch]

“In the daily lives of most men and women, fear plays a greater part than hope”

organist William Albright playing (on UMich’s huge organ):

Side A: Bolcom’s “Black Host” for organ, percussion, and tape
Deep dark metal organ. Your dance of death, by the way, is organ droning a minor chord at full stop while a bass drum wails.

Side B: His own “Organbook II” for organ, and tape
Less apocalyptic, more organic, still obliquely satanic.

Spectacular doomy brilliant end-of-days shit. Can we add more organ music to the library already?

-Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

  • Reviewed by cujo on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 pm
  • Filed as A Library
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  • Da Capo In Song [coll] [New World Records]

    The Da Capo Chamber Players, USA’s leading (and longest-lasting?) Pierrot ensemble, are captured in 1984 (with original pianist Joan Tower) playing a selection of American “chamber music songs”. The early Copland is particularly skippable, Talma’s Diadem also did nothing for me.

    But Miriam Gideon’s settings were arresting, partly for the music, mostly for Constantine Cassolas’ incredible voice (rare praise from Cujo for a tenor)

    And unsurprisingly, Cowell’s Vocalise delivers spectacularly. Prepend with any of the classical Vocalise precedents (Rachmaninoff, Delibes, etc), append with any number of items in our library featuring wordless sopranos (Kyriakides, Cracow Klezmer Band, etc)

    -Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

  • Reviewed by cujo on August 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm
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  • Gerhard Stabler “Chamber Music” [Koch Schwann]

    Handful of Stabler’s chamber works from the late 1980s, played by a variety of all-stars including EM and Arditti Quartet. We could stand to hear more from this composer. I’ll be honest, the whole album stinks of “modern classical” so I fear it won’t find a lot of airtime. But the first two tracks in particular are knockouts

    …strike the ear…: Arditti knocks this strings quartet out of the park, quartertones and all, with the writing focused on the quartet as a whole, no individual moments to be found here.

    To The Garbagemen of San Francisco: a modern musical postcard of a trip to the city, inspired by being woken by garbage trucks. Spare voices and whistles.

    Translations for the other 3 weaker tracks: Warning with Love Song, In a row, Afterquake and Before

    -Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

     

  • Reviewed by cujo on August 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm
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  • John Adams “Harmonium” [ECM]

    With Shaker Loops and Grand Pianola Music already in the library, this addition rounds out our collection of Adams’ earliest successes. Harmonium was written in 1980 to help open Davies Symphony Hall’s first season (they played in War Memorial Opera House before that). This first recording (of 3 to date) commits all the premiere’s players to plastic. Full orchestra, full chorus, and all the optimistic swells and pulses of early Adams, set in fast-slow-fast movements. The first sets Donne to music (for Adams’ first time; he would revisit Donne powerfully in Doctor Atomic), the second and third some possibly recognizable Dickinson. Be grateful Adams settled in SF and has given us locals droit du seigneur for most of his compositions.

    -Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

  • Reviewed by cujo on August 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm
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  • Luciano Berio “Sinfonia” [Columbia]

    Quite possibly _the_ desert island Berio album. All the forces from the 1968 premiere were quickly pressed into the studio: Berio conducting, NY Phil playing, (eight of the) Swingle Singers singing. Berio would later add a 5th movement (and the Swingle Singers would take another stab at recording the augmented work in 1992 under Boulez), which is also why you’ll probably never see this recording reissued.

    The first movement features text by your favorite structuralist Levi-Strauss.
    The second movement passes MLK’s name around quietly.
    The third movement is the true whopper. In the composer’s own notes, it’s not so much composed as it is assembled around fragments of Mahler’s fearsome 2nd symphony, with dozens of other references plain and obscure thrown in (which hordes of musicology postdocs are still tackling as we listen). If you know Mahler’s 2nd at all, it’s hard to listen to this just once.

    Three Word Review: More Cow Berio!

    -Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

  • Reviewed by cujo on August 20, 2012 at 11:08 pm
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  • OHM+: THE EARLY GURUS OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC [coll] [ellipsis arts]

    Ironic preface:
    “It is right that the historian should indicate the summits of achievement in art; but in a sense this is of little use to us. The claims of life are stronger than the sublimest art; and even were we to agree that we had achieved the best and most beautiful it is possible to achieve, we should be impelled in the end, thirsting as we do more for life and experience than for perfection, to cry out: ‘Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven’s sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!’”
    Carl Nielsen, “Living Music”, 1925

    KFJC does its damnedest to keep it new. We have a revolving door of musicians playing live in our studios, we produce and promote concerts all over the bay area, and we travel the globe to remotely broadcast festivals (which isn’t cheap, by the way – donate to the cause at www.kfjc.org!).

    But we can’t be live all the time, and so our crack music department staff keep stuffing our library with the freshest funkiest sounds.

    And the weaker among us (of which I’m a shining example) can’t help but reflect on the past, perhaps to understand what whiggish path we have taken to the present.?? To help us, allow me to sneak this collection of relics into the library.

    In 1999 Thomas Ziegler and Jason Gross archived a Who’s Who/What’s What of the early gurus of electronic music. We previously got our hands on an unassuming sample CD, but here is the complete 3CD+1DVD+booklet set in fancy packaging (those are theremin schematics printed on the outside). The first CD roughly covers the 1950s, the second the 60s, the third the 70s, and for giggles throw in a DVD too.

    Nothing I write (on this electronic computer) could adequately summarize these 30 years of pioneering efforts in harnessing electrons for powers of music. Dive in, and dive often. There are plenty of whooshes of tape manipulation, the bleep bloops of early synthesizers, the decidedly swooning theremin and ondes martenots, science fiction soundtracks, brain control experiments, and explorations of humanly impossible pitches, durations, timbres, volumes, and attacks.

    Particular elements of the reviewing experience I enjoyed:
    -reading up on the names and studios I hadn’t heard of before.
    -visualizing the proliferation of electronic music studios through the 60s as the video graphics of global thermonuclear war’s rocket launches.
    -to this day many of the offerings pack a powerful punch. Your mileage will obviously vary, but if you really need my help for a starting point: Schaeffer, Varese, and the CD3 sequence of Lansky, Spiegel, Parmegiani.

    DJs, just follow this in your programming with something brand-spanking new…

    In our own library, see also related items:
    CBS Records collections “from Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center” and “New Electronic Music”
    Caipirinha Records’ “Early Modulations” (though I think this has vanished)
    Sub Rosa’s Anthologies of Noise & Electronic Music (though I don’t think we have all of them)
    New World Records’ “Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center 1961-1973″
    …and plenty of albums dedicated to single artists found in the set
    …and plenty of albums dedicated to single instruments found in the set: theremins, ondes martenots, moogs, just about everything but Nancarrow’s kitchen sink.

    “Every musician is entitled to use tones as he thinks fit. Old rules may be accepted or rejected at will… It is up to you to listen, seek, think, reflect, weigh, and discard, until, of your own free will, you find what our strict fathers in art thought they could knock into our heads”
    Carl Nielsen, “Living Music”, 1925

    -Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

  • Reviewed by cujo on August 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm
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  • BAY AREA ACCORDION BABES 2009 [coll] [Renee De La Prade]

    Renee De La Prade masterminds this promotional self-release (with accompanying pin-up calendar) from this collection of smokin’ Stomach Steinway-stroking stunners.

    Names familiar to the library are Big Lou the Accordion Princess (Polka Casserole), Kitten on the Keys, Marie Abe (who appears on Japonize Elephants and maybe Cicala Mvta), Luz Gaxiola (as part of Dead Western), and Sansa Asylum (who appears briefly on Cochon’s Nostalgia Del Buio collection).

    1. Big Lou the Accordion Princess, “Is Anything Better Than Beer?” – Another entry into the underpopulated drug-polka sub-genre.
    2. Renee de la Prade, “Try and Try” – Zydeco
    3. Joan Wilson Rueter, “New Men in my Life” – Country
    4. Diana Strong, “Only Now” – solo accordion cafe rhapsody
    5. Amber Lee Baker, “Only the Girls” – nice song about hipsters, features some toy piano
    6. Nada Lewis, “Rustemul” – An instrumental Elizabalkan courtly dance.
    7. Tara Linda, “Mirabel” – haunting circus waltz
    8. Maggie Martin, “Street Dog” – another Cajun entry.?? Possibly not really about dogs.
    9. Isabel Douglass, “Sultango” – instrumental nuevo tango, pure Astor, including the quintet orchestration.
    10. Skyler Fell, “The Siren’s Song” – sea shanty sung from siren’s perspective
    11. Luz Gaxiola, “La Rondalla” – “organ”-ic instrumental clockworks
    12. Salane c. Schultz, “Over and Over Melody” – quasi-moto perpetuo song with overdubbing effects so that lyrical phrases don’t match melodic phrases.
    13. Kitten on the Keys, “Nurses” – The album’s 2nd entry into the drug-polka sub-genre.
    14. Marie Abe, “17 Fat Chefs” – the intro Taps into jazz with muted trumpet and snare drum, and is predictably interrupted by a minor ensemble freakout with alternating uneven meters.
    15. Sansa Asylum, “Swept Across the Sea” – muddy recording of a raucous live event.

    -Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

     

  • Reviewed by cujo on August 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Ralph Carney’s Serious Jass Project – “S/T” [self-released]

    Mid-tempo swinging jazz so serious it’s called jass. Here the bay area treasure and friends, on this freshman effort, deep dive into the Ellington songbook, bringing that characteristically light-hearted Carneyval atmosphere to otherwise neglected tunes. They succeed best with Clouds In My Heart (track 5), bringing it back out of the muddy waters. Track 3 introduces Carney’s trick of overdubbing himself with any number of reeds. When playing live, it’s not such a big deal, he just plays multiple instruments simultaneously. Tracks 8 and 13 have the band jumping and jiving. Any songbook is always enlivened by a Jimmy McHugh tune (Track 6). The unexpected gem is Karina Denike’s guest vocal on the cantabile-cabaletta Track 12. And thank goodness he invited her; Carney’s singing voice needs a lot of work (and he knows it; and he knows we know it). Like the sophomore effort already in the library, the album closes with a whimsical free-for-all.

    -Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

  • Reviewed by cujo on August 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Chauveau, Sylvain “Nuage” [Type]

    Music written for the Sebastian Betbeder’s films Nuage and Andrea’s Hands, spread over 20 short tracks.

    The music is uncomplicated: stark noodlings on the piano, occassionally accompanied by slowly drawn out strings. The whole affair has the non-urgency of Satie’s music.

    Rainy day music if ever such a thing existed.

    And if you were to ask for a disparaging idea of what the films may be about? Picture a Wes Anderson flick with all the quirk removed and all that remains is a messed up family and a suicidal Wilson brother.

    –Cujo, KFJC, Nov 2008

  • Reviewed by cujo on November 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm
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  • Akerlund, Lars “Ur/Volt” [fylkingen]

    Akerlund is a Swedish creator of sounds, in residence at Stockholm’s EMS. Both of these long tracks are remixes of his own earlier works. These were written for a dance project.

    UR
    It begins with a steady pulse hammered out by drum beats. I take it back ??? the whole piece is really about this pulse. It???s too slow to be tribal yet too fast to be a heartbeat. The rhythm doesn???t change but the beats get more complex. Around the 5-minute mark a foghorn interrupts the proceedings. From there some very high-register maracas-type noise is the center of attention. As you strive to make some sense of the endless tambourine chimes, you realize that the pulsing is never far. The drum beats and the foghorn will make subtle reappearances in the farthest sections of the mix.

    VOLT
    Lars is not afraid to toy with many minutes of near silence with this track. Cicada hums rule the day and he makes some sloooow work with them. He???s not afraid to let them drift into silence for minutes at a time. Getting used to the acute ringing of the noise may be the deal-breaker for you listeners — relief in the form of some bass doesn???t come until near the very end of its 36 minutes.

    –Cujo, KFJC, Nov 2008

  • Reviewed by cujo on November 9, 2008 at 9:26 pm
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  • Golijov, Osvaldo / Berio, Luciano “Ayre” [Deutsche Gramophon]

    Ayre is a medieval spanish word for melody. Golijov???s 11-song cycle is supposed to represent the melting pot (Christians, Jews, Muslims) that 15th century Spain was before Isabella wreaked her havoc. As such, at worst you might describe this as a befitting soundtrack to a Mediterannean-trotting Bourne movie or to your latest Starbucks trip. At best, though, like Bourne or that marble mocha macchiato, this can pack some wollop. The moments of pulsing excitement bring a rush.

    This piece was heavily hyped when it premiered in 2004 (all sorts of Top-10 lists, and the national tour stopped locally at Lively Arts and Cal Performances). This CD cashes it in for DG; star supporting players include David Krakauer, Erik Friedlander, Gustavo Santaolalla, and Jeremy Flower???s laptop beats. But how does this piece rise above the mediocrity that you might expect of a glorified mish-mash of ancient melodies and laptop, of Klezmer and Bedouin? To a degree, there is a casual modestness to Golijov???s pastiche. But above all, it???s Dawn Upshaw (most recently heard on KFJC on Gorecki???s 3rd). Her singing is captivating, and never ceases to blow my mind.

    The pairing with Ayre is Berio???s Folksongs from 1964. Already you know it???s good (Because it???s Berio). You???ll recognize the first two songs (part of the canon thanks to the right honorable John Jacob Niles), but Berio soon heads off to France and Italy, and finishes in Azerbaijan with a wicked love song.

    –Cujo, KFJC, Oct 2008

  • Reviewed by cujo on October 23, 2008 at 3:15 am
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  • Kagel, Mauricio “Alles wechselt, All things change” [Winter & Winter]

    Picked up at the Streetlight penny pitch mere days before Kagel???s death.

    Quirinus??? Liebeskuss is an interminable affair wherein the chorus, singing ancient monosyllabic German poetry, trades blows with the chamber orchestra. Not recommended.

    Serenade is a trio wherein MK attempted to challenge the inherent ???serenity??? or ???evening??? of the situation. The players bounce from scene to scene, really picking up steam at the 10-minute mark. The flute dominates early, and the hurdy-gurdy wails pretty good towards the end. The exotic instruments are nice enough, but it???s the episodic nature that really sells this piece. It ends with a typically irreverant Kagel fluorish ??? a random two-chord guitar cadence.

    Doppelsextett is for string and woodwind sextets. Apparently something of a dialogue between the two elements, like the first piece. But this time the voices are thicker and more intertwined, and the result is much more enjoyable. I???m thinking Kagel may not write as well for voice…

    –Cujo, KFJC, Oct 2008

  • Reviewed by cujo on October 23, 2008 at 3:11 am
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  • Masaoka, Miya “While I was walking, I heard a sound…” [Solitary B]

    This gets my mildest recommendation. Budding buzzing apiarist Masaoka unfurls a wordless a capella choir of drones and clusters and whoops and hollers. In the last movement the vocal techniques expand to include some wonderful whistling. The qualities that keep this from the resale bin are Masaoka???s local improv SF connections, not overstaying its welcome at 30 minutes long, & that playful 4th movement.

    –Cujo, KFJC, Oct 2008

  • Reviewed by cujo on October 23, 2008 at 3:08 am
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  • Kim, Ha-Yang “Ama” [Tzadik]

    Four works presented by NY cellist Kim.

    SAMTAK is played by Kim and percussionist Nathan Davis, together known as the duo Odd Appetite. As the first third of the piece played I feared Tzadik had caved and recorded some New Agey cello & chimes artists. Fortunately this wasn???t the case, as the middle third features some yodelling on the cello and the last third features an memorable Asturias-tinged groove. Alert: scordatura!

    LENS is the highlight of the disk and is the only solo offering from Kim. Her cello is amplified and equipped with distortion and wah-wah pedals. The electronics serve to enhance the cello???s sound, and do they ever. Her improvisation morphs into a Teva-tapping Tuvan tanze.

    METASMATTER is a small ensemble piece. I didn???t care for it; I blame the writing for woodwinds.

    OON is the second meal for Odd Appetite. This time Davis gets more of a chance to shine.

    –Cujo, KFJC, Oct 2008

    Note: she???s playing at Stanford on Oct 18 as part of the Meredith Monk show.

  • Reviewed by cujo on October 11, 2008 at 8:25 am
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  • Tenney, James – “Selected Works: 1961-1969″ – [New World]

    James Tenney (1934-2006) was deeply entrenched in all things musical && stochastic && perceptual && electronic && American. His star will continue to rise, to the point that generations from now he???ll be recognized as a pioneer if not in composition, then certainly in compositional attitudes and theory. This is a reissue of a 1992 Frog Peak/Artifact Recordings release. To give you an idea of Tenney???s influence, here are just some of the KFJC-friendly names responsible for the original remastering and release: Tom Erbe, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, and Larry Polansky.

    Collage #1 (???Blue Suede???): Tape collage of the signature Elvis number put together at the University of Illinois in 1961. At this time, the only places in the world you could produce something like this were San Francisco (Subotnick), Illinois (Hiller), Columbia/Princeton (Sessions/Babbitt/Luening/Ussachevsky), Koln (Stockhausen/Eimert), and Milan (Berio/Maderna). Like spinning a radio dial in a city populated only with Blue Suede-airing radio stations, some of them playing with echo, some in reverse. This has a nice dramatic arc to it, and it sounds sweet.

    Analog #1 (???Noise Study???)
    Dialogue
    Phases (for Edgard Varese)
    Music for Player Piano
    Ergodos II (for John Cage)

    The above five pieces are the result of Tenney???s 2.5 year tenure as composer at Bell Labs in New Jersey — as the first composer to turn to and dedicate oneself to computer music! Follow Polansky???s extensive liner notes carefully and in these 5 pieces you can trace the development of both Max Mathews??? MUSIC IV program???s abilities and Tenney???s stochastic processes. Try to listen along as Tenney stops defining parameters like timbre, pitch, and timing absolutely, instead giving them statistical values of mean, range, and standard deviation. This also happens moving up hierarchically, so things like phrases and sequences and even entire pieces have their own such freedoms.

    It???s of note that Tenney had a well documented relationship with player piano king Nancarrow (see the liner notes to the Wergo complete Nancarrow studies release, and also Tenney???s piece Spectral CANON for CONLON), but the piece included was punched before they had known of each other.

    Fabric for Che: Inspired by the sounds of tunnel traffic, this sounds like a motorcycle racing diary. Lots of whizzing and noise and possibly stereo effects?

    For Ann (rising): clever application of Risset scales results in shimmering Tinkerbell lights. Let your mind wander… marvel how your focus fades between following tones up the scale and the illusion as a whole. Strangely optimistic.

    –Cujo, KFJC, June 2008

  • Reviewed by cujo on June 16, 2008 at 9:52 pm
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  • Saariaho, Kaija – “Graal Theatre / Solar / Lichtbogen” – [Ondine]

    Welcome to the fiercely delicate world of Saariaho???s music. This is KFJC???s first addition of the Finn???s music (and our first from Ondine). Given her love of mixing acoustics and electronics nurtured by an early 1980s stint at IRCAM, there may be more worthy additions yet to come. I believe it???s also our first add from a ???spectral??? composer.

    Graal theatre. A violin concerto originally written for Gidon Kremer, so you know this is serious business. In this version, the violin part is intact and tackled by John Storgards, while the orchestra is pared down to chamber orchestra. I have heard Kaija giving a few of her works this kind of treatment, including the Nymphea quartet. Clearly, it makes the music more marketable. Anyhow, it???s a great piece and the tumultuous violin part engages well, especially in the 2nd part.

    Solar. It???s beautiful, but nothing engaged me as I listened. Even the liner notes skip over it.

    Lichtbogen. A work based on the results of computer analysis of a particular cello harmonic (this is the ???spectral??? element), but equally inspired by lichtbogen (Swedish for aurora borealis). It???s scored for nine musicians and live electronics, but the integration is practically seamless. There is alien beauty here, fragile and icy. The chiming glockenspiel stays with you long after the coda.

    –Cujo, KFJC, June 2008

  • Reviewed by cujo on June 16, 2008 at 9:41 pm
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  • Messiaen, Olivier – “Turangalila-Symphony ” – [Deutsche Grammophon]

    The most brilliant display of the symphony orchestra ever put to record? For over an hour, my ears did that cartoon eye-popping tongue-unfurling gimmick. Bright highs, strong lows, new sounds, exotic orchestration, explosions of virtuosity, tsunamis of Tristan-esque drama… all at once a love song, hymn to joy, time, movement, rhythm, life, and death. In his own words: ???superhuman, overflowing, dazzling, and abandoned???

    All the complicated hallmarks of Messiaen???s pre-total serialist style are here with none of the turnoffs. Through the fancy octatonics, rhythmical and tonal symmetries, and atypically catholic spiritualism emerge a shockingly tuneful and engaging poem.

    This is the definitive recording ??? overseen by Messiaen, the prominent piano part played by Messiaen???s wife Yvonne, and the prominent Ondes Martenot part played by Yvonne???s sister Jeanne (professor of the Ondes Martenot at the Paris Conservatory), conducted by honorary Parisian MW Chung.

    Say Yess to the Mess!

    –Cujo, KFJC, September 2007

  • Reviewed by cujo on September 16, 2007 at 10:12 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Gorecki, Henryk – “Symphony No. 3 ” – [Electra/Asylum/Nonesuch]

    By 1992, go-RET-ski was nearing 60 years old, and his 3rd symphony was 15 years old. Gorecki hadn???t achieved any composing fame, except among the choicest circles. This symphony marked a turn towards a more traditional/tonal and less forward-thinking/avant-garde feel, much like compatriot Penderecki did at the same time. It draws on medieval modal tonalities without reverting to medieval rules. It???s mournful like Mahler but without any of the bombast. The Polish subtitle is unsatisfactorily translated as ???Symphony of Sorrowful Songs???, but it???s as accurate a translation as we could hope for. Dawn Upshaw rips your heart out with maternal laments while Gorecki???s strings draw out painfully slow canons. The texts are mournful: laments to Mary, a prayer to Mary found written on a concentration camp wall, and Mary???s words to her son as he hung dying. Some find redemption in the last movement, I just find more sorrow. In 1992 this disk was released and inexplicably sold nearly one million copies in two years, becoming the most successful album by a 20th century ???composer???. Naturally, the critical reception has never been so warm. Critics are never right. This is sublime.

    The freak of the industry.

    –Cujo, KFJC September 2007

  • Reviewed by cujo on September 16, 2007 at 10:02 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Bartok, Bela – “6 String Quartets ” – [Deutsche Grammophon]

    You can be sure that between 100 and 60 years ago, if KFJC had been around, that Nozmo King would have invited the Waldbauer-Kerpely Quartet to play Bartok on his show. That quartet was formed to premiere Bartok???s first quartet in 1910, and went on to premiere the next 3 as well. Back in the day, this was very forward-thinking stuff, and it???s my hope that for KFJC
    fans it can still be a challenging and rewarding listen.

    Bartok???s set of 6 quartets are the next pinnacle of the genre after Beethoven???s. Most of the typical formal constraints (four movements and sonata form) are for the first time successfully shucked, allowing for the assimilation instead of novel instrumental techniques (like the Bartok pizzicato), folk tunes, folk rhythms, folk dissonances (including quarter-tones). Strangely, they draw just as much a lineage from folk tradition and 20th century innovations (musical and technological) as they
    do from traditional classical rules, just slightly translated. It???s as if Bartok invented his own powerful grammar. Like a musical Elfish or Esperanto.

    A Bartok set is the modern litmus test for string quartet excellence. This 1988 Emerson set is fine indeed. Cellist and bay area native David Finckel, by the way, is the force behind the annual Music At Menlo series that just wrapped up a month ago.

    –Cujo, KFJC, September 2007

  • Reviewed by cujo on September 16, 2007 at 9:50 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Tudor, David – “David Tudor: Music For Piano ” – [Edition Rz]

    They say history is written by the winners. Music history appears to be written by forces of personality. The post-war piano has seen no greater force than David Tudor.

    Back in the 1950s, the course of the piano was in doubt. To go serial or
    not? To go indeterminately or not? There were other compositional paths to
    follow (music is boundless), with their own proponents and acolytes, but
    have since fallen into obscurity. What happened? Pianist David Tudor
    happened. So influential was he that composers stopped writing for piano,
    and began instead writing ???for David Tudor???. Here Editions-RZ has culled German radio archives for 1950s/60s Tudor recordings of the choicest indeterminate works,
    wherein the composers have given the perform free interpretive right within
    some boundaries (often mathematical or graphical). John Cage is of course
    extremely well represented with various sparse Musics For Piano (his major
    aleatoric work that followed Music of Changes) and Variations II (hardcore
    piano & electronics) and tickling his own sets of ivories. Popping up also
    are Christian Wolff, Morton Feldman (in a piece for 4 pianos), and Sylvano
    Bussotti. Tremendous documents worthy of release, I do wish they had found some more European representation.

    Ironically, and probably inevitably, Tudor could only handle Cage???s ego-less indeterminant compositional paradigm for so long. His own ego got the better of him and he eventually abandoned performance for composition (and not as successfully, I might add).

    In turn, I urge you to shed your egos and welcome your new indeterminate overlords.

    –Cujo, KFJC, September 2006

  • Reviewed by cujo on September 16, 2007 at 9:30 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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