Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Beauty in Shadows

Daisy Press: “You Are the Flower — Music from Hildegard von Bingen, Vol. 1” (StorySound Records) Kotoka Suzuki: “Shimmer, Tree” (Starkland) Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir: “strengur” (Carrier Records) “The quality that we call beauty,” writes Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, “must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came […]

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Reaching the Surface

John Wilson, Sinfonia of London: “Ravel: Orchestral Works” (Chandos) Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, Marc Minkowski: “Haydn: ‘London’ Symphonies” (Naïve) Les Talens Lyriques, Christophe Rousset, et. al.: “Lully: ‘Armide’” (Aparté)  In 1980, the city of Lausanne, Switzerland commissioned Jean-Luc Godard to create a short film in celebration of its quincentenary, one of two that they would […]

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The Best is Noise

Raven Chacon, percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, and bassist Carlos Santistevan: “Inhale/Exhale” (Other Minds) Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica: “ppp” (SKANI) In an ongoing effort to spend as little time as possible with my own thoughts, I often have something on: A new album, a podcast, an audiobook, the same recording of “Chess” that I’ve been playing into […]

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Under the Influence

Colin Jacobsen, Eric Jacobsen, Karen Ouzounian, The Knights: “The Kreutzer Project” (Avie) Vladimir Jurowski, Bayerisches Staatsorchester: “Beethoven: Symphony No. 2, Brett Dean: ‘Testament’” (BSO Recordings) Let’s talk about Beethoven’s second violin concerto. By which I mean his “Kreutzer” Sonata.  Of course, the “Kreutzer” Sonata isn’t a concerto in the strictest sense of the word. But […]

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Amateur Hour

Lisa Moore: “Frederic Rzewski: No Place to Go but Around” (Cantaloupe) The Crossing, Donald Nally: “Born” (Navona Records) Anthony Cheung: “All Roads” (New Focus Recordings) When did “amateur” become an aspersion? The late 1780s, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. But the etymology of the word is written across its forehead: Its roots are in […]

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Only Connect

Nicholas Phan, Brooklyn Rider, et. al.: “Stranger – Works for Tenor by Nico Muhly” (Avie) London Choral Sinfonia, Michael Waldron, et. al: “Colourise” (Orchid Classics)  In his program notes for “Stranger,” Nico Muhly writes that he “almost always” prefers prose to poetry as a composer; setting prose “offers a more oblique entry-point into the text.” […]

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Between Cosmos and Chaos

Martin Fröst, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra: “Jesper Nordin: Emerging from Currents and Waves (Live)” (BIS) Angélique Kidjo, Filharmonie Brno, Dennis Russell Davies: “Philip Glass: Symphony No. 12, ‘Lodger’” (Orange Mountain Music) Nightingale String Quartet: “Vagn Holmboe: String Quartets, Vol. 2” (Dacapo) If Elon Musk’s Twitter deal had gone through, would there have been […]

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Empty Spaces

Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Heinz Holliger: “Schönberg: Kammersymphonie Op. 9, Sechs Kleine Stücke, Op. 19; Webern: Symphonie, Op. 21, Fünf Sätze, Op. 5” (Fuga Libera) Zehava Gal, Laurence Dale, Veronique Dietschy, Carl Johan Falkman, et. al. “La tragédie de Carmen” Bertrand Chamayou: “Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus” (Erato) “I can take any empty […]

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Time Future

Danish String Quartet: “Prism IV” (ECM) Wild Up: “Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy” (New Amsterdam) “Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future,” writes T.S. Eliot at the beginning of his Four Quartets. The work was in part inspired by Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 132, which Eliot found “quite inexhaustible” […]

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