Friday, January 15th, 2007
... 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. ...
KZSU, 90.1 FM
Another of my just-about-annual subs for Mixed Up Class, the classical music
show put on by Romain.
More than ever before, I gave a nod to the vocal/choral music that
COMPOSER: "PIECE" -- ARTIST -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
Boldface indicates the central focus of the album... sometimes
classical recordings focus on the composer; sometimes they're more
geared toward showcasing a particular artist. The distinction is
often arbitrary, so -- no griping!
Webern, Anton: "Five Pieces," opus 5 -- The Juilliard String Quartet -- Berg: Lyric Suite/Webern: Five Pieces, Six Bagatellen (RCA, date unknown)
Starting things out a bit harsh, which I guess is what you get when you pull
randomly from the library vinyl.
? Shapiro, Alex: "Of Breath and Touch" -- Carolyn Beck, bassoon; Delores Stevens, piano -- Beck and Call (Crystal, 2005)
Still modern, but in a friendlier tone. From Beck's album that includes some
premiere work by a few composers, including a couple of pieces for a bassoon and pre-
Milner, Richard Pierce -- "New Mexico Memories" -- Richard Pierce Milner (Four Winds, 1984)
While this one didn't look that new-agey -- black-and-white cover photo of Milner,
sitting thoughtfully at the piano -- the release date and the fact that it's on indie
vinyl made me worry. A few needle drops revealed some reasonably "classical" work,
pleasant but not saccharine-lyrical. Sadly, I think went and picked the album's first
track to play ... and it's totallly new-age. Sigh.
* Beethoven, Ludwig Van: "Sonata No. 27 in E Minor," opus 90 -- Andrew Rangell, piano -- Beethoven Sonatas (Bridge, 2005)
Yes, we do put classical -- even "normal" classical -- into rotation, thanks in
part to an overwhelmingly generous CARE-package dump by Bridge Records (they sent us bascially a huge cube stocked with CDs). This one's gotten quite a bit of airplay, too,
although I must say it's too incongruous-soundin with most shows.
Schubert, Franz: "Quartet No. 13 in A Minor," 4th mvmt -- The Juilliard String Quartet -- Schubert: Quartet No. 13/Quartet No. 9 (Epic, date unknown)
More vinly from the library, this time aiming for a more conservative sound,
paired with the Mendelssohn below.
Mendelssohn, Felix: "Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra" -- Kyoko Takezawa, violin; Bamberg Symphony -- Violin Concertos (RCA/BMG, 1994)
? Vainberg, Moishei: "Chamber Symphony No. 1 for String Orchestra," 1st mvmt. -- Moscow Soloists; Yuri Bashmet, conductor -- Shostakovich/Sviridov/Vainberg, Chamber Symphonies (Onyx, 2005)
Surprisingly upbeat, considering Vainberg is a modern composer from Warsaw whose
family escaped during the Holocaust. From a CD that includes a string-orchestra
reworking of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 8; now that's gloomy stuff.
? Dowling, John: "Come, Heavy Sleep" -- Philip Langidge, tenor; Stephen Marchionda, guitar -- Songs for Tenor and Guitar (Chandos, 2005)
Gentle and, well, Dowling-like, a sudden quietness that I used as the clarion call
announcing the vocal music segment of the show.
-- 7:00 a.m. --
? Mansurian, Tigran: "Confessing with Faith" for viola and four voices -- Kim Kashkashian, viola; The Hilliard Ensemble, vocals -- Monodia (ECM, 2004)
Ethereal, slightly surreal feel, as you might expect from the artists and
record label involved. From a 2-CD set of music by Armenian composer
most of it performed by, or even written for, violist Kashkashian. One piece pairs
her with saxophonist Jan Garbarek; I'll probably be tossing that onto my regular
show one of these days.
? Pasatieri, Thomas: "An Ordinary Day/Moving Day/Kaddish" -- Jane Eaglen, soprano; Music of Remembrance (chamber symphony) -- Letter to Warsaw (Naxos, 2004)
I'll admit, one problem I have with classical songs is that those operatic tones
make the words difficult to discern. Still, I do enjoy hearing some of the vocal
music from time to time. This is from a suite of pieces related to -- you
guessed it -- the Holocaust tragedy. Slow moving and sad, at times, sharply
dramatic, this three-song cluster makes up the concluding and longest track (13
Musgrave, Thea: "Black Tambourine" -- The New York Virtuoso Singers; Walter Hilse, piano; Richard Fitz and Rex Benincasa, percussion -- Choral Works (Bridge, 2004)
Not played in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, at least
not consciously. Interesting modern piece with, I suppose, some traces
of the serialism that influenced Musgrave's education in the
Messaien, Olivier: "Cinq Rechants" -- Frank Martin/Olivier Messaien (Harmonia Mundi, 2004)
Choral work that's definitely modern but not so weird. Which
is surprising considering it's in a made-up language combining Sanskrit
and Quechua (whatever that is). Sources for the piece, one of Messaien's
last, include Peruvian traditional music and medieval troubadour songs.
-- 8:00 a.m. --
? Dufay, Guillaume: "Adieu Ces Bons Vins de Lannoys" -- Darkwood Consort -- Cafe Musik (Rampur, 2005)
? de Machaut, Guillaume: "Helas! Pour quoy Se Demente" Darkwood Consort -- Cafe Musik (Rampur, 2005)
? de Machaut, Guillaime: "Je Ne Cuit Pas" -- Darkwood Consort -- Cafe Musik (Rampur, 2005)
From a bass clarinet and viola duo out of Boise, Idaho,
three pieces commissioned for a 2004 Bastille Day celebration.
From the late 1300s; very traditional-sounding stuff.
Darkwood also performs pop pieces and more modern stuff.
Schuller, Gunther: [conversation with David Starobin] -- Music of Gunther Schuller (Bridge, 1999)
Schuller, Gunther: "Sextet For Bassoon, String Quartet And Piano, Mvt. 2" -- Music of Gunther Schuller (Bridge, 1999)
This CD includes an interview snippet where Schuller talks
about his perception of music, including the influence of Duke
Ellington and jazz in general. He would transcribe jazz solos just to
see what the music looked like. I followed that up with the
middle segment of a concerto -- a radio no-no, since it's the first and
third movements that typically have all the dramatic turns, faster
tempos, and cool endings. But in this case, the second movement
seemed closer to the timbres and ideas Schuller was talking about,
so I went with it. It's your typical second movement, an understated
stroll that sets you up for the sharply dramatic swoops opening the
Trevisiani, Marco: "Frammenti E Variazioni Su Aura" [excerpt]
-- Marco Trevisiani [actually it's a tape "performance"] -- V/A: Computer Music at CCRMA 2 (CCRMA, 1997)
Xenakis, Iannis: "Concret PH" -- [another tape piece] -- V/A: Early Modulations (Caipirinha, 1999)
A couple of pieces outside the domain of "Mixed-Up Class," to
note the coming of the San Francisco Tape Music Festival, Jan. 26-28, 2007. A group called sfSound has been putting this
on for a few years; it involves 16 speakers in a certain acoustically
planned arrangement. This year's fest includes pieces by the
likes of James Tenney, Gyorgy Ligeti, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and a
world premiere by Brian Eno -- yeah, that Brian Eno.
? Shulman, Alan: "Theme and Variations" -- Cathy Basrak, viola; Robert Koenig, piano -- American Viola Woks (Cedille, 2000)
* = Item in KZSU rotation
! = Pop anomaly
? = Item not in KZSU library
-- Go back to Memory Select playlists.
-- Bay Area free/improv music calendar: http://www.bayimproviser.com.