Thursday, 11 December 2008

Quote of the Month (3) 12/2008


Page from Stockhausen's Studie II

'The generation of rhythmic material was only one side of the problem: its notation also proved a challenge. The more complex it became, the less exact the result in actual performance, so that Stockhausen was able to describe notation as dependent on "uncertainty factors" occuring within fields whose size was relative to the complexity.' 26
26. This, as Ligeti noted, had been a problem since the early twentieth century: see dRV (D), 38-40.

Source: Serial Music, Serial Aesthetics pg139 (M.J. Grant).

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Takemitsu: Tree Line Analysis


Toru Takemitsu

UPDATE: The sound intermedia site is down at the moment, has been for a couple of days. If this situation persists i'll email them and ask if it's permament (hopefully not.)

I've been looking at some of Takemitsu's scores recently and was searching around on the teh internets for information on his work and came across this site.

It has lots of info/analysis about/of his composition 'Tree Line' and includes midi/sound files as examples (broken up into sections, like modes, chords, etc).

The site is hosted by Sound Intermedia, not quite sure who they are or what they do but the Takemitsu-mini-site-thingy is something of a boon, so i'm not complaining.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Quote Of The Month (2) (12/2008)


Gino Robair


'There was everything: graphic scores, scores with noteheads but no rhythms, scores with complex dense rhythmic stuff. Every day something different: a new piece every day. 9am. It would kick your ass. He'd [Braxton] come in with these scores, there'd be like three saxophones, a woman on steel pan and me on snare drum, and he'd say, Gino you play the flute part. So I played the flute part on snare drum. That's how you play his scores. At first you think it's insane, but then you realise that for him it's not about purity of orchestration, it's about density and movement. If he gives a piccolo part to a bass player it's because he doesn't want those pitches, he wants something in that time frame that's rhythmically similar, with the same kinds of shapes. The whole thing about layering, the collage aspect turned me on.'

Gino Robair: Interview with Paristransatlantic.com

Quote Of The Month (1) (12/2008)


Kosuth: One and three chairs (1965)

'Perhaps only because it's been this way for me, it seems that the strongest artists have their "why" before they have their "how". It certainly was that way for Pollack, for Reinhardt, for Judd, for Flavin. It's about having one's "why" and realizing that everyone else's "how" won't do; and the continuing search for a personal "how" that directly answers and relates to his "why".

Joseph Kosuth Art After Philosophy and After: Collected Writings 1966-1990

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Quote of the Month (?)



'On the day Mick Jagger stopped by for his first visit, one of the above-mentioned splinters crammed itself into the end of my big toe on my right foot, just as I was making my way to the door.I greeted Mr Jagger, hopping on one foot. He asked why I was behaving in this manner.

I told him about the splinter and hobbled over to a chair. He followed, got on the floor in front of me, located the little wooded tormentor and removed it. We spent about an hour after that discussing European history.'

Frank Zappa: Chapter 5 'The Real Frank Zappa book.'
Not quoted anything for a while (got off to a good start early on though), here is one to be going along with (nothing profound, just lightly amusing, perhaps).

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Stockhausen, Gruppen, Video, Rattle, Carewe, Harding, CBSO, Etc



Yes indeed, a video of Stockhausen's Gruppen performed by the CBSO conducted by Simon Rattle, John Carewe and Daniel Harding. I'm not sure what year this was but it was performed somewhere in Birmingham as part of the 'Towards The Millenium' project/concert/something (in the late 90s then presumably).

Not sure who owns the copyright to this or where the footage came from but it's there to be seen so get it while you can, Andrew Clements of the Guardian was disappointed back in 2001 that this performance 'never found it's way onto disc', well now it has, sort of.

Via the excellent Aulaelectroacustica blog

[if you own the copyright to this and are selling it somewhere etc then let me know and i'll remove the link, my apologies in advance]

Saturday, 16 August 2008

The Sound of Root Rectangles

Following on my previous post/geometry quiz (won by Tom from Geneva, his prize is currently being considered) here is a musical rendering of that pattern, well, the root rectangles aspect anyway.


Find more videos like this on NetNewMusic

[Text below copied from NetNewMusic video uploads section]

This PC Set/Chord is based on simple root rectangles (approximate, could go microtonal for more accuracy perhaps). Intonation isn`t great, most of the instruments are new (to me). Working with projective geometry now which is yielding some interesting results (has a counterpoint and register aspect too). Will come back to this root rectangles thing (it has a dominant 7th in it which I didn`t expect, a bit like the Spanish Inquisition). Also I need more hats and sunglasses.

NetNewMusic

A new music site featuring music (see player below), profiles (like mine), discussion, blogs, all manner of exciting things, nice action Jeff, Steve and David.

Pierre Attractions



Boulez speaks to The Times in a podcast about the Proms (the interviewer suggests that when Boulez was the music director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra he made the repetoire 'funkier', erm, what?)

Friday, 25 July 2008

Gann on Byrne and the issue of 'Access'




Kyle Gann posted a blog entry about David Byrne`s recent article and/or review of Zimmermann`s opera Die Soldaten. I posted a response on Gann`s blog which never appeared for some reason, so i`ll post it here instead....

This line [from Byrne`s article] seems to sum up the article from my perspective...(I didn`t take much notice of the guff about what is or is not 'accessible', there is no metric for that)

'The opera is a classic of 12-tone technique, which means that all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are permissible at any time, and none are emphasized over and above the others.'

This is wrong, the idea that all 12 notes are 'permissible at any time', that contradicts the serial principle (and connotes randomness), and if we are talking about 'free atonality' then it doesn`t make sense either as most of the music classified as such uses limited collections of intervals/pitches which are manipulated by the usual methods (transposition, inversion, retrograde, sets and subsets, complements and so on), a piece may use the full chromatic but does so in methodical or rational way, all 12 pitches or 6 intervals classes (if you like) are certainly not 'permissible at any time' (I am generalising but most music of this type seems to work this way to my knowledge).

The same could also be said of tonality (you could use the full chromatic while making use of a clear tonic and/or using standard triad formations for instance, these different harmonic practices are not very far apart in my view, however shades of grey don`t make for good copy)

On the one hand it`s good that Byrne is taking an interest in contemporary music, on the other hand it isn`t as he is misrepresenting it or aspects of it, I am not surprised as it`s fairly complicated stuff (harmony in general, tonal or otherwise).

I don`t have a solution or opinion on this, should Byrne and other mainstream/popular figures not pass comment because they lack the knowledge or should they speak up even if their comments misrepresent the subject?.

I don`t know, upsides and downsides, I think I`m past caring (almost, if I really didn`t care I wouldn`t post anything).
I`ll just develop this point about 'accessibilty' briefly. For something to be 'accessible' you need to know what it is for, you need to understand its function.

This was not discussed in Byrne`s article nor in Gann`s blog entry, which is odd because the whole issue revolves around the function of music/s as far as I can see. Both writers assume we all know what music is for, and that we can discuss music and its 'accessibilty' without defining our terms.

I think not, it could be argued that each 'innovation' in Western music, or any music, means to change the music`s function. Consider Bach`s cello suites, Beethoven`s 9th, Webern`s Symphonie Op21 and Stockhausen`s Kontakte, is this music all created for the same purpose?.

Broadly speaking, no, although this is a subjective issue, as per usual. Even if we ignore the production aspects of the music - which might seem fair given that a few hundred years separates the oldest and newest works and the instrumental forces vary - and its historical reception and focus on contemporary reception issues we find that people listen to this music for different reasons, it serves different functions in people`s lives, it depends who you ask, and when.

So how can we talk about 'accessibility' when we don`t know what is being accessed and who by and what for?. The simple answer is we can`t. We have to contextualise the issue before we can make a judgement, is Stockhausen`s Kontakte 'accessible' for a group of elderly people on a cruise ship? ('diffused' in the dining hall perhaps?).

Probably not, the music is not well designed for that function (relaxing background music to eat by). Bach`s Cello Suites on the other hand would be fine, is this music more accessible?, in this hypothetical context yes, partly because it is more easily ignored, or tuned in and out of so to speak. You`ll be able to find contexts where music is or is not 'accessible', this says less about the music and more about the circumstances (Stockhausen`s electronic works are more 'accessible' to fans of 'Electronica' for instance, many of whom find Bach 'boring', or 'inaccessible' if you like)

Even the idea that music is soley an art of the audible is not something that should be assumed, as if it were nature not history. Not all music is written to be judged or experienced purely in terms of how it sounds, there is more to it than that, though you wouldn`t guess it from reading Byrne`s article or Gann`s critique of it. I`ll end by quoting Nicholas Cook, from his book Music, Imagination and Culture.

Audibility, in short, is not everything in music. Dahlhaus writes that 'an undogmatic theory of art must recognize that the criterion of audibility, of complete realization by perception, is not a natural law of aesthetics but a postulate of historically limited scope. By rigorously restricting the concept of music or of "music proper" to the perceptible, one curtails historic reality for the sake of a dogma not older than the eighteenth century.' ( 1983: 54.)

One cannot reasonably demand that music must, by definition, yield all its meaning in perception. It would obviously be narrow-minded to deny the aesthetic validity of Machaut's palindromic chanson Ma fin est mon commencement, or to refuse to recognize it as music, simply because of the impossibility of grasping its structure in purely perceptual terms; it is equally narrow-minded to reject a piece of serial music (as people actually do, or at least used to do) on the grounds of its consciously adumbrated organization, without giving it a hearing first.

If, however, such a work were to yield nothing of interest in perception--if, in Dahlhaus's words, it remained 'a surplus intention which does not attain phenomen­ality' ( 1987: 225)--then one would have good reason for rejecting it, or even for failing to recognize it as music; for without the criterion of perceptual gratification there would be no means of drawing a distinction between music on the one hand and numerological speculation, theatrical activity, or mere mechanical exercise on the other. Consequently, while a musical composition may not be exhausted in perception, some degree of meaningful or gratifying perceptual engagement with it is a prerequisite if one is to approach it as music at all.

Friday, 11 July 2008

IMSLP ASAP ETC!!



Yes, it has returned, IMSLP/Petrucii Music Library is back online and while some content is under review, much of the older stuff seems available (e.g. a Bach solo flute partita).

Good work/nice action IMSLP team.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Quotes of the Day 09/07/08


R. Murray Schafer

'We are usually more touched by what we hear than what we see. The sound of rain pelting against leaves, the roll of thunder, the whistling of wind in tall grass, the anguished cry excite us to a degree that visual imagery can seldom match. Music is for most people a stronger emotional experience than looking at pictures or scenery... Partly, perhaps, because we cannot close our ears as we can our eyes. We feel more vunerable to sound...
...Auditory space is very different from visual space. We are always at the edge of visual space, looking in with the eye. But we are always at the centre of auditory space, listening out with ears.... Visual awareness faces forward. Aural awareness is centred.'

'R. Murray Schafer: Quoted in Resonance: Essays On The Intersection Of Music and Architecture.

Man has not always been dominated by vision. Robert Mandrou stated that "the hierarchy of the senses was not the same as in twentieth century because of the eye, which rules today, found itself in third place, behind hearing and touch and far after them. The eye that organises, classifies and orders was not the favoured organ of time that preferred hearing."

Walter J. Ong in his book Orality and Literacy points out that the "the shift from oral to written speech was essentially a shift from sound to visual space," and that "print replaced the lingering fearing of dominance in the world of thought and expression with the sight dominance which had its beginning in writing."

The dominance of the sense of vision in architectural design was reinforced by writings of modernist architects like Walter Gropius, who stated that the designer "has to adapt knowledge of the scientific facts of optics and thus obtain a theoretical ground that will guide the hand giving shape, and create an objective basis," and Le Corbusier, who wrote "I exist in life only if I can see," supporting the notion that vision is the crux of everything by stating "I am and I remain an impenitent visual - everything is in the visual," and "one only needs to see clearly in order to understand."
Galia Hanoch-Roe; Scoring The Path: Linear Sequences in Music (printed in Resonance: Essays On The Intersection of Music and Architecture)

History of Symmetry Podcasts



Graph of E8 Gosset polytope, 42,1


Yes, a podcast series by Ian Stewart of Warwick University, to accompany his recent book, Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Pun Babbitt, Pun Babbitt, Pun!, Pun!, Pun!



Another awful pun title I know but you`ve got to make this blogging lark fun somehow. Here is Milton Byron Babbitt`s complete works for piano performed and hosted by - the generous - Augustus Arnone. Free to stream or download (creative commons licence).

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Quote of the Day (06/07/08)



















'Creativity arises as a result of the intersection of two quite different frames of reference'
Arthur Koestler (quoted in Resonance: Essays On The Intersection of Music and Architecture)

Guess The Pattern: Win a Prize


















The first person who can tell me how I made this pattern* wins a special prize. It`s a set of geometrical relationships, but which?. I`m wondering if there is some music here (time will tell, I`m working on it)..

It`s not designed to look nice, infact you could say it isn`t designed at all really, it`s just as it should be, as the proportions dictate. It has a sort of (ancient) Egyptian or Art Deco look to it, a bit.

*Don`t try anything cute like....'you made it with a pencil, a ruler, a compass and some paper'

EDIT: I just made this one from the same proportions..(why wasn`t geometry this interesting at school?)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Music and Architecture













Sainte Marie De La Tourette



Well, just architecture really, a series of documentaries on Google Video, via QuickSilverScreen. I say there isn`t any music involved but actually the episode about the Le Corbusier designed Sainte Marie de La Tourette mentions Xenakis as he designed some elements of the building and they are related to his Metastasis composition (sections of which are used as background music in the documentary).

Here is a list of the programmes (with links natch, I don`t know who made this series or where it comes from or who owns the rights, so, erm, yeah)

Architecture -01- The Dessau Bauhaus
Architecture -03- Family Lodging in Guise
Architecture -05- The Georges Pompidou Centre
Architecture -06- The Vienna Savings Bank
Architecture -08- La Galleria Umberto I
Architecture -09- Santiago Calatrava - Satolas-TGV
Architecture -11- Félix Duban - School of the Beaux Arts
Architecture -13- Charles Garnier - The Opera Garnier
Architecture -14- Le Corbusier - The Cloister La Tourette
Architecture -16- Sullivan & Adler - Auditorium Building Chicago
Architecture -17- Alvaro Aalto - The Community Center of Säynätsalo Finland
Architecture -18- Claude-Nicolas Ledoux - The Saline of Arc-et-Senans
Architecture -19- Pierre Chareu - Maison de Verre
Architecture -21- Toyo Ito - The Sendaï Media Center
Architecture -22- The Abby Sainte Foy de Conques
Architecture -23- Frank O. Gehry - The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

On the same note (pun intended) a book on this topic about/by Xenakis will be available in English soon (hopefully), Music of Architecture (don`t know much about the book but it looks interesting, will buy it when it`s available).

Also while i`m about it, here is a rather ambitious edition of the Charlie Rose show entitled 'The Future of Architecture'.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Bird Talk, It`s not Cheep

















Ok ok, it`s a terrible title, but the content is worthwhile, a link to Mel Martin`s webpage featuring audio interviews with quite a few major jazz 'cats', Charlie Parker being top of the list.

Interesting (to me) that in the Paul Desmond interview Parker talks about wanting to study with Varese (Parker didn`t live long enough however). This is something most current post-bop jazzers wouldn`t expect perhaps, don`t just study the omnibook guys, listen to Varese, and Bartok and Stravinsky, other Parker favourites.

Quote of the Day (23/06/08)



'Thus the task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what no one has yet thought about that which everybody sees'
Erwin Schrödinger.

Quoted in Symmetry and the Monster by Mark Ronan. About which Ronan gave a lecture at Gresham College in February, free to stream here.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Work In Progress

Yes, I have been busy, away from the 'blog' and will explain what this is, for instance, fairly soon.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Quote Of The Day (08/05/08)



'To my dear wife, Peggie, who loves music but does not entirely approve of the 12 tone scale, this book is affectionately dedicated.'
Howard Hanson: Harmonic Materials of Modern Music

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ways of Seeing



Recently turned up on YouTube is John Berger`s 'classic' 1972 tv series 'Ways of Seeing' which spawned the arguably better known book of the same name. Four programmes in four parts, links below. (if you want to keep these programmes try downloading them, with Zamzar for instance)

Episode 1 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Episode 2 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Episode 3 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Episode 4 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

links found via Imomus

Monday, 28 April 2008

Tymoczko Literature

Currently the Arthur Scribner Bicentennial Preceptor (don`t ask) and also an Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University, Dimitri Tymoczko has been getting some press recently for his forays into the world of harmony and geometry (not far removed from his colleague Paul Lansky`s interest in affine music, perhaps)

Discussed in the Telegraph for instance (referencing work published in Science). I post this here partly because of this recent geometry stuff but also because of the wealth of interesting written work on Tymoczko`s site. Enjoy (sort of). [the written work is listed in 'publications' on his Princeton page, cant link directly to it unfortunately]

There is also a Princeton podcast on this topic.


One of Tymoczko`s geometric images from this page.

Clarinet Of The Future

Well no not really, but 'The Clarinet of the 21st Century' is not far away as titles go. As it happens it`s a really super resource of information about contemporary clarinet techniques (you know the deal, quarter-tone fingerings, multiphonics and so on).

And no, not just Bb clarinet either , before those of you at the back start muttering.

A special bonus is that many of the fingering charts and musical examples have Mp3 examples to go with them, good job E. Michael Richards.


A Quarter Tone clarinet made by Fritz Schüller (1883-1977), via Wiki.

Quote of The Day (28/04/08)



'All our sense organs function in response to the geometrical or proportional - not quantitative - differences inherent in the stimuli they receive. For example, when we smell a rose we are not responding to the chemical substances of its perfume, but instead the geometry of their molecular construction. That is to say, any chemical substance that is bonded together in the same geometry as that of the rose will smell as sweet. Similarly, we do not hear simple quantitative differences in sound wave frequencies, but rather the logorithmic, proportional differences in sound wave frequencies, logarithmic expansion being the basis of the geometry of spirals.'
Robert Lawlor: 'Sacred Geometry.'

Takemitsu Soundtrack Albums



Via the dmtls Merzbau blog this link will take you to a page which contains rapidshare links to four .rar files containing Mp3s of two Takemitsu CDs, 'Film Music By Toru Takemitsu' (now out of print apparently). Got that? (this message will self destruct in 5 seconds). Good luck (we are all counting on you as Leslie Nielsen would say)

Note that the above blog entry kindly refers you back here, and perhaps more relevant are the links to the Takemitsu soundtrack documentary on my YouTube 'Channel'.

Fractal Documentaries

Two free to stream documentaries on fractal geometry. One featuring the recently deceased Arthur C. Clarke called 'The Colours of Infinity'...



The other is on Teachers.Tv entitled 'Clouds are not Spheres' which is basically a biography of the fractal godfather Benoît B. Mandelbrot (you can stream the video without registering but you`ll need to do so if you want to download it)

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Music and the 'Mind'



Someone recommended Aniruddh Patel`s book about music, language and the brain to me the other day, I thought the name 'rang a bell', I saw this lecture he gave a while ago.

I shall be buying the book (when it comes out in paperback hopefully).

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Boston University Messiaen Project



Thats right, its here, and very interesting/useful it is too. Also don`t forget the 2008 Messiaen conference that I mentioned in a previous post. And this centenary site (he was born in 1908 you see, so was Elliott Carter as it happens).





May I also recommend the excellent DVD about Messiaen made by Ideale Audience International, part of their Juxtapositions series. The documentaries are mostly footage of the man himself discussing his methods/ideas/concepts/practices etc (focuses on bird song and talk about nature mostly, not much technical detail or mention of his modes/rhythms etc, also some DVD extras with talking heads about his teaching etc).

Addendum [05/04/08]
Some clips from the DVD above have found their way onto YouTube...







Also the Philharmonia Orchestra have some short Messiaen documentary videos in their YouTube collection.











Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Quote Of The Day (16/04/08)

'The early Greeks were uncertain as to whether 2 was a number at all, observing that it has, as it were, a beginning and an end but no middle. More mathematically, they pointed out that 2 + 2 = 2 x 2, or indeed that any number multiplied by 2 is equal to the same number added to itself. Since they expected multiplication to do more than mere addition, they considered 2 an exceptional case. Whether 2 qualified as a proper number or not, it was considered to be female, as were all even numbers, in contrast to odd numbers, which were male.

Division into 2 parts. dichotomy, is more significant psychologically and more frequent in practice than any other classification. The commonest symmetry is bilateral, 2 sided about a single axis, and is of order 2. Our bodies are bilaterally symmetrical, and we naturally distinguish right from left, up from down, in front from behind. Night is separated from day, there are 2 sexes, the seasons are expressed in pairs of pairs, summer and winter separated by spring and autumn, and comparisons are most commonly dichotomous, such as stronger or weaker than, better or worse than, youth versus age and so on'.




David Wells; The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers (revised edition)

Monday, 14 April 2008

Quote Of The Day (14/04/08)

'In a way, art is a theory about the way the world looks to human beings. It`s abundantly obvious that one doesn`t know the world around us in detail. What artists have accomplished is realizing that there`s only a small amount of stuff that`s important, and then seeing what it was. So they can do some of my research for me.

When you look at early stuff of Van Gogh there are zillions of details that are put into it, there`s always an immense amount of information in his paintings. It obviously occurred to him, what is the irreducible amount of this stuff that you have to put in. Or you can study the horizons in in Dutch ink drawings from around 1600, with tiny trees and cows that look very real. If you look closely, the trees have sort of leafy boundaries, but it doesn`t work if that`s all it is - there are also, sticking in it, little pieces of twiglike stuff. There`s a definite interplay between the softer textures and things with more definite lines. Somehow the combination gives the correct perception.

With Ruysdael and Turner, if you look at the way they construct complicated water, it is clearly done in an iterative way. There`s some level of stuff, and then stuff painted on top of that, and then corrections to that. Turbulent fluids for those painters is always something with a scale idea in it'
Mitchell Feigenbaum, quoted in 'Chaos' by James Gleick.


Mitchell Feigenbaum, courtesy Rockerfeller University.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Quote Of The Day (13/04/08)



'I`ve always respected the science in the music, though I haven`t respected some of the related value systems: for instance, the concept of notation - I don`t think notation is the problem, it`s the concepts that surround notation. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, all of the master Europeans who solidified Western art music were instrumentalists and improvisers as well as composers. Notation wasn`t used then as a choking device to stop the blood, the dynamic, of the culture; it was later, when the technocrats made the process more important than the results, that we got the so-called crisis of Western art music, which is still with us. In fact, we can see the same mind-set entering the bebop continuum: now they`re making bebop so "correct", it will be bopbe or something - it won`t be the same music that Charlie Parker and John Coltrane played'.

Anthony Braxton: An interview with Graham Lock (from 'Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music', originally from 'Forces in Motion' by Lock)

Gödel, Escher, Bach



This book by Douglas Hofstadter is in my general science reading list (not finished Gleick`s 'Chaos' yet, one at a time). As a useful introduction to the work someone sent me a link to this MIT opencourseware lecture series, nice action.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Quote Of The Day (11/04/08)



'You were asking about the rules. There`s a parable of Kafka`s about a man living in a country where he doesn`t know the rules. Nobody will tell him what they are. He knows neither right nor wrong, but he notes that the rulers do not share his anxiety. From this he deduces that the rules are for those who rule. What they do is the rule. That`s why all my knowledge doesn`t make me understand what Mozart did that I should also do in order to reach a state of artistic grace'

Morton Feldman; Conversations Without Stravinsky (from Give my Regards to Eighth Street)

Milford Graves Documentary

Yes, a documentary on the free/jazz drummer/percussionist Milford Graves and saxophonist David Murray, via Pedro Mendes` fantabulous YouTube channel, here is part one..

[you`ll have to put up with some odd video compression artefacts and the end of the film appears to be missing, no one said life was fair eh, perhaps Pedro will upload the rest at some point]



and parts two, three and four.

None But The Lonely Flute



An excellent flute album here from Dorothy Stone, free to download courtesy of the Different Waters blog.

1. Milton Babbitt - None but the Lonely Flute
2. Morton Feldman - Trio for Flutes
3. Stephen L. Mosko - For Morton Feldman
4. Kathyrn Alexander - And the Whole Air is Tremulous
5. Stephen L. Mosko - Indigenous Music II: Flute
6. John Cage - Ryoan-Ji

Rapidshare link.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Quote Of The Day (03/04/08)



'It is sad to have to admit that most men consider it their human right to dispute, even to overpower the human rights of their fellows. Even sadder is the aspect of the world today, which offers no hope of improvement in the foreseeable future.

But this should not stifle our longing for a state of affairs in which the sanctity of each man`s human rights is intangibly self-evident. Humanity has benefited by all such blessings only because an ever-increasing number of people have yearned passionately for redemption until it was granted. All progess in social thinking and feeling which eliminated friction in community life has come about only through the force of such longing. We must never give up our longing.'

Arnold Schoenberg; Style and Idea (pg 204)

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Quote Of The Day (02/04/08)

'Where in life we do everything we can to avoid anxiety, in art we must persue it. This is difficult. Everything in our life and culture , regardless of our background, is dragging us away. Still, there is this sense of something imminent. And what is imminent, we find, is neither the past nor the future, but simply - the next ten minutes'.

Morton Feldman; The Anxiety of Art (part of 3 essays in The Music of Morton Feldman edited by Thomas DeLio)


Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Gresham College Lectures



Picking up from my previous post which mentioned Gresham College, here are some more of their lectures on music which can be streamed from their site (audio/video).

For instance Gresham music professor Roger Parker`s lectures on string quartets...

Mozart - Quartet in C major, K465 (Dissonance)
Bartok - Quartet No 2
Debussy - Quartet in G minor, Op 10

Previous music lecturers and groups at Gresham who have some of their work archived for online use are...

Professor Adrian Thomas: a list of his lectures.
Professor Piers Halliwell: a list of his lectures.
The ensemble Chamber Domaine: A list of their lectures/peformances

And here is a list of Gresham Professors of music past and present.

A couple of other music or music related lectures of note (more there if you search), one by Professor Keith Kendrick entitled 'Music art and the brain' and one by Professor Jonathan Cole entitled 'Music and Architecture: Confronting the Boundaries Between Space and Sound.'

Oh btw, if you don`t like RealPlayer (all Gresham`s files are in this format) then try RealPlayer Alternative (no background processes).

Bartok, Quartet No2, Clarinets, U.S Military Band

Yes I know, it`s a heady mix but it really works, free download of Bartok`s String Quartet No2 Op.17 arranged for clarinet quartet here.

Arranged by Sam Kaestner, performed by The Academy Clarinet Quartet, part of the United States Academy Military Band, West Point, New York (you can buy the score here).


The United States Military Academy Concert Band

And why not watch a lecture about Bartok`s String Quartet No2?, given at Gresham College in 2007, by Professor Roger Parker and The Badke Quartet.

Quote Of The Day (01/04/2008)



By now, we should be able to tentatively formulate the fundamental Feldman paradox: Each and every element of Feldman`s music is quite definite, whereas the constitution of fixed significations through the establishment of relationships among those elements is being indefinitely deferred ('differ`ed').

Herman Sabbe: The Feldman Paradoxes (The Music of Morton Feldman, edited by Thomas DeLio)

Monday, 31 March 2008

A Couple of YouTube Playlists



A couple of YouTube playlists worth mentioning, both from 'Iamnogaucha.'

Playlist: Contemporary Classical Music I
Description: Here are some fine performances for your pleasure. I have included several late 19th century works that influenced subsequent musical developments. Composers are organized alphabetically by last name. Individual works are arranged in like manner. Duplicated works are organized by performer(s). This playlist will be updated and expanded from time to time. Enjoy. All credit goes to the original posters of these videos. Thanx.

Playlist: Contemporary Classical Music II
Description: Here are some composer interviews and documentaries for your pleasure. This playlist will be updated and expanded from time to time. Enjoy. All credit goes to the original posters of these videos. Thanx.

Some (of my) highlights from playlist one...

Charles Ives (Quarter-Tone pieces)
Pablo Sáinz Villegas - 1 Sequenza XI - Berio (Classical Guitar)
Messiaen - Oiseaux Exotiques - Robertson, Huebner, part 1
Varèse - Ionisation - Boulez, Ensemble InterContemporain
Eonta (part 1 of 3) [1963 - 64] by Iannis Xenakis [1922-01]

From playlist two..

A documentary on Berio from the NY Phil`s YouTube channel, here is part 1.

Don`t forget that these clips can be taken down/removed without warning, if you want to keep any of them try downloading them to your PC with a free service like Vixy.net

Quote Of The Day (31/03/08)



'He treats dissonance as a tonal language, complete and satisfying in itself, owing no allegiance, or even lip-service to consonance, either at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the work. It is amazing how far we can already go with him, how strangely beautiful and moving much of this music is, that, judged by the eye alone, is mere jumble of discordant parts. But it is frankly impossible for the most advanced musician to see a coherent idea running through a great deal of this music. I do not say the coherent idea is not there, but simply that at present its coherence and its veracity are not always evident. Time alone can show whether it is our harmonic sense that thinks too slowly, or Schoenberg`s harmonic sense that thinks a little too rapidly for the rest of the world.'

Earnest Newman; 'A Review [of Schoenberg`s Five Orchestral Pieces], 1914' : Birmingham Daily Post.

printed in the Dover Miniature Score of Five Orchestral Pieces.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Quote Of The Day (30/03/08)



'Shallow ideas can be assimilated; ideas that require people to reorganise their picture of the world provoke hostility. A physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology started quoting Tolstoy: "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread into the fabric of their lives.'

From
'Chaos: Making A New Science' by James Gleick.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Bulgarian Music Documentary

Ever found yourself listening to Bulgarian folk music and thinking 'Hmm, I would like to know more about this, I wonder if there are any English language documentaries available?', well, I know I have.

Thanks to the interweb this desire for more information can now be satisfied on demand, here is a British made documentary about Bulgarian music, part of a series entitled 'Rhythms of the World'.

Includes the Bulgarian supergroup, Trio Bulgarka.

Quote Of The Day (29/03/08)

'..Painting in those days was something to be talked about; at any rate, aesthetics, philosophy, reflection, taste - and politics, as I recall - felt they had a right to say something about the matter, and they applied themselves to it as if it were a duty: Piero della Francesca, Venice, Cezanne, or Braque. Silence protected music, however, preserving its insolence.'

Michel Foucault: 'Pierre Boulez, passing through the screen'; Aesthetics Vol 2, Essential works of Foucault 1954-1984.

The Pierre Boulez Project

Yes, it`s here, generously put together by someone called Josh Ronsen.

Piece Of The Week (beg:24/03/08)



Anton Webern: Symphony Op21.

I wont go on about this as the piece has been analysed and discussed a great deal by people far more qualified than me.

I will say that it is one of my favourite pieces of music. Before I got the score and started looking at the piece properly I didn`t realise that the first movement contained repeats, I thought I was hearing the row come round again (which is true, but I didn`t think it was a literal repeat, interesting effect, at least for me).

The way the pitches revolve and pass between instruments is engaging, and peaceful (in the first movement at least), it has something of the kaleidoscope about it. While it may lend itself to formal analysis it is also, more importantly, a beautiful piece of music.

The version I have is performed by the LSO, conducted by Boulez, from this boxed set.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Rhodes Works



There is never a good time, but it has to be done every now and again (tuning, fixing quiet keys and so on). Today was that day.