Thursday 25 June 2009

Earle Brown Documentary, yes....Free Stuff!!!

Earle Brown: Is that a tan or has he just been up a chimney?.

This may not be news to some, but if you go to Earle Brown's site you can watch a 25 minute documentary about him (you have to hand over some email details first though.)

It features the great man himself explaining some of his ideas and the history behind them, plus a little conducting footage is thrown in for good measure.

Oh, and also you get to watch him feed some swans in slow motion and hose down his black Porsche 911 (which he drives later on, wearing a black baseball cap, black leather jacket, blue jeans and white hi-top sneakers, nice, it looks like late 90s early noughties too, even better.)

Here is the now routine tinyurl for this post for feeds/blogs/water cooler conversations and so on..

Quotation For The End of June

Alan Walker: being 'generous' at McMaster University.
'The whole point of an inspired composition is that it diversifies a unity. On the other hand, the whole point about musical analysis is that it seeks to show the unity behind the diversity.'
Alan Walker, A Study in Musical Analysis (London, 1962).

Quoted in Repetition in Music by Adam Ockleford.

You can purchase the book in the UK here, or in the US here (probably better to buy it from the UK though, it's £10, compared to $100 in the US.)

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Quotation For Mid-June 2009, and, Free Stuff!!.

Lerdahl and Jackendoff: not a brand name emblazoned on hi-end audio equipment, apparently.

..'What of the other well-known Chomskian argument, the argument from linguistic universals? Chomsky urges that the existence of certain principles common to all languages strengthens the case for innateness. Are there structural similarities between the musics of different cultures that would support a parallel argument for music?.

Not just any universal feature will suffice for such an argument to work: in order to justify an explanation in terms of innate cognitions, the universal features need to be of reasonable complexity and somewhat "unobvious". For example, suppose it were found that all cultures made chairs. It would clearly be absurd to attribute this universal to a specialised mental structure for chair construction, because the idea of a chair is just too obvious to need a special structure.

I think we can say the same of ideas such as regular pulse, pitch centricity, and scales. Consider the example given in the context of Lerdahl and Jackendoff's version of the universality argument:
The range of variation among rules in different idioms also constitutes grounds for hypotheses about innateness. For example (to consider an extreme case), though idioms differ in metrical and intervallic possibilities, we feel safe in conjecturing that there is no idiom that makes use of metrical regularities 31 beats apart, or for which the most stable melodic interval is the thirteenth.
The trouble with this is that such similarities are just too obvious to call for explanation in terms of an innate grammar or module. The preference for somewhat smaller, more readily singable, intervals and simpler divisions of musical time are just the most obvious musical structures, just as chairs are the obvious things to sit on.

This is really another version of Putnam's point: if a structural principle is simpler than the
alternatives, it does not need to be explained by innate cognition.'

John Croft; Musical Memory, Complexity, and Lerdahl's Cognitive Constraints. 11-12. (masters thesis from 1999 which you can download for free from Croft's site here.)

TinyURL for this post for blogs/feeds etc....

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Birtwistle On Messiaen

Interesting video here from the Southbank Centre in London with Birtwistle talking to Gillian Moore about Messiaen (I found it on the London Sinfonietta's site.)

If that wasn't enough the Southbank Centre made a three part documentary on Messiaen in 2008 (as part of their Messiaen festival) that's also on the same YouTube 'channel' (Lightweight Media.) Links to parts 1, 2 and 3. (it says a four part documentary in the blurb but I can't find that one, also, who knew Jack Bruce was a Messiaen fan?.)

BTW if you want to download this or other YouTube videos I suggest using Any Video Converter, it's free (in basic form) and once you have downloaded the clip it will convert the file into a format of your choice (I have been dl'ing stuff off YouTube and putting them on my Walkman, the quality is surprisingly good.)

Probably best to use the HQ version of the clip you want to DL, to do this add some text to the end of the YouTube URL,... &fmt=18

As per usual these days, here is a tinyurl for this post for your blogs and twitterings and so on..

Monday 1 June 2009

Berio's Sincronie, More Free Stuff!!!.

Yes indeed. I found an old copy of the score to Berio's string quartet 'Sincronie' (1964-67) a while ago at my library and it looked like an interesting piece, however, I couldn't get hold of a recording of it (you can get a study score here, via UE.)

The only one available is on a Disques Montaigne CD* performed by the Arditti Quartet from 2002 but that is out of print (at the time of writing you can buy a second hand copy for over £50 on Amazon.)

I gave up looking after a while, then, like a crepuscular ray, I saw the light. A set of torrents called the Vinyl Flac Project or VFP. Inspired by the boss Avant Garde Project the VFP collects old vinyl recordings which have never been released digitally and preserves them for the good of man/womankind.

There doesn't seem to be much uploaded so far (from a few searches I made anyway) but amongst what I could find there was a recording of Sincronie made by the Lenox String Quartet.

Unfortunately I can't find a date for the recording though judging by the graphic design of the record sleeve and the audio quality I would guess late 60s to early 70s (I stand to be corrected.)

It took a few days to download the torrent but I got it eventually, to save you the trouble of doing the same I have uploaded a 320kbs Mp3 of the piece to deposit files, download it here (its about 32meg.)

Here is what Berio had to say about the piece in the program at the 'world premiere' in 1964..(from the OCR version of the liner notes of the album that comes with the torrent, I've uploaded the .doc file here.)
"Most commonly used instrumental ensembles reflect the typical equilibrium of classic polyphony. There is no doubt that the four voices of a string quartet are one of the most homogeneous and perfect examples of this equilibrium. With "Sincronie," however, I was interested in using the string quartet not especially as a polyphonic ensemble, i.e. as a dialogue among four voices of the same family but rather as a single, homophonic instru­ment. The four participants elaborate the same sequence of harmonic blocs almost continuously, simultaneously 'saying' the same thing in different ways."
The original torrent is here.

Here is a TinyURL for this post for your feeds/blogs etc, (please don't just rob the links.)

Regards copyright etc, I have no idea if anyone still owns the rights to the recording but am fairly certain that if someone does they won't be expecting to get rich off the back of it or ever release it again so it seems fair to share this rare gem (if you do own the copyright and want me to remove the link let me know in the comments section.)

*Re Disques Montaigne, that link is to their parent company Naïve, they were purchased by them in 1998 and don't have their own web address for some strange reason, you have to navigate the overly-fancy Naïve one to find the relevant stock.

EDIT: 14/10/2010

Thanks to Tassimo for adding some useful info in the comments section about the various recordings of this work. I've added the text below.......................

There have been four recordings of Berio’s Sincronie, two of which were released on LP, two on CD:

Luciano Berio: Sincronie (1963-64; 1966)
The Lenox String Quartet
Peter Marsh & Delmar Pettys, violins; Paul Hersh, viola; Donald McCall, ’cello
Desto CD 7129 [This is the LP catalogue number] According to the liner notes, “Berio added a section to the work after the original ending in 1967 which completes the present work as recorded here,” so the recording probably dates from 1967 or thereabouts. Other sources date the revision/expansion to 1966. (The Lenox Quartet had premièred the first version in Grinnell, Iowa, on 25 November, 1964.)

Luciano Berio: Sincronie (1963-64; 1966)
String Quartet of the Società Cameristica Italiana
Enzo Porta & Umberto Oliveti, violins; Emilio Poggioni, viola; Italo Gomez, ’cello
Recorded October 1968, Südwestfunk, Baden-Baden
Wergo 60053 (P) 1970 [?]

Luciano Berio: Sincronie (1963-64; 1966)
Kairos Quartett
Wolfgang Bender & Chatschatur Kanajan, violins; Simone Heilgendorff, viola; Claudius von Wrochem, cello
edition zeitklang ez-90007 (or DeutschlandRadio 4032824000092)
Recorded Berlin, 28 December 2000, (P) 2001

Luciano Berio: Sincronie (1963-64; 1966)
Arditti String Quartet
Irvine Arditti & Graeme Jennings, violins; Dov Scheindlin, viola; Rohan de Saram, cello
Disque Montaigne: Naive MO 782155
Recorded 2002; (P) 2002