Friday, May 24, 2013

"Other" Music Part One

Let me take a break from jazz for a brief moment and give mention to some of the "Other Music" I enjoy.

Bela Bartok - String Quartets. I started listening to these during my time at music school. Up to that point, I hadn't really listened to much classical music. Somewhere I read that Lee Konitz took these records on the road with Stan Kenton's band - he and Bill Russo would hang out listening to them. That was reason enough for me - saved up some busking money and I've been listening to them ever since courtesy of the Keller, Emerson & Tackas Quartets.

Glenn Gould 2 & 3 Part Inventions
J.S Bach - I have an on-again off-again playing relationship with the Two Part Inventions - we're back on at the moment (#2 C minor). I'm not sure why these were not part of my studies at music school? That comes to mind as one of the 3-b9 licks we had to learn for the improv class pops up in Invention #2. Anyway I'm glad to work on them now. I was probably initialy inspired to get into them after hearing the live recordings of Lee Konitz Warne Marsh playing numbers 1 & 13 on the live recordings on Storyville. Lately I've been playing #2 along with Glenn Gould.

Back in my alto days I worked a little on the Cello Suites but haven't continued with them on the soprano. Recordings by Anner Byisma, Roel Dieltiens, and Pablo Casals (of course) have kept me in touch with them. Great to relax to and the first Bach I got into.
Stockhausen - Tirkreis

Stockhausen - "Tierkreis" For a while these 12 pieces were part of my regular practice. Hayden Chisholm had us perform our star sign during his workshop in Greece. I had never played any music like it before. Rhythmically and melodically they are quite different to what I am used to and improvising on them was a lot of fun and stretched me into other areas - I found it came easier on some than others. I plan to revisit them.  These recordings provided plenty of variety: Elisabeth Klein's solo piano (a straight version), The duo of Volker Hemken (bass clarinet) & Steffen Schleiermacher (piano),  The trio of Markus Stockhausen (trumpets/piano) Suzanne Stephens (clarinet) Kathinka Pasveer (flutes/piccolo) the trumpet and organ duo of Markus Stockhausen & Magareta Hurholz.

Morton Feldman
Morton Feldman - One problem I have with these works is that due to the length it's hard to get all the way through in a sitting! I enjoy the floating, endless quality they have. Sometimes I feel the pieces are quite hypnotic. Here are the works of his I have listened to the most - I plan to continue exploring.
"Violin & String Quartet" by Peter Rundel & Pellegrini Quartet. Probably the first Feldman work I heard - Intrigued I wanted to hear more.
"Piano & String Quartet" by Kronos Quartet & Aki Takahashi. My wife arrived home one evening while this was on and commented that it reminded her of a 70's horror soundtrack.
"Triadic Memories" by Marilyn Nonken.
I am interested in getting into improvised music that harnesses some of the qualities of Feldman's work.

Anton Von Webern - Of the works of Webern's I have the "String Quartets/Trio" by the Emerson Quartet have received the most play time. I'm not sure what led me here. Steve Lacy talked of working on vocal parts of Webern's - that may have sparked my interest once I took up the soprano. Opus 9 grabbed my attention. Saxophonist John O'Gallagher is way into 12-tone concepts. I can't see myself traveling that road but I am keen to check out his book on the topic. Next month O'Gallagher is releasing the "Anton Webern Project".

Arnold Schoenberg - "Pierrot Lunaire" Part of Deutsche Grammaphon's 20C series.
Quite a new addition (I got it in January) not sure what made me choose this one - I had planned on getting Schoenberg's solo piano stuff but they didn't have it - I couldn't leave empty handed! 

When I'm interested in a jazz artist I tend to seek out information about them - interviews, biographies, websites etc. For whatever reason, I don't seem to do this on the classical side. Aside from the Bach and Stockhausen pieces mentioned above, it's rare that I study the pieces the way I do with jazz. One day perhaps, but for now I'll enjoy listening to them with getting too involved. Classical music tends to come and go in phases - I'll spend a period of time listening to one piece a lot or mix it up with various pieces then take a break from it for a while.

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