Sunday, October 26, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Ergotic Undertones

Killick: Smudgeriffic. 2007. Sul Ponticello: 021. (#9 of a limited, one-time run of 33)

Killick: guitar

The liner notes say it well: "me and a guitar, 7.9.07." An exploration of the electric guitar for a single take that treats every sounding part of the instrument as fair game. One can hear the joy and sonic meditation in just the on/off state of electricity coursing through this instrument. Killick reaches a unique state of consciousness through improvisation. Hearing the playback of that experimentation and sense of play reveals the particulars of the mind at work in this music. The sense of exploration and openness to sound weaves an interesting journey.

James Tenney: Melody, Ergodicity and Indeterminacy. 2007. Mode Records: Mode 185.

performed by The Barton Workshop
Poem (1955)
Ergodos I (1963)
Monody (1959)
Ergodos II (1964)
Seegersong #1 (1999)
String Complement (wigh Ergodos II) (1964)
Seegersong #2 (1999)
Instrumental Responses (with Ergodos I) (1964)
Ergodos III (1994)
Percussion Response (with Ergodos I) (1964)

Painted with strokes of solo monophonic instruments (flute, clarinet), computer music, strings, percussion and various combinations of all of the above the aesthetic strain that runs through James Tenney's music emerges with loving clarity in this recording. These are pieces for the ear to experience sound in its most essential, physical sense. There's no emotional calculation here. Just an austere beauty that hovers in the air when the mind finds its focus. The Barton Ensemble has recorded a remarkable representation of this singular aesthetic. The contrast in ensembles creates barely a ripple against the clear sensibility behind this music.

Olivier Messiaen: Messiaen Edition [disc 1]. 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1996, 2005. Teldec Classics/Warner Classics/Warner Music Group Company: 2564 62162-2.

Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (1985)
Preludes (1928 - 29)
Quatre Etudes de rythme (1949-50)

Yvonne Loriod: piano

Large scale solo piano by Olivier Messiaen performed by his widow. These are outstanding performances of intricate compositions that brings out a lot of details. If you have an ear for the Messiaen sound this is a definitive recording of a key part of twentieth century piano literature. The consistent density of ideas between the 1928 and 1985 compositions is striking. Equally striking is the contrast between the early and late pieces.

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