Sunday, January 04, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Three Uses for a Violin

Olivier Messiaen: Turangalila Symphony. Seiji Ozawa conducting the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. 1967 (re-released in 2004). BMG Classics/RCA: 82876-59418-2.

Seiji Ozawa: conductor
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Yvonne Loriod: piano
Jeanne Loriod: ondes Martenot

A grand aural greeting to the ambitious optimism of a new year. The sprawling, large-scale orchestral plunge through 20th century "modernism's" waters is all the more impressive in this outstanding performance featuring the Loriod sisters (Yvonne being Messiaen's second wife) on piano and ondes Martenot. Not to mention the exquisitely crafted textures of cascading piano, searing ondes Martenot and enormous orchestra. This was a commission where Messiaen decided to stretch as many boundaries imaginable. The result is intoxicatingly expansive and well worth waking up the neighbors with its explosive glory.

Jenny Scheinman: 12 Songs. 2005. Cryptogramophone: CG125.

Jenny Scheinman: violin
Ron Miles: cornet
Doug Wieselman: clarinets
Bill Frisell: guitar
Rachelle Garniez: accordion, piano, claviola
Tim Luntzel: bass
Dan Rieser: drums

The textures are familiar for anyone who has spent time listening to the individual performers in this band. The Bill Frisell tones hang in the air like a welcome acquaintance in the service of these Scheinman compositions. The melding of Ron Miles with the Frisell sound is itself a familiar component. 12 songs of pleasant - and deceptively simple - beauty with a strange bend toward miss-spellings or puns in most of the titles: "The Frog Threw His Head Back and Laughed," "The Buoy Song" or "Satelite." The effortless and playful quality of these charts draw the ears in as a curiosity touching upon an Americana sound.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Bach Edition [disc 1-1]. 2006. Brilliant Classics: 93102/1.

Brandenberg Concerto 1
Brandenberg Concerto 2
Brandenberg Concerto 3

Performed by:
Musica Amphion
Remy Baudet: leader
Frank de Bruine: oboe
Remy Baudet: piccolo violin, violin
Teunis van der Zwart: horn
Erwin Wieringa: horn
William Wroth: trumpet
Pieter-Jan Belder: recorder
Sayuri Yamagata: violin
Irmgard Schaller: violin
Staas Swierstra: viola
Marten Boeken: viola
Mariette Holtrop: viola
Rainer Zipperling: cello
Richte van der Meer: cello
Albert Bruggen: cello

A first immersion into a box set so overwhelming it takes a forklift to pick it up. Which is nearly an understatement of the overwhelming body of work - and the ocean of Western music history that flows from this singular head water. The first three Brandenberg Concertos are as good a point of entry as any with the music of J.S. Bach. A steady, pulsating reminder of a Baroque music at an apex. The performance on this disc is well recorded - offering a sonic clarity to a dense ensemble sound. And offering these ears a sense of gravity lurking within the rippling contours of this music.

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