Saturday, May 30, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Bach, Beethoven, Ayler

J.S. Bach: Bach Edition: Complete Works[disc II-1]. 1996, 1999. Brilliant Classics: 93102/24.

Leon Berben: harpsichord/Cembalo

The Well Tempered Clavier, book I

Preludium, Fuga, and Preludium again, and Fuga again. One has to appreciate the task - perfectly executed here - of systematically composing a prelude and fugue in every major and minor key found upon the well tempered instrument. Book 1 takes the journey from C major, to C minor, then chromatically up to F minor. Key centers do take on extraordinary focus in this music - as it often does with Baroque works. So much has grown from the tonality and the compositional answers posed by these pieces that one can't help also hearing one's memory reverberating with so many pieces that have drawn upon these creations.

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Complete Quartets [disc 6]. Recorded in 1994. Delos: DE 3036.

The Orford String Quartet:
Andrew Dawes: violin
Kenneth Perkins: violin
Terence Helmer: viola
Denis Brott: cello

String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3
String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131

The Opus 18 is nice. Structured and well developed. The Opus 131 is a marvel. Moments of startling arranging prowess dart by unexpectedly. The level of detail in this late piece is amazing. Again, the level of fetish these string quartets invite should - but oddly doesn't - rival that of the symphonies. I need to visit these pieces with scores in hand at some point.

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost (box set) [disc 5]. 2004. Revenant Records: 213.

Albert Ayler Quintet @ Berlin Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany - November 3, 1966
Albert Ayler Quintet @ De Doelen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - November 8, 1966

Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Don Ayler: trumpet
Michel Samson: violin
Bill Folwell: bass
Beaver Harris: drums

It is surprisingly easy to hear past the roughness of the recording and get right at the simmering substance of this music. Michel Samson! There has to be more documentation of this incredible violinist. Each spin adds to the curiosity and thirst to hear more of his improvising. This was a quintet sympathetic to the new sound Albert Ayler forged through uncompromising honesty and spiritual instinct. And it's performed before European audiences that "got it." These sets crackle with a barely contained, raw energy and prayer-like fervor that carries a clear conviction through the haze of decades past.

No comments: