Friday, July 03, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Ludwig van Allbee

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Complete Quartets [volume VIII]. Recorded in 1994. Delos: DE 3038.

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

String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6.
String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135
Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

With this volume the complete string quartet literature of Ludwig van Beethoven has now been splashed against these ears at least once. The next step is to internalize this music and the compositional accomplishments represented by them. The map from Classical to Romantic spelled out neatly along the contours of opus numbers as exquisitely realized formal constructions give way to elastic durations molded along the unique formulations of the most famous composer the Western World ever produced. The tonal construction of this music is largely internalized (the move toward Romanticism moves just beyond what is innate - which is part of what makes this material so compelling). The Op. 133 featured here is particularly gripping. Though it's the "middle period" works that contain the most surprises for me. These will be visited many times in my listening regimen.

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost [box set][disc 7]. 2004. Revenant Records: 213.

Don Ayler Sextet, January 11, 1969 @ Town Hall, New York City
Don Ayler: trumpet
Albert Ayler: alto saxophone
Sam Rivers: tenor saxophone
Richard Johnson: piano
Richard Davis: bass
Ibrahim Wahen: bass
Muhammad Ali: drums

Albert Ayler Quartet, July 28, 1970 @ La Colle sur Loup, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Call Cobbs: piano
Steve Tintweiss: bass
Allen Blairman: drums
+ Mary Parks: tambourine, hand clapping

Frankly, this is the toughest disc in the box to revel to. The Don Ayler Sextet is utterly swamped by the gymnasium-like acoustics of Town Hall, leaving a soup of noise with a free improvisation core. The Albert Ayler Quartet is a little cleaner as a recording, but with less of the fire than normally pours out of Ayler's tenor.

Liz Allbee: Quarry Tones. 2005. Resipiscent: RSPT 001.

Liz Allbee: trumpet, electronics, voice

Recordings like this make me glad to have relocated so close to the Oakland scene. Unpredictable, inventive, filled with moments of unexpected turns and beauty. The trumpet is just one instrument on this canvas and it's often not the focal point of the larger sonic image. Here it's the larger smear of sounds and strange poetry that give this listening experience an off kilter joy. Elastic noise crammed into brass pipes filled with breath and creative verve.

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