Saturday, October 03, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Extended and Cultured

Terry Riley: The Book of Abbeyozzud. 1999. New Albion: NA 106 CD.

David Tanenbaum: guitar
Gyan Riley: guitar
Tracy Silverman: violin
William Winant: percussion

For those in the know about Terry Riley's prowess at arranging and spinning great compositional yarns this documentation of acoustic guitar music is no mere curiosity. It has so many of the Riley-esque musical qualities without slotting into the immediate frames of In C or Poppy Nogood. This music weaves an impressive melodic tapestry along inventive narrative forms. One of many arguments for hearing the entire creative catalogue of this American icon.

Charity Chan: Somewhere the Sea and Salt. 2009. Actuellecd: AM 188.

Charity Chan: extended piano, objects

Animated by a pair of inspired ideas: a steady focus on extended piano technique as a timbral playground of percussive expanse and recording this material from the perspective of the performer. It's amazing how much the nuances of extended piano sounds shift relative to the ears perceiving the struck, plucked, strummed and manipulated strings within the instrument. Somewhere the Sea and Salt is offered as a creative encyclopedia of sonorities discovered and coaxed by Chan from the piano. The use of resonance is particularly striking - and a clear path of innovation. The short tracks unfolding as poetry written in sonority.

Kronos Quartet: Nuevo. 2002. Nonesuch: 79649-2.

Kronos Quartet:
David Harrington: violin
John Sherba: violin
Hank Dutt: viola
Jennifer Culp: cello

El Sinaloense (1943) by Severiano Briseno
arranged by Osvaldo Golijov

Se Me Hizo Facil (1959) by August Lara
arranged by Osvaldo Golijov
with Luanne Warner: marimba

Mini Skirt (1968) by Juan Garcia Esquivel
arranged by Osvaldo Golijov

El Llorar - traditional
arranged by Osvaldo Golijov
with Alejandro Flores: vocals, violin
Efren Vargas: vocals

Perfidia (1939) by Alberto Dominguez
arranged by Stephen Prutsman
with Carlos Garcia: musical leaf

Sensemaya (1937) by Silvestre Revueltas
arranged by Stephen Prutsman
with Tambuco Percussion Ensemble:
Richardo Gallardo, Alfredo Bringas, Claudia Oliveira, Raul Tudon: percussion

K'in Sventa Ch'ul Me'tik Kwadulupe (2001) by Osvaldo Golijov
with Luanne Warner: marimba
Rominko Patixtan Patixtan: arpa (harp)
Pegro Lunes Tak'il Bek'et: vob (guitar)
Carmen Gomez Oso, Xun Perez Hol Cotom, Rominko Mendez Xik: vocals

Tabu (1941) by Margarita Lecuona
arranged by Osvaldo Golijov
with Luis Conte: percussion

Cuatro Milpas (1926) by Belisario Garcia de Jesus and Jose Elizondo
arranged by Stephen Prutsman
with anonymous: organillo

Chavosuite (2001)
arrangement by Ricardo Gallardo
with Gustavo Santaolalla: toys, percussion

Plasmaht (2001) by Ariel Guzik
arranged by Kronos Quartet
with Ariel Guzik: plasmaht

Nacho Verduzco (1992) by Chalino Sanchez
arranged by Osvaldo Golijov

12/12 (2000) by Cafe Tacuba (Ruben Albarran, Emmanuel del Real, Enrique Rangel, Jose Alfredo Rangel)
with Cafe Tuba:
Ritacantalagua: electric guitar
Emmanuel del Real: programming, keyboards, jarana
Quique: jarana, concha, programming
Joselo: electric guitar
Alejandro Flores: violin, requinto

El Sinaloense (Dance Mix) (2001)
Remixed by Plankton Man

I've generally had mixed feelings about Kronos albums heavy on arrangements as opposed to pieces written specifically for the Kronos String Quartet. There's a part of me that still holds enormous curiosity for what pieces composers are throwing at this ensemble. However, Nuevo is essentially a concept album that is strengthened by the often high quality arrangements and augmentations upon the two violin, viola and cello instrumentation. As a cohesive listening experience it succeeds tremendously. Silvestre Revueltas' Sensemaya - arranged here for string quartet and percussion quartet - is the high point of this listening as Revueltas continues to be a strong point of interest for these ears. This is then followed by the achingly beautiful K'in Sventa Ch'ul Me'tik Kwadulupe that tastefully places Kronos Quartet at the alter for the "Festival for the Holy Mother Guadalupe." Other high points abound in this recording. Yet it is the experience as a whole that holds it together in compelling fashion. Like a one hour sampler of delirium that pays homage to the cultural treasures of Mexico.

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