Sunday, November 08, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Concord, Cash and Khoom

Henry Brant: The Henry Brant Collection, Volume 7: A Concord Symphony. 2007. Innova: 414.

Henry Brant: orchestration of the Charles Ives Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass., 1840-60.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Dennis Russell Davies: conductor

This is such a brilliant reinforcement of two major branches of American new music. The mixture of Henry Brant's profound understanding of the music and ethos of Charles Ives with the personality and levity of Brant's own personality producing an orchestration that is completely on target for the gravity and expression of Ives' monumental piano work. The instrumentation opens up new shading into the rich substance of this piece. A valuable "collaboration" that deserves its own position in any repertoire of American identity.

Johnny Cash: Love, God, Murder. 2000. Sony Music Entertainment: C3K 63809.

Compilations produced by Johnny Cash.
Co-Produced by Steve Berkowitz and Al Quaglieri

It's hard to argue with compilations hand picked by Johnny Cash constructed around the themes of Love, God and Murder (on three separate discs). Each successive collection burrowing deeper into a raw nerve of human emotional tolls. But then, it's never wise to argue with the man in black. The deceptive simplicity bolstered by conviction and understanding. A willingness to speak out for the downtrodden without becoming more or less than any of us. A sense of faith without preaching or self righteousness. Johnny Cash was a rare soul.

Giacinto Scelsi: 5 String Quartets/String Trio/Khoom. 2002. Naive: MO 782156.

Arditti String Quartet:
Irvine Arditti: violin
David Alberman: violin
Levine Andrade: viola
Rohan De Saram: cello
Michiko Hirayama: voice
Maurizio Ben Omar: percussion
Frank Lloyd: horn
Aldo Brizzi: conductor

String Quartet No. 1 (1944)
String Trio (1958)
String Quartet No. 2 (1961)
Khoom for piano 6 players (1962)
String Quartet No. 3 (1963)
String Quartet No. 4 (1964)
String Quartet No. 5 (1974/85)

Still one of my favorite narratives played out in abstract sound. The evolution of Giacinto Scelsi as he became his iconic (and eccentric) self. A progression from non-tonal ideas and aesthetic into the timbral obsessions and extreme textures that make Scelsi so important. Listening to his string writing from the first quartet through the fifth is an exercise in hearing personal growth unfold.