Sunday, February 14, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Magnum Opuses

Harry Partch: Delusion of the Fury: A Ritual of Dream and Delusion. 1971 (re-released in 1999). Innova: 406.

Danlee Mitchell: conductor

Still the definitive recording of this too rarely performed work. This exclamation point on the end of Harry Partch's creative output. And sadly an incomplete documentation of the full corporeal experience that Delusion of the Fury is when experienced in person. The sense of story telling relies upon the dance, costume and the mystical presence of these amazing instruments on stage. The music itself relies on few words in an of itself. An interesting destination for an uncompromising aesthetic motivated by the natural harmonic and rhythmic contours of spoken word.

Anthony Braxton 12+1tet: 9 Compositions (Iridium) 2006 - disc 7. Firehouse 12 Records: FH12-04-03-001.

Recorded live: March 18, 2006 at Iridium Jazz Club, New York City.

The Anthony Braxton 12+1tet
Anthony Braxton: composer, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone, clarinet and Eb contalto clarinet
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn, trumpbone, piccolo trumpet, bass trumpet, shell
Andrew Raffo Dewar: soprano saxophone, c-melody saxophone, clarinet
James Fei: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Mary Halvorson: electric guitar
Stephen H. Lehman: alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone
Nicole Mitchell: flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo, voice
Jessica Pavone: viola, violin
Reut Regev: trombone, flugelbone
Jay Rozen: tuba, euphonium
Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon, suona
Aaron Siegel: percussion, vibraphone
Carl Testa: acoustic bass, bass clarinet

Disc 7 = Composition 356 - dedicated to the writer/scholar Noam Chomsky

As ghost trance music, this one is clearly a trance inducing performance. One can hear the moment when the ensemble steps through the improvised texture and into a collective state of singular flow. The sonic material ripples through the late hour of the performance and into a creative zone that shimmers in a near suspended state. The alert listener is drawn into this same state as the sequence of sounds follows a an intuitive logic like neurons firing in just the right sequence to conjure up lost memories and ideas. Then the whole ensemble settles into a well crafted - yet spontaneous - coda that restores the mind to its normal state. Collective improvisation shaped and formed by one of the masters.

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Symphonies [disc 6]. Recorded in 1994. The International Music Company: 205299-305.

Symphony No. 9 in D minor (op. 125)
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Raymond Leppard: conductor
Soloists: Gilian Webster, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Martin Hill, Robert Hayward
The Ambrosian Singers
John McCarthy: choirmaster

Possibly the largest juggernaut in the symphonic canon. The best way to set this one aside is to indulge from time to time. The turn toward choral writing at the tail end of the final symphony is startling. It also fits as a gesture toward how much Beethoven changed symphonic writing - particularly after this piece. It's much easier to understand the Romantic era after internalizing the bombast of the Ninth.

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