Wednesday, March 02, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: Sonic Excursions

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets [disc 2]. Recorded in 1989. Delos: D/CD 3032.

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

String Quartet in G major Op. 19 no. 2
String Quartet in B-flat major op. 130

The Beethoven Symphonies have been a wide spread obsession for a long time. But those in the know realize that his String Quartets are where it's at. Not only did Beethoven's compositional career straddle the transition between the Classical and Romantic periods, but it could be argued that he almost single handedly pushed one aesthetic into the other with his expansions upon form and idea. This is profoundly impressive music.

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost [disc 1]. 2004. Revenant Records: 213.

Herbert Katz Quintet, June 30, 1962 - Helsinki, Finland
Herbert Katz: guitar
Albert Ayler: teno
r saxophone
Teuvo Suojarvi: piano
Heikki Annala: bass
Martti Aijanen: drums

Cecil Taylor Quartet, November 16, 1962 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Cecil Taylor: piano
Jimmy Lyons: alto saxophone
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Sunny Murray: drums

Albert Ayler Trio, Jun
e 14, 1964 - Cellar Cafe, New York City
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Gary Peacock: bass
Sunny Murray: drums

Few discs so succinctly trace the progression of Albert Ayler as he found his voice and the role that his time performing before European audiences had in drawing his artistry out. The polite takes on the standards of "Summertime" and "On Green Dolphin Street" giving way to the thrill of Ayler's fire breathing as he scorches the Earth somewhere between his stints with the Cecil Taylor Quartet and his own trio two years later. The raw emotional energy of that sound remains a challenge and a sonic wonder that resonates through decades of free jazz. Not surprisingly, the polite interpretations of his early ears remain only a curiosity like a dam that has not yet burst.

Michael Ellison: Invocation. 2010. Innova: 766.

String Quartet #2 (2002)
Borromeo String Quartet:
Nicholas Kitchen: violin
William Fedkenheuer: violin
Mai Motobuchi-Rosenthal: viola
Yeesun Kim: cello

Invocation-Meditation-Allegro (1996)
Helen Bledsoe: flute

Elif (2003) for hafiz and chamber ensemble
Kani Karaca: voice
Ahmet Toz: ney
Onur Turkmen: ney
Hasan Tura: violin
Emil Vilenescu: bass clarinet
Jeff McAuley: cello
Michael Ellison: conductor

Michael Ellison's music is born through an immersion within multiple cultures, guided by an ear and mind sensitive to the delicate connecting tissues that bind the East and West. Inspired by Sufi music and traditions, the American academic composer has made his home in Istanbul where he teaches at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Music of Istanbul University. These pieces display a unique sensitivity and participation within multiple traditions. The extended techniques and intonation applied in
Invocation-Meditation-Allegro are grounded in Turkish traditions as opposed to more abstract constructions. This same reverence fills the monumental and substance rich String Quartet #2. Elif reveals a collaborative energy that is both haunting and brief. Overall, this is beautiful music born drawn from intense discipline and ears open to a focused cultural understanding.

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