Monday, January 21, 2008

Cyber Classical #60

Show no. 60
January 20, 2008
(Revised 1/23)

Glenn Branca. Symphony No. 8 (first movement)
The Glenn Branca Ensemble, con. G. Branca (Blast First)

My first exposure to this iconic figure. It's sufficiently hard to get his music on disc that I grabbed this at the DePaul library the minute I saw it. Ok, so that's what it's all about, is it? It's a bridge to the rock kids. Guitar based, relentlessly rhythmed and amplified. And it was a real experience -- much more to be there I'm sure, and I'd go in a minute. A welcome new wrinkle to our program.

György Ligeti. Trois Bagatelles for David Tudor.
Fredrik Ullén, piano. (BIS)

Bryant picked this for fellow critic Stephen Marc Beaudoin. We wuz bamboozeled! Should have noticed the dedication to David Tudor, which might have wakened associations with Cage, which might have made us wary but no, we put it on and actually thought we had a defective CD and dead air, so we panicked and pulled it off...and it was simply a witty modernist position being taken by Ligeti, consisting of a single piano note and its endless decay. At Cyber Classical at least you will get the truth even if it reflects against us...

Anton Arensky. Symphony No. 1 in B Minor, Op. 4.
USSR Symphony Orchestra; Yevgeny Svetlanov, con.

Our only 19th century item today. Bold, rich, and sounding
at times like Tchaikovsky at times like Rimsky-Korsakoff. His chamber music is well liked by some.

Arvo Part. Cello Concerto "Pro et contra."
Bamberg Sym; Neeme Jarvi, con. (BIS)

This was a "Guess This" item for Bryant. Part acting up. Very appropriate that the CD did too! He guessed it after several strong hints -- "west of Russia""...etc.
That magnificent Estonian Neeme Jarvi conducted with vigor.

York Bowen. Sonata in E minor for Violin & Piano, op. 112
Endymion Ensemble (Epoch)

Wow, a whole new composer to sample...this was music suitable for a matinee with the Queen Mother, and I'm not being patronising, I'm simply placing it in its time and place. I believe he's got an interesting Violin Concerto which has been compared to Glazunov's.

Henry Cowell. Symphony No. 15 (Thesis)
The Louisville Orchestra (Robert S. Whitney
& Jorge Mester, conductors) (first edition)

A late and somewhat academic piece with still lots of that great American gruffness and orchestral spunk. Recommended.

Debussy. Preludes, Book II.
Jorge Federico Osorio, piano. (Cedille)

Cedille goes on its unconcerned way just releasing the CDs it wants to and getting lots of positive reviews. They seem to have a business plan in place which insulates them from the tumbling market for CDs, or else they have another source of income.

Philip Glass. Symphony No. 5 (Selections)
Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Dennis Russell Davies, con.

I finally got to audition this 2-CD Nonesuch box before the show and I was immediately taken with this vocal extravaganza written for the Millenium. I think it is first class Glass. I loved the text, the chorus, the soloists and the conducting. As for Glass' music, there will have to be some winnowing pretty darn soon!

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