We've been doing well in our first week. Taking care of getting the apartment settled, learning our new neighborhood, communicating as much as we can. Music, admittedly, has been the last thing on my mind. But, hopefully we can get into a rhythm soon so that I can start working again. In the meantime, enjoy these pieces. I love them.
Holy Long Pieces Batman! Have a few epics in here. Could not get the whole version of Far West News. There are two more episodes and they are great. If you are interested, check them out at your local library.
(12 cool points if you know where the below sound effect comes from)
This piece is probably the shining example of classical heavy metal. The last movement is like putting Metallica on a string quartet (though this has been done and is really pretty terrible). The drive, the energy. The second movement of Shostakovich's tenth symphony has the same feeling. This piece really put the hook in me when I first heard it. So much so that my first two attempts at string quartet just smacked of Bartok. It is hard to get out from under his influence when it comes to that genre. Its a tricky maneuver - synthesis instead of imitation. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this matter. COMMENT BELOW!
(violin, cello, piano, percussion, glass harmonica)
Crumb has a knack for writing music that sounds creepy. I always hated when my students made this comment about music because it seemed like an easy out to me. "This could be horror movie music." No it couldn't. Everyone would hate the movie if it was. But, this piece has that ominous sound about it. For me, it is similar to stepping into the sound world of a Dali painting. Surreal landscape. Surrealism freaks me out. So does claymation. Whenever visual elements are elastically out of proportion, I have a problem with it. This piece has that element in sound. Yet, I love it.
To think that this piece was written in 1975 is mind blowing. It sounds just as new as anything being written save for a slight bit of tape hiss. Truly explores sound in a very sinewy and fluid way despite some of the limitations of the genre. The music in the 10-13 minute range is fantastic. The ending is also brilliant. I don't remember who got me hooked on this piece. Last year at some point I put out a call to all of my electro friends and colleagues for new pieces to check out and teach. I'd fallen into a rut teaching the same pieces and I wanted to loose a few and insert some new ones into the rotation. My friends came through big time as many of the EA pieces on this list came from that request.
(four bongos, three marimbas, three female voices, three glockenspiels, whistler, piccolo)
For many nights during undergrad, this was my falling asleep music. It kept me up most nights. While most people find minimalism boring and sleep-able. My brain finds the patterns that aren't the focus; the inner workings of the repetition. I hear a new piece each time I listen.
Dan Zajicek introduced all of the Rice University composers to this piece the same day he introduced us to Mantra by Laporte (number 28 on the list). I remember Mantra being what I focused on for the next week or so. When that wore off, I started listening to Far West News and the rest of Ferrari's music. I've had students listen to this piece and write about it. Many have not appreciated it the way that I do. Maybe I love it so much because of a story that Kurt Stallmann told me once. He was sitting on a bus in a city that I can't remember anymore - maybe Chicago. There were two older men close to him that were talking. Naturally, you can't help but eaves drop a little. They were talking about a trip that one of them had just taken. Where the guy went, what he did, etc. "Yeah, it was great. You'll have to hear it."
The two men were blind.
Audio tapes had become the vacation snapshots that were shared with friends after returning. This story really added to my changing perspective on listening and what music could be. Luc Ferrari's piece is many, many things. But, I think it fits very well into the aural vacation snapshots category.