sabato 2 maggio 2009

Peter Ruzicka - String Quartets (Arditti String Quartet)

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Peter Ruzicka (b. July 3, 1948, Düsseldorf). Esteemed German composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, and vocal works that have been performed throughout the world; he is also active as an administrator, conductor and writer.

Prof. Ruzicka initially studied music theory and piano with Peter Hartmann and oboe with Egbert Gutsch at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg from 1963–68. He later studied law and musicology in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin from 1968–76 and earned his doctorate under the supervision of Wilhelm Nordemann in 1977.

Among his many honors are the Kompositionspreis from the city of Stuttgart (1969, for Esta Noche [Trauermusik für die Opfer des Krieges in Vietnam]), a prize in the Bartók competition in Budapest (1970, for 2. Streichquartett, '...Fragment...' [withdrawn]) and a mention in the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers (1971, for Metastrofe [Versuch eines Ausbruchs]). He has also received First Prize in the Gaudeamus competition (1972, for In processo di tempo...), the Bach-Preis-Stipendium from the city of Hamburg (1972) and the Louis Spohr Musikpreis Braunschweig (2004, for his œuvre and his promotion of new music). He has been a member of the Akademie der Künste in Munich since 1985 and of the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg since 1987.

He has received commissions from the cities of Augsburg and Düsseldorf and from Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Berliner Festwochen, the Bundesjugendorchester, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Göttinger Symphonie Orchester. The Internationale Musikverlage Hans Sikorski, the Kölner Philharmonie, NDR, RIAS, the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden, the Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, SDR, SWF, and WDR have also commissioned him.


[...] Alongside Ruzicka’s works for large ensembles runs a steady production of string quartets - but this is in no way a “sideline”. These works have been closely connected to the poetic work of Paul Celan and to Webern’s axiom of a maximally dense musico-linguistic statement since ‘...fragment...' Five Epigrams for String Quartet (1970). The Second String Quartet arose as a requiem for Paul Celan and is concerned with thoughts about death. These thoughts can be considered to be the scope of the following compositions for or with string quartet, as in the eschatological standpoint of the Third String Quartet ‘...über ein Verschwinden’ [about a Disappearance], the title of which quotes Boulez’s obituary for Adorno and whose telos is found in the final movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony as an allegory of death itself; ‘Tombeau’ for flute, (doubling alto and bass flutes) and string quartet of 2000, “a late echo of the Flute Concerto” (P.R.), reveals itself as a stele for Karl-Bernhard Sebon (1935-1994), the soloist who played the world premiere of ‘Emanazione. Variationen für Flöte und vier Orchestergruppen’ (1976). Paul Celan’s ‘Force of Light’ is one of nine text sources in ‘...sich verlierend’ [Losing Oneself] for string quartet and speaker (1996), a work which, in regard to structure, is just as important a connecting link to the musical theatrical work ‘Celan’ as is ‘...Inseln, randlos...‘ [Islands, edgeless] of 1994/95. Here, as in nearly all of his works since the middle of the 1990s, one clearly perceives the tendency to abandon the fragmentary aesthetic of his previous works in favour of an arch-like grandeur, thus fulfilling the requirements of a full-length stage work as well.
The compositional idea includes – as the image of edgeless islands suggests – compression and unfolding, the material core and the breadth of musical space, which the solo violin, large orchestra and a chamber choir fulfil. Paul Celan is also present in this work with a poem from the cycle ‘Eingedunkelt’ [Darkened]: “After the renunciation of light: / the messenger’s walk, / brightening day, // the blissfully blossoming message, / shriller and shriller, / finds its way to a bleeding ear.”



1) "...über ein Verschwinden" (String Quartet no. 3) (1992)

2) Klangschatten (1991)

"...fragment..." Five Epigrams for String Quartet (String Quartet no. 2) (1970)
3) i Molto calmo, Statico
4) ii Eccitato
5) iii Sfasciarsi
6) iv Movimentato
7) v Indistino

8) Introspezione, Documentation for String Quartet (String Quartet no. 1) (1969-70)

9) "...sich verlierend" for String Quartet and Speaker (String Quartet no. 4) (1996)


Arditti String Quartet:
Irvine Arditti, violin
Graeme Jennings, violin
Garth Knox, viola
Rohan de Saram, cello

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, speaker

l i n k

venerdì 6 febbraio 2009

Salvatore Martirano: O, O, O, O, That Shakespeherian Rag

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Salvatore Giovanni Martirano, internationally acclaimed American composer and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois was born on January 12th, 1927, in Yonkers, NY, a son of Alexander and Mary Mazzullo Martirano. He died at the age of 68 on Friday, November 17th, 1995.

Professor Martirano studied composition with Herbert Elwell at Oberlin College(1947-51), with Bernard Rodgers at The Eastman School of Music(1952), and with Luigi Dallapiccola at the Cherubini Conservatory in Florence, Italy(1952-4). From 1956 to 1959 he was in Rome as a Fellow of the American Academy, and in 1960 he recieved a Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. At this time he had works commissioned by the Koussevitzky and Fromm foundations. He was professor of composition at the University of Illinois from 1963 till his retirement in 1995. During the Illinois years he also accepted residencies at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Sydney in 1979, Australia, IRCAM in Paris in 1982, France, and The California Institute of the Arts in 1993.

His compositions have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, Cleveland Orchestra, and by radio orchestras and choral ensembles throughout the United States, Europe and the Orient. His chamber and solo works have been performed world-wide.



01 Cocktail Music (1962), for piano
02 Octet (1963), for flute, bass clarinet, conta-alto clarinet, marimba, celesta, violin, cello, contra-bass
03 Chansons Innocentes (1957) ,for soprano and piano: I In Just Spring
04 Chansons Innocentes (1957) ,for soprano and piano: II Hist Whist
05 Chansons Innocentes (1957) ,for soprano and piano: III Tumbling Hair
06 Ballad (1966), for amplified nite-club singer and instrumental ensemble
07 Stuck On Stella (1979), for solo piano
08 O, O, O, O That Shakespearian Rag (1959), for mixed chorus and instrumental ensemble: I Winter
09 O, O, O, O That Shakespearian Rag (1959), for mixed chorus and instrumental ensemble: II Lullaby
10 O, O, O, O That Shakespearian Rag (1959), for mixed chorus and instrumental ensemble: III Warning
11 O, O, O, O That Shakespearian Rag (1959), for mixed chorus and instrumental ensemble: IV Spring

Performers: John Garvey, viola; Dorothy Martirano, violin; Arthur Maddox, celesta; Howard Smith, contra-alto clarinet; Lee Duckles, cello; Rick Kvistad, marimba; Thomas Fredrickson, bass; Thomas Howell, flute; Ronald Dewar, bass clarinet; Donald Smith, voice; Jacqueline C Bobak, soprano; J. Robert Floyd, piano; Vicki Ray, piano; Marilyn Nonken, piano; Morgan Powell, trombone; University of Illinois Chamber Choir and Madrigal Singers


[avg. bitrate: 183 kbps]
[genre: contemporary classical, avant-garde, classical]

l i n k

giovedì 8 gennaio 2009

Tom Sora - Music For Mechanical And Electronic Instruments: 20 Töne / Destillation / Drei Angriffe

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20 Töne (1993-98) - Neun Kompositionen Für Kurbelspieluhr
1 Texturen (1993) (5:24)
2 Ohne Titel 1 (1993) (1:58)
3 Eingefangenes Monument (1994) (3:026)
4 Wechselspiele (1994) (Mit Zwei Stimmen) (10:10)
Voice - Tom Sora
5 Ohne Titel 2 (1995/98) (3:42)
6 Tradiertes Material (1995) (3:37)
7 Unterbrochene Bänder (1995) (2:44)
8 Unterbrochenes Band (1996) (3:46)
9 Diskontinuität Und Überblendung (1996) (4:46)
Zwei Stücke Aus Dem Zyklus Destillation (2002/2004) Für Midi-Klavier
10 Improvisationscollage (2002/2004) (4:27)
Piano - Tom Sora
11 Erstes Destillat Aus >>Improvisationscollage<< (2003/2004) (4:27)
Piano - Tom Sora
12 Drei Angriffe (2003) Für Midi-Klavier (10:25)


domenica 3 agosto 2008

Vanessa Rosetto

Imperial brick
Whoresonin the wilderness

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Music Appreciation

One of the pleasures of following new music is when someone springs up out of the blue (at least, to you), almost fully formed, with no particular connection to any musicians or musical scene of which you were aware, if anything known only as an avatar on a discussion board. For this listener, that happy circumstance occurred in the case of Vanessa Rossetto, a violinist/violist/electronicist from Austin, Texas. These three discs were all recorded in 2007and, though not intended as a triptych of any sort, can easily be heard as such, and a mighty impressive one at that.

“misafridal” opens with some almost idle sounding flicking, presumably of a stringed instrument but abstracted enough to suggest almost any taut pieces of material, from plastic to paper. One of the first magical moments in this music occurs subsequently as rich, dark bowing from the viola enters quite unexpectedly, soon overlaid by field recording atmospherics, either out in the wind or inside some large enclosure, among which plaintive violin pluckings are briefly heard. It’s quite evocative and mysterious and sets the table perfectly for what follows as the music caroms between the impassioned string playing and the tapes. While she’ll occasionally, as near the beginning of the second track here, play rough-edged quasi-melodies, more often Rossetto fluctuates between freer playing inspired by musicians such as Polly Bradfield and Phil Wachsmann and low drones that recall Tony Conrad but with perhaps a greater emotive range. These drones constitute one of the deeper elements at play throughout the discs, often anchoring farther flung sounds though Rossetto is quite content to abide in a given area for an extended time, wringing out variation upon subtle variation. The third cut here, “eohippus” (Rossetto also has a way with titles), is gorgeous, all slightly splintered but relatively tonal, high-ish drones, one lapping at the heels of the next, with a soft rumble of something, perhaps a rogue field recording, maybe just ambient sound in the studio, beneath. As an album-length suite of sorts, it’s not perfect—the fourth track throws in a bit of a wrench with some accordion-like wheezing and disjointed, scrabbling string attacks, but on the whole it holds together beautifully, Rossetto varying both sound and structure within a seemingly narrow plane but achieving great breadth. The closing string piece (three or four overlaid, I think), returns to a fairly tonal character, a wonderful rumination that recalls, just a bit, the bluesy keening of the late Leroy Jenkins while also making reference to early minimalism.

The “middle” disc (they were in fact recorded in the order issued), “imperial brick”, consists of seven improvisations on the viola, all laid down on the same day. (One can sometimes make out ambient sound from outside the room, traffic and such, a very nice effect). Here, the connection with earlier free improvising string players is the strongest and this set can be heard as part of the entire tradition of solo performances in that vein, though still the strongest attractor seems to be that of the ornamented drone. As ever, it’s a difficult feat to pull off consistently and Rossetto wavers here and there but by and large holds matters together with a sure hand. Not that it’s technically flashy, but I admit to being a bit wowed every so often, unable to quite believe that a mere single viola was in use; I get the feeling she has chops to spare. My favorite cut is “The Girlhood of Baba Yaga”, once again a drone-centered improvisation, with coiling, smoky tendrils unfurling off the central spine. Though I don’t know his work terribly well, I was reminded a good bit of a fine solo concert I saw in Nancy several years ago by Malcolm Goldstein. There’s a similar latent romanticism in Rossetto’s playing, not woozy at all, but clear-eyed with a dash of harshness and possessed of a striking vocal quality. While I can’t say I’m the most knowledgeable fan of the genre (solo string improv), I do have very fond memories of seeing Jenkins playing alone at Washington Square Church in the late 70s, an amazing performance. This session, at its best, isn’t far short of that or the Goldstein.

But Rossetto saves the best for “last” with “whoreson in the wilderness”, a title out of Cormac McCarthy. It opens with a thrilling quartet (? I actually have no idea how many violins and violas are involved) that spirals up into a dizzying column of sound complete with what sounds like feedback. Indeed, that feedback initiates the next track, “myself with water”, in my opinion the finest track from these three discs and one of the single strongest pieces of music I’ve heard over the last year, period. An eruption of clatter ensues, soon embedded in that recurrent low, creamy drone, pulsing along at a relatively rapid pace. These, in turn, subside into a crystalline, delicate mesh of high arco and electronic tones, with metal scrapes weaving through, morphing into keening, birdlike wails. Specific sounds aside, the structure of pieces like this one is hugely convincing; more than once, in this respect, I was reminded of Olivia Block’s constructions, heady company to be sure. “stale cream moon” is more composed, a lovely mix of groaned low tones and march-like middle ones with a sorrowful, chorded middle plaint. The sawing grows more and more frantic on “impending shark music”, verging on derailment, Rossetto in full maximalist mode. She takes things out with a marvelous funnel of taped sounds and strings, an intense eddy of echoic, metallic swirls, those deep string drones and insectile chirps.

As I said above, very impressive work, beautifully conceived. It held my attention throughout and provided more than a few thrilling moments. Highly recommended.

Brian Olewnick

Misafridal link
Imperial brick link
Whoresonin the wilderness link

mercoledì 2 luglio 2008

Magazzini Criminali - Notti senza fine

"I Magazzini" is an acting company established in 1972 in Florence from Federico Tiezzi and Alessandro Lombardi. It's one of the most innovative acting company world-wide. As "Magazzini Criminali", the company did a contamination between theatre, cinema and music. Since 2001 he changed its name in "Compagnia Lombardi-Tiezzi".

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giovedì 29 maggio 2008

Mathias Spahlinger - Musica impura

Mathias Spahlinger is a fastidious composer of highly charged music. His music does recall Lachenmann, but he is not a Lachenmann drone or imitator (like many younger-generation German composers). Instead he reaches back to the music of Webern through ultra-condensed miniatures and a very economical manner of writing. When I first heard Spahlinger, I was totally unprepared for the visceral intensity of his music; unlike the restrained expressionism of his Second Viennese School ancestors, Spahlinger's music frequently boils over into violent noise. This music needs to be listened to very carefully. It is an exploration of monumental relevations of expression in a small, compact, terse, and very dense manner. Albeit not such a distinction, (

link 1

link 2

thanks avant-terrorist :)

domenica 11 maggio 2008

William Duckworth - The time curve preludes

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William Duckworth's Well-Tempered Clavier of minimalism. Elegant studies in proportion and sonority. Each prelude grows from a single rhythmic figure, uses modal harmonies, raga-style drones, and Medieval melodic outlines, and captures a particular but relatively brief mood, whether meditative, dance-like, or song-like. Duckworth's shifting, modal patterns unfold in a specially reverberant universe created by sustaining (with weights) certain of the keyboard's lowest notes. With pace and duration perfectly controlled, the preludes progress from sweetness to pungency with an elegiac inevitability.

Performer: Neely Bruce


1 Untitled (2:21)
2 Untitled (2:08)
3 Untitled (2:00)
4 Untitled (1:54)
5 Untitled (2:09)
6 Untitled (4:11)
7 Untitled (2:45)
8 Untitled (1:48)
9 Untitled (1:48)
10 Untitled (1:46)
11 Untitled (3:34)
12 Untitled (2:45)
13 Untitled (3:12)
14 Untitled (3:45)
15 Untitled (1:40)
16 Untitled (2:17)
17 Untitled (2:33)
18 Untitled (2:03)
19 Untitled (2:36)
20 Untitled (1:44)
21 Untitled (1:45)
22 Untitled (2:11)
23 Untitled (3:30)
24 Untitled (2:35)