Monday, January 14, 2019

Pianist Estrin compares the piano sonatas of Mozart with early Beethoven sonatas




On Living Pianos Videos, pianist Robert Estrin explores the differences between Mozart and early Beethoven piano sonatas.


He compares the Mozart Sonata #10 in C, K. 330, with the Beethoven Sonata #10 in G, Op.14 #2.

The character of each Sonata seems lighthearted at first.  The Mozart seems elegant and “perfect”.  Beethoven, who after started his compositional career about three decades later, keeps surprising you.  Furthermore, Beethoven’s treatment of the sonata development section is much more dramatic and extensive.
  
It would be good to look for a comparison of Haydn and Beethoven.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Living Earth Show performs Dennis Aman's Prelude and Fugue #1



Here’s The Living Earth Show’s performing Dennis Aman’s Prelude and Fugue #1 (for wine box guitar and percussion).

  
Andy Meyerson and Travis Andrews from the group performed Jan. 7-8 at for the Metropolis Ensemble on Rivington St in Soho In New York City.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Not exactly peripeteia




I did take a look at the modernized website for Brooklyn-based composer Timo Andres, this time just the keyboard works. I’ll link to the performance of a short work called “Wise Words”, which was written for the former president of Nonesuch Records. (The title reminds me of the play "Wise Guys", May 15, 2011.)

The work sounds a bit impressionistic but has some alberti arpeggio work that reminds me of how the Schumann Fantasy opens.

I wanted to listen to the "Moving Etudes", a 3-piece set.  The last one is available on the site, and sounds impressionistic to my ear.  But it would be nice to hear the entire set to look at what the concept of the entire set or “suite” is. 
  
I notice that scores (conventional or PDF) are available for sale.  This seems more common now as composers have to make a living, off commissions but now off sales of printed music – but normally that would seem to attract pianists who actually want to play the pieces. 
  
Maybe it would be a good idea for composers to put their larger works (but not yet well known) on Amazon for normal (credit card) purchase like much classical music as MP4 files, especially for Prime members.  I do sometimes purchase music or film this way (on Amazon Prime) for online viewing or listening.
  
I’ll be gearing up to make some of my own music more performable soon, as I have discussed with some friends in NYC this past week. 
  
  
For today’s link, here’s what happens when pianist Henri Herbert plays jazz at a public piano.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Can whales and dolphins compose music worthy of performance? It seems so



Karen Weintraub has a New York Times article describing the songs of whales, especially humpbacks.  These Whales Are Serenaders of theSeas; and It’s Quite a Racket”.
  
It seems whales can compose music of some sophistication.  They get other males to sing in unison with them, but some whales will break off and not conform. The idea is to find females.  That may be true with birds, but the actual music is more complicated and worthy of being studied as music, maybe eve being performed by experimental groups.
  
  
Does this fit the pattern with humans that, for the most part, composers were men until at least the mid nineteenth century, after which female composers gradually got more notice (like Amy Beach). 
    
 Classical music originally reflected religious values but in time may have also served a socializing purpose.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Matthew Schultheis: young composer with interesting chamber music, sometimes recalling Berg



Matthew Schultheis, 21, is listed among Metropolis Ensemble’s composers for a 2019 event called “A Stone’s Throw” (in their new space in NYC in SoHo).  He grew up in northern Virginia.  I’m not sure if he attended the Potomac School (like percussionist Grant Hoechst, who had appeared at Trinity Presbyterian Church in 2012).

Here is a piece for eight players, “The Temptation of St. Anthony”, for eight chamber players.  The historical person appears to be Anthony of Padua.  Is this related to the annual Camino Walk in northern Spain?   The work has four movements and the style seems dodecaphonic. 

  
He conducts his own Chamber Concerto for 15 players (17 min), which has three movements. 
  
The first movement is called “The Party” and has some nice repeated block chords with harmonic effects at about 5:00, on top of the atonality  (a little more like some of my writing in the Third Sonata, first movement development section).    The second movement is “Grave, lyrical”, and it stretches out fragments of a melodic line over a lot of atonal backdrop. The melody indulges some repeated notes and scales.  This leads without pause to the finale, “Inescapable”, as if a (Netflix) horror movie? You get some snippets of jazz themes over top of the clatter below. The work ends abruptly with percussion.  Was this work inspired by Alban Berg’s “Chamber Concerto”?  My ear didn’t pick up any idea that two movements are combined (Ralph Vaughn Williams did something like that in the Eighth Symphony).
  
It’s still before Epiphany, so we see Schultheis playing in piano four hands (with Mark Fleisher) “The Birthday of a King”, here.

I don't know if composers put themselves on Linked In, but Google showed only his namesakes. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Todd Rundgren, with the Tin Foil Hat, and his comic music about Baby Trump and a gender-bending Putin


A Facebook friend sent me the link for this video from Cleopatra Records of Todd Rundgren, the Tin Foil Hat with Donald Fagen.

  
Now this little mashup is about Baby Trump trading places with Kim Jong Un and sleeping with Vladimir Putin, fascinated with the latter’s boobies as he undergoes transition. Steven Bannon gets into the act, too. But I didn’t spot Milo.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sowerby: "Love Came Down at Christmas"



Leo Sowerby’s “Love Came Down at Christmas” sung by a Mennonite Choir in California.


There is a traditional Irish Melody that sounds very similar.
  
The anthem was sung today at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC.  Also played on the Austin organ were A Christmas Rondel, and An English Carol, by Charles Callahan.