mysterious, adj. Exciting wonder, curiosity, or surprise while baffling efforts to comprehend or identify. E.g., Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Sequences.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir (1977-), Sequences (bass flute, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, contrabassoon), 2016; International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), live, New York, 2016
in the big rain
—Kobayashi Issa, 1763-1827 (translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue)
sounds of Chicago (day two)
Sometimes encountering a new piece of music can turn your whole day around, which is what happened to me the other day when I bumped into this.
Georg Friedrich Haas (1953-), In Vain (2000)
Ensemble Dal Niente, live, Chicago, 2013
art beat: yesterday at the Art Institute of Chicago
Claude Monet (1840-1926), Cliff Walk at Pourville (1882)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Seascape (1879)
Eyes taste paintings no less than mouths taste food.
love it or hate it
Anthony Braxton 12+1tet, Composition 355, live, Italy (Venice), 2012
Anthony, a MacArthur “genius” award winner (1994) and professor at Wesleyan University, talks about this and that:
Music can take us places we’ve never been before, if we’re willing to listen to sounds we’ve never heard before.
one thing after
another after another
after another after another after . . .
John Cage (1912-1992), Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1958); Variable Geometry (Jean-Phillippe Calvin, director), live, London, 2011
A performance like this can go wrong in so many ways. This one, to these ears, works wonderfully. Momentum, tautness, immediacy—it has them all.
Everything we do is music.
The other night, as Mitsuko Uchida was performing two of Mozart’s piano concertos (17, 27) with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, there were moments so pure, so open, I would have liked nothing more than to disappear into one of the spaces between the notes and stay there.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, KV. 466; Mitsuko Uchida (piano and conducting), Camerata Salzburg, live, Germany (Salzburg), 2001
Anton Bruckner (1824-96), Symphony No. 5 in B flat major; Berlin Philharmonic (Wilhelm Furtwangler, cond.), live, Berlin, 1942
(Yeah, I realize this performance took place in Nazi Germany during World War II and, no, I don’t have anything profound, or even interesting, to say about how such beauty and such horror could coexist.)
Sometimes more is more.
Anton Bruckner (1824-96), Symphony No. 8 in C minor; Vienna Philharmonic (Herbert von Karajan, cond.), live, Austria (Abbey of St. Florian), 1979
Once upon a time, before the human attention span began to shrink, people could actually sit still and pay attention to something—a single thing—for over an hour.