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.
You don’t need to be asleep to be lost in a dream.
Maurice Ravel, Piano Concerto in G Major (1929-31); Martha Argerich, piano; Orchestre National de France (Charles Dutoit, cond.); live, Germany (Frankfurt), 1990
George Lewis (1952-), “Will to Adorn” (2011)
International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Chicago, 2012
[W]hen writing “The Will To Adorn,” Lewis was especially “interested in this idea of adornment—color, color, color everywhere.” The piece represents Lewis’ current musical goal to get “more color energy into the pieces.”
In February, when I left this concert, which took place on a Sunday afternoon at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, I felt both exhilarated and wistful. This performance, which had been such a joy to hear, I would never be able to experience again. Or so I thought, until, just the other day, I discovered this recording online. Young people, many of them, anyway, would see nothing remarkable in being able, thanks to the ’net, to return to a musical experience whenever, and wherever, you want. To me it seems a small miracle.
I was trying to assert myself as the man in the house, taking charge of things no one could control.
—Richard Ford, Canada (2012)
sui generis, adj. A person or thing that is unique, in a class by itself. E.g., Anthony Braxton, composer, reed player, professor, MacArthur “genius” grant winner, one-time professional chess hustler.
Happy (Belated 66th) Birthday, Anthony!
(born June 4, 1945)
Anthony Braxton with his 12+1tet, Ghost Trance Music
New York (Iridium), 2008
I wanted to live. I wanted to be alive. This experience goes by very quickly. Part of the radiance of a moment, in my opinion, involves that which we call music.
Suddenly, Coltrane solos become the “it” of music, when in fact, the records and the notated solos are the sonic footprints, the bone structure of what actually happened in the music.
I wanted a system that would be equal to the dynamics of curiosity. I wanted to have a music where I could have some fun.
There is the wonderful discipline of music and the ability of music to keep on opening up fresh prospects. I must say, what a discipline!