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Category: musical thoughts

Wednesday, March 16th

sounds of Ukraine

Valentin Silvestrov (1937-), Symphony No. 1 (1963-74); National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (Volodymyr Sirenko, cond.), Kyiv (Ukraine), 1998

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

Music is still song, even if one cannot literally sing it: it is not a philosophy, not a world-view. It is, above all, a chant, a song the world sings about itself, it is the musical testimony to life.

Valentin Silvestrov

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random sights

yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.

Thursday, December 2nd

never enough

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, excerpt (third movt.); Friedrich Gulda (1930-2000), live, Japan, 1993

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

[M]usic is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.

—Ludwig van Beethoven (J. W. N. Sullivan, Beethoven: His Spiritual Development, p. 3 [1927])

Wednesday, January 20th

timeless

Bud Powell (1924-1966, piano) with Curly (aka Curley) Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums), “Un Poco Loco” (B. Powell), 1951

 

In the late 1980s, the renowned literary and cultural critic Harold Bloom included “Un Poco Loco” in his list of the most “sublime” works of twentieth-century American art (from his introduction to Modern Critical Interpretations: Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow).

—Wikipedia

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random sights

other day, Oak Park, Ill.

Monday, November 23rd

alone

What better way to begin the week?

Hilary Hahn (violin), live (friend’s empty place), 11/8/20: W.A. Mozart (1756-1791), Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major (K. 219, “Turkish”) and New Cadenzas (H. Hahn)

 

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

Mozart was a kind of idol to me—this rapturous singing . . . that’s always on the edge of sadness and melancholy and disappointment and heartbreak, but always ready for an outburst of the most delicious music.

—Novelist Saul Bellow (1915-2005)

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random sights

other day, Oak Park, Ill.

Monday, September 28th

timeless

Miles Davis Quintet (MD, 1926-1991, trumpet; Wayne Shorter, 1933-, tenor saxophone; Herbie Hancock, 1940-, piano; Ron Carter,  1937-, bass; Tony Williams, 1945-1997, drums) , live, Italy (Milan), 1964

 

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

Herbie Hancock: “the best thing that Miles ever said to me.”

 

*****

random sights

other day, Oak Park, Ill.

Saturday, April 18th

never enough

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Piano sonata K.281, 0:00; Variations on “Salve tu, Domine” K.398, 21:14; Variations on “Unser dummer Pöbel meint” K.455, 29:51; Fantasy K.397, 44:27; Piano sonata K.310, 50:52), Robert Schumann (Arabeske op.18, 1:14:05; Toccata op.7, 1:21:05); Emil Gilels (1916-1985, piano), live, Moscow, 1970

 

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

Mozart was a kind of idol to me—this rapturous singing . . . that’s always on the edge of sadness and melancholy and disappointment and heartbreak, but always ready for an outburst of the most delicious music.

—Novelist Saul Bellow1915-2005

*****

random sights

yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.

Wednesday, February 19th

sounds of New York

Herbie Nichols Trio (HN, 1919-1963, piano; Al McKibbon, bass; Art Blakey, drums), “The Third World” (H. Nichols), 1955

 

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lagniappe

random sights

other morning, Oak Park, Ill.

*****

musical thoughts

Thank you all for listening. Your open ears, open minds, and open hearts are essential to resisting the gathering darkness of our times.

—composer John Luther Adams, 2/18/20 email

Wednesday, January 29th

what’s new

Max Richter (1966-, compositions, piano, keyboard) with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (Clarice Jensen, cello & artistic director; Ben Russell, violin; Laura Lutzke, violin; Isabel Hagen, viola; Claire Bryant, cello), “On the Nature of Daylight,” “Vladimir’s Blues,” “Infra 5,” live, Washington, D.C., 1/22/20

 

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

I’m very interested in the idea of a piece of music being a place to think.

—Max Richter

*****

random sights

yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.

Saturday, December 21st

never enough

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), String Quartet No. 13, excerpt (Mvt. V, Cavatina), 1826; Guarneri Quartet

 

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

During a fraught 17-day stay in the hospital because of post-surgical infections 10 years ago, Beethoven’s Cavatina furnished the only moments during which I was released from suffering.

—Susan Gubar, “When Music Is the Best Medicine,” New York Times, 9/26/19

*****

random sights

yesterday, Chicago

Thursday, August 22nd

MCOTD Hall of Fame

Morton Feldman (1926-1987, MCOTD Hall of Fame), For Christian Wolff (1986); Eberhard Blum (flute), Nils Vigland (piano, celesta), 1992

 

It can be hard to recall, after an hour or two, what the world sounded like before this began.

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lagniappe

listening room

Clear, open, luminous: pianist Aki Takahashi’s recently released recording of For Bunita Marcus (1985), available on Spotify, is one of the finest renderings of Feldman’s unique sound-world that I’ve ever heard.

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