music clip of the day


Tag: Aki Takahashi

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.



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.

Tuesday, September 13th

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, if sleep leaves and doesn’t return, I’ll put one of these on repeat, softly.

Morton Feldman (1926-1987, MCOTD Hall of Fame), Piano and String Quartet (1985); Aki Takahashi and Kronos Quartet, 1993


John Luther Adams (1953-), The Farthest Place (2001), 2002



random sights

other day, Chicago (Columbus Park)



Tuesday, July 5th

All that holiday noise—BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!—leave you with a hangover?

Here’s the perfect antidote.

Morton Feldman (1926-1987, MCOTD Hall of Fame), Piano and String Quartet, 1985; Aki Takahashi and Kronos Quartet, 1993

(Taking a break—back in a while.)

Wednesday, November 25th

Morton Feldman (1926-1987), Palais de Mari (1986); Aki Takahashi, piano

Today Feldman enters the MCOTD Hall of Fame, joining saxophonists Von Freeman and Henry Threadgill, trumpeter Lester Bowie, poets John Berryman and William Bronk and Wislawa Szymborska, photographer Helen Levitt, and gospel singer Dorothy Love Coates.

Sunday, 2/19/12

the first voice Whitney heard

Emily “Cissy” Houston (born Emily Drinkard), singer, 1933-

The Drinkard Singers (Cissy Houston, lead vocals), “Lift Him Up,” live (TV broadcast), c. early 1960s



Live (TV broadcast), 1970

“Be My Baby” (P. Spector, J. Barry & E. Greenwich)


“I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” (B. Bacharach & H. David)


listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Ambrose Akinmusire, When the Heart Emerges Glistening (Blue Note)

• Johann Sebastian Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, Pierre Fournier, cello (Archiv Production)

• Johann Sebastian Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier, Glenn Gould, piano (Sony)

• Johann Sebastian Bach, Partitas Nos. 3, 4, 6, Jeremy Denk, piano (Azica)

• Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas Nos. 14 (“Moonlight”), 8 (“Pathetique”), 23 (“Appassionata”), Rudolf Serkin, piano (CBS)

• Alfred Cortot, The Master Pianist (EMI)

• Claude Debussy, Pour Le Piano, Etudes Books 1 & 2, Gordon Fergus-Thompson, piano (Musical Heritage Society)

• The Dirtbombs, Ultraglide In Black (In the Red Records)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, John Tilbury, piano (London Hall)

• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi (piano), Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)

• Mary Halvorson Quintet, Saturn Sings (Firehouse)

• Slim Harpo, The Best of Slim Harpo (Hip-O)

• Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, Krzysztof Penderecki; Kim Kashkashian (viola), Stuttgarter Kammerorchester (Dennis Russell Davies, cond.), Lachrymae (ECM)

• Steve Lehman Octet, Travail, Transformation, and Flow (Pi Recordings)

• Jimmie Lunceford, The Complete Jimmie Lunceford Decca Sessions (Mosaic)

• Guilliaume de Michaut, Motets, The Hilliard Ensemble (ECM)

• Paul Motian Trio (with Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell), Sound of Love (Winter & Winter)

• Mudd Up!, WFMU-FM (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)

• Pee Wee Russell, Swingin’ with Pee Wee (Prestige)

• Pharoah Sanders, Karma (GRP)

• Pharoah Sanders, Live (Evidence)

• Giacinto Scelsi, Natura Renovatur (ECM)

• Arnold Schoenberg, Piano Works, Peter Serkin, piano (Arcana)

• Sinner’s Crossroads, WFMU-FM (Kevin Nutt, gospel)

• Craig Taborn, Avenging Angel (ECM)

• Toru Takemitsu, Peter Serkin Plays the Music of Toru Takemitsu, Peter Serkin, piano (RCA/BMG)

• Anton Webern, Complete Music for String Quartet, Quartetto Italiano (Philips)

• Anton Webern, Works for String Quartet, Emerson Quartet (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Wild Flag, Wild Flag (Merge)

Sunday, 1/29/12

 joy, n. exultation of spirit; gladness, delight. E.g., Calvary Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, with John Legend singing “How I Got Over” (2011).



listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures, Vol. 1 (Sound Signature)

• Coldcut, 70 Minutes of Madness (Journeys by DJ)

• O.V. Wright, Wright Stuff (Hi UK)

• Bertha “Chippie” Hill, 1925-1929 (Document)

• Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

• The Fisk Jubilee Quartet, There Breathes A Hope (Archeophone)

•  This May Be The Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45 RPM 1957-1982 (Tompkins Square)

• Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, I Only Have Eyes For You (ECM)

• Chicago Underground Trio, Slon (Thrill Jockey)

• Charlie Christian, The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Sony)

• The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio: Vocal Classics, 1942-46 (Blue Note)

• Chicago Underground Trio, Slon (Thrill Jockey)

• Miles Davis, Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Prestige)

• Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey)

• Mahmoud Ahmed, Ethiopiques 19 (Buda Musique)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Julliard String Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 13 & 16 (Sony)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Solomon, Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 5 (EMI)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan cond., Symphony No. 7 (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Bela Bartok/Hungarian String Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 1-6 (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Bela Bartok/Takacs Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 5-6 (Hungaroton)

• Boulez Conducts Boulez (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez cond./Mitsuko Uchida, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Alban Berg (Philips)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Markus Hinterhauser, piano (Col Legno)

• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi, Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)

• Hawthorne String Quartet, Pavel Haas (String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3), Hans Krasa (String Quartet) (London)

• Pavel Haas Quartet, Leo Janacek (String Quartet No. 1), Pavel Haas (String Quartets Nos. 1 and 3) (Supraphon)

• Arvo Part, Litany (ECM)

• Arnold Schoenberg/LaSalle Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 3 and 4 (Brilliant Classics)

• Robert Schumann/Zehetmair Quartett, String Quartets Nos. 1 & 3 (ECM)

• Zehetmair Quartet, Bela Bartok (String Quartet No. 5), Paul Hindemith (String Quartet No. 4) (ECM)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

—Bach Festival
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)


Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Give the Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis, Web only)
Lamin’s Show (sui generis)

Sunday, 11/6/11

two takes

“Don’t sit around in a dead church and die!”

Take 1: Brother Anthony Wynn (Oasis Ministries, Riceville, Tennessee)


Take 2: Sensimo



listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures, Vol. 1 (Sound Signature)

• Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come On Back (Rounder)

• Rare & Collectible Fine Wine: 27 Soulful Ultra-Obscurities From the Cellars (WMFU-FM 2011 Premium; Mr. Fine Wine, Downtown Soulville)

• Cooking Cherries (WMFU-FM 2011 Premium; Terre T, The Cherry Blossom Clinic)

• Miles Davis, The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Prestige)

• Don Pullen Plays Monk (Why Not)

• Lucky 7s, Farragut (Lakefront Digital)

• Julius Hemphill, One Atmosphere (Tzadik)

• Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet, with WLS, trumpet; Anthony Davis, piano; Malachi Favors, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums (Tzakik)

• Goodbye, Babylon (Dust-to-Digital)

• Nikhil Banerjee, Raga Purabi Kaylan (Raga)

• Bela Bartok, String Quartets, Keller Quartet (Erato), Hungarian String Quartet (Deutsche Grammaphon), Takacs Quartet (Decca)

• Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 6, North German Radio Orchestra (Gunter Wand, conductor) (RCA Victor)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Markus Hinterhauser, piano (Col Legno [import])

• Morton Feldman, Three Voices, Joan La Barbara (New Albion)

• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi, Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

—Jo Jones Centennial Festival
—Thelonious Monk birthday broadcast
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)
Amazing Grace (various, gospel)
Rag Aur Taal (various, Indian)
Jazz Profiles (various, jazz)
Out to Lunch (various, jazz)


Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Give the Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis, Web only)
Daniel Blumin
Cherry Blossom Clinic (Terre T, rock, etc.)
Antique Phonograph Music Program (MAC, “78s and cylinders . . . played on actual period reproducing devices”)
HotRod (“Shamanic vibrational love frequencies for the infinite mind,” Web only)

• WHPK-FM (broadcasting from University of Chicago)

The Blues Excursion (Arkansas Red)

Saturday, 9/10/11

lucid, adj. suffused with light, luminous. E.g., Morton Feldman’s Piano and String Quartet.

Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet (1985)
Kronos Quartet with Aki Takahashi (piano)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In a world that keeps getting faster and noisier, Feldman offers a refuge.
Here time slows. Quietly.

More? Here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

Sunday, 8/21/11

Ever feel like, each day, you understand less and less?

Davis Sisters (with Jackie Verdell), “We’ll Understand It Better By and By,” live (TV broadcast), early 1960s

Vodpod videos no longer available.



reading table

So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum
in painted quiet and concentration
keeps pouring milk day after day
from the pitcher to the bowl
the World hasn’t earned
the world’s end.

—Wislawa Szymborska, “Vermeer”  (trans. Clare Cavanagh & Stanislaw Baranczak, Here [2010])


Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid (c. 1658)


Speaking of Szymborska, a charter member, like Von Freeman, of the recently announced MCOTD Hall of Fame (coincidentally, they were both born in 1923), here’s something I just came across:

I am a big admirer of her [Szymborska’s] work. I have read everything she has written, and I keep coming back to it. She is a very witty poet and she has greatly helped me to enjoy life. She exactly fits my definition of an artist. Who shouldn’t only have profound insight and a sharp mind but also remember that his obligation is to entertain the reader. And this is exactly what she does.

—Woody Allen, in the documentary Sometimes Life Is Bearable (2010)


listening room: (some of) what’s playing

Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What (Hear Music)

Shane MacGowan and the Popes, The Snake (ZTT [import])

Captain Beefheart & His Magic BandTrout Mask Replica (Reprise/Ada)

• The Best of Charlie Patton (Yazoo)

Charley PattonThe Voice of the Delta (Indigo)

• The Detroiters/The Golden Echoes, Old Time Religion (Specialty)

• The Spiritualaires of Hurtsboro, Alabama, Singing Songs of Praise (CaseQuarter)

Archie Shepp/Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio, Conversations (Delmark)

• Benny Goodman, The Complete Trios (Capitol)

Charlie Parker, The Complete Royal Roost Live Recordings on Savoy, Vol. 3 (Savoy/Columbia [import])

Charles Gayle, Repent (Knitting Factory)

Steve Lacy-Roswell Rudd Quartet, School Days (hat Art)

• Wadada Leo Smith & Jack DeJohnette, America (Tzadik)

Kenny Werner, No Beginning, No End (Half Note)

Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello/Jean-Guihen Queyras (Harmonia Mundi [import])

Alfred Schnittke, String Quartet No. 3, Piano Quintet, Piano Quartet/
Borodin String Quartet with Ludmilla Berlinsky (Virgin Classics)

Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet/Kronos Quartet with Aki Takahashi (Nonesuch)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh, piano (Sub Rosa) (available as a download from Amazon for 89¢)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)
Raag Aur Taal (Various, Indian music)

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)

Saturday, 1/16/10

If I were a piece of music (as Barbara Walters might put it), here’s the one I’d want to be (today, anyway): deceptively simple, continually (albeit subtly) changing, perpetually fresh.

Morton Feldman, Triadic Memories, excerpt (1981)/Aki Takahashi, piano

(Feldman’s late piano pieces, including this one, accompany more of my daily life than any other music. Among other things, they work wonders when sleep won’t come [I mean that as a compliment]: slip the CD into the bedside Bose player, turn the volume down, hit the repeat button, and drift.)



[Triadic Memories is] Feldman’s greatest piano piece, and thus one of the great piano works of the 20th century.—Kyle Gann


Some modernist composers such as Stockhausen want to embrace everything in their music. Others work by exclusion, ruthlessly paring their music down until only the essential core remains. The American composer Morton Feldman, who died in 1987 aged 61, was perhaps the most ruthless of all these great renouncers. He didn’t want lyricism or complication or any of the storm and stress and conflict that go with ‘expression.’ What he wanted was to ‘tint the air’ with gentle sounds, revealed in slowly changing patterns.—Ivan Hewitt


Even if you’re not up for discerning the grand construction in Feldman’s meditative, pared-down music, its medicinal value is so strong that, while I was recovering from surgery, it worked as well as Motrin—or the Mozart piano concertos I have used after a wisdom-teeth extraction. Think of what Feldman could do for hangovers.—David Patrick Stearns

%d bloggers like this: