Sunday, August 21, 2005

New music in the player today - Mostly modern! - Britten, Adams, Nyman, Part, Lehar, Offenbach

WOD couldn't let a mention of John Adams go by without paying tribute to what came before, and his contemporaries.
Most of the music will be NON-vocal, and "minimalist" in nature, although this isn't "one-key" himself Philip Glass. (who I LIKE, btw, but if another musical key bit him in the ass, he wouldn't know what to do with it)
Arvo Part - an Estonian monk who writes brilliant, quiet (VERY QUIET) introspective music.
1- Cantus in the memory of Benjamin Britten (VERY QUIET - turn up your speakers - the bells at the end are so worth it)
2 - Tabula Rasa - I first heard this on a college alternative station in the 1980's. It is such an amazing piece of music that it goes without description. But again, VERY quiet - it builds much like the "Bolero" does.

John Adams - probably the foremost opera composer in the US today, following a tradition of writing operas about modern subjects. "Nixon In China", anyone? This selection is from his Harmonium - Wild Nights. Enjoy.

Benjamin Britten - Can't play a Cantus about him without bringing the master himself along. His opera A Midsummer Night's Dream, while abbreviated, is a fairly solid interp. of Shakespeare. Oberon the fairy king is traditionally played as a "trouser" role, Brian Asawa countertenor sings the Fairy King. (one I used for auditions - to this day, I still consider it my best acted/sung audition piece) Here we listen to Oberon give Puck his fateful instructions in "Welcome, wanderer!"

Franz Lehar - why is the operetta king in here? Well, something vocal needed to find its way in here, and why NOT a frothy, fun duet from the waltzing operetta master? Wie ein Rosenknopz sung by Barbara Bonney and Bo Skovhus.

Even though Offenbach is from the 19 century and not a modernist by todays title, he really is the only other composer besides Verdi who could write sung-through pieces for multiple voices the way Mozart taught them all, Mozart still being the Grand Master of the technique. Act 2 of Les Contes D'Hoffmann (also known as the "Antonia" act) Oeser version, Jose VanDam and Neil Shicoff as Dr. Miracle and Hoffmann, and Kurt Rydl as Crespel.

Michael Nyman - yes, we ALL saw "The Piano" and loved it - but MN has been around for quite some time, mostly as house composer to filmmaker Peter Greenaway. This selection is from another Shakespeare piece, Greenaway's "Prospero's Books" a fairly lurid and not particularly well-done version with Sir John Gielgud as Prospero and MN providing musical accompaniment - this vocal selection is "The Masque", which closes out the soundtrack. Ute Lemper, Marie Angel, and Deborah Conway sing the goddesses.

The closing music every week on "WOD", whether you are online or listening live to my Tuesday Broadcast, is Wagner's Prelude to Act 3, Tristan und Isolde. Just you try and write something this moving - go on, that's an official double-dog dare.


Blogger Susie said...

Ah, got it! Thanks. I also needed to install new "plug-ins." (I hadn't even noticed the smell :o)

9:45 PM  

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