Summer’s coming to a close, and the next round of Brooklyn Rail listings won’t be up for a while. So here’s some things you might want to catch between now and Labor Day:
- August 24, Cornelia Street Cafe: Dave Ullmann’ release show for his new disc Corduroy. An interesting and groovy jazz concept album, coming out of Ullmmann’s fascination with 70s TV theme songs. The disc is out August 267, and there’s a follow up show on August 28 at Barbès. Just don’t expect the Bronx to be burning.
- August 25, Glasslands: Opal Onyx release show. Another release show, this one for Delta Sands, the debut of band with an evocative mix of folk underpinnings and swaths of electronics and touches of metal. Entrancing music at home that promises to catch fire live.
- September 2 – 7: John Zorn at the Village Vanguard. Zorn’s composing has been a heavy, and welcome presence on the music scene the last couple of years, and now here’s the ideal chance to hear him playing, and leading bands. Which, in case you might have forgotten, he’s fantastic doing.
- September 2 – 7: Karl Berger residency at The Stone, followed by Evan Parker starting September 9. At Zorn’s own performance space, two of the finest improvising musicians of the last fifty years.
- September 5: Avant Media opens their new season with John Cage’s magnum opus Song Books at Wild Project.
Looking up from the endless chill and gloom of this past winter, I see that it’s been four weeks since I last posted here. Mea culpa.
I had been using weekly playlists as a shorthand way of producing implicit reviews, but even those fell by the wayside under an unexpected rush of writing assignments and adjusting to a new editorial deadline at the Brooklyn Rail. Still, the ears were open, and I’ve been able to put together a best-of-the-season list, the top new releases (or pending spring releases), that hit my stereo or computer from December 21 of last year to this past March 21 (items in bold are the best of each unranked category)
####Hors des categories####
- SONAR, Static Motion — This is my favorite release of the entire season
- Doug Weiselman, From Water
- Douglas Detrick, Bright and Rushing World
- PRISM Saxophone Quartet, The Singing Gobi Desert
- Colin Edwin & Lorenzo Feliciati, Twinscapes
- The Young Mothers, a mothers work is never done
- Erik Friedlander, Ikue Morie, Sylvie Courvoisier, Claws and Wings
- The Dickens Campaign: Oh Lovely Appearance
- Steve Sheehan, Hang With You
- Adrian Raso & Fanfare Criocarlia, Devil’s Tale
- Gang Wizard, Important Picnic
- Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Thomas Fujiwara, Thumbscrew
- Miles Davis, Miles at the Fillmore: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3
- Sara Serpa & Andre Matos, Primavera
- Chicago Underground Duo, Locus
- Ken Aldcroft’s Convergence Ensemble, Saskatoon — and while you’re there, Reflections is fine as well
- Ben Flocks, Battle Mountain
- Max Johnson Trio, The Invisible Trio
- Matt Wilson Quartet & John Medeski, Gathering Call
- Matt Bauder & The Day in Pictures, Nightshades
- Nicky Shirire, Space and Time
- Kris Davis Trio, Waiting For You to Grow
- Ton Trio II, On and On
- Frank Lacy and the Smalls Legacy Band, Live at Smalls
- Kulhammar/Aalberg/Zetterberg, Basement Sessions Vol. 2
- Allen Lowe, Mulatto Radio: Field Recordings 1 – 4
####Classical Pre-WWII Tradition####
* C.P.E. Bach Edition
* Capella Amsterdam, Estonian Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Caroly Sampson, Poulenc: Stabat Mater
* Ensemble Resonanz, Jean-Guihen Queyras,Berg: Lyrische Suite
* Jerusalem Quartet: Smetana & Janacek: String Quartets
* Kristian Bezuidenhout, Mozart: Keyboard Music Vols. 5 & 6
* Mattias Goerne & Helmut Deutsch, Schubert: Wanderers Nachtlied
* Simone Dinnerstein, Bach: Inventions & Sinfonias
* Nils Bultmann, Troubadour Blue
* Orli Shaham, American Grace: Piano Music by Steven Mackey and John Adams
* Michael Hersch, images from a closed ward
* LA Opera, James Conlon, Franz Schreker: Die Gezeichneten
* Ursula Oppens/Robert Levin, Bernard Rands: Piano Music 1960 – 2000*
* Leif Ove Andsnes, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, The Beethoven Journey: Piano Concertos 2 & 4
####Classical Post-WWII Tradition####
* Ten Holt: Canto Ostinato XL
* David T. Little, Haunt of the Last Nightfall
* JACK Quartet, Helmut Lachenmann, Complete String Quartets
* Rumori all Rotonda: Cage, Feldman, Hidalgo, La Rosa, Marchetti
* Matthew Barnson, Sibyl Tones
* Jovita Zahl, John Cage, The Works for Piano 9
* John Zorn, The Alchemist
* Bruno Maderna, Music in Two Dimensions: The Works With Flute
* Keeril Makan, Afterglow
* Aleck Karis, Webern, Wolpe & Feldman
Not all the thoughts and thousands (thousands?) of words go here, of course:
- The latest issue of The Brooklyn Rail has my concluding article on the 30th BAM Next Wave Festival, with concerts of music from Michael Gordon and David Lang.
- I wrote an article on the great, expansive Beyond Cage Festival this past fall, and you can read it in the original Czech if you order the new issue of His Voice magazine, or wait for it on the web, where I will believe it will be eventually posted by the publisher.
- The El Intruso 2012 Critic’s Poll is out, you can see the results here: my votes are buried in their somewhere, but I have no complaints about the final results. Everybody wins!
Twenty years ago, Petr Kotik planned a concert to celebrate the music of John Cage that became a memorial. The feature work was Atlas Eclipticalis, one of the series of wonderful works Cage made from star charts. The performance was enough to wake up a certain prominent critic to the possibilities and joys of not only the twentieth century avant-garde but to the particular, rare and extraordinary genius of Cage. Since then, Kotik and his Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble has gone on to make three recordings of the work, the most recent a digital download available via Bandcamp, and these are not only the three finest recordings of Atlas but some of the very finest recordings of Cage’s music ever made.
This coming Monday, Kotik is reprising Atlas as the opening concert of his Beyond Cage festival, the ne plus ultra of Cage tribute events in this, the centennial of his birth. The festival includes music of Cage’s associates and younger composers who have grown up in a world that knows his work, but still struggles to incorporate his ideas and methods. It is literally packed with once-in-a-lifetime details, things that if you miss you will most likely never have the chance to experience again:
- October 30 – a live realization of “Imaginary Landscape No. 1” via the original means of using sine wave test tone LPs on turntables, and the first United States performance of the staged Infinito nero, a brilliant chamber opera by Salvatore Sciarrino that is one of Kotik’s specialties.
- November 2 – The entirety of Kotik’s mesmerizing, powerful Many Many Women, a musical setting of Gertrude Stein
- November 5 – Morton Feldman: Major Orchestral Works, including Flute and Orchestra and Violin and Orchestra, which have never been heard in concert in the United States before, amazingly. Kotik is importing the Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava for this, and they have had many weeks of rehearsal already, so you can expect to hear Feldman in a way that you’ve never before known.
There are also panel discussions, intellectual explorations, chamber music concerts. And there are still tickets available for everything, at reasonable prices (festival passes start at $50 for eight concerts), including Atlas, this Monday, October 22. Kotik is performing it in conjunction with Winter Music, which is common, but this will be the first complete performance of the two together — the first. Ursula Oppens and Joe Kubera will be at pianos at each end of the stage, with eighty-six musicians between them. And if that doesn’t sell it to you, Cage is paired with one of Christian Marclay’s rare large-scale pieces, Shuffle. Like music itself, this will slip through your fingers before you even know it’s gone, don’t miss the chance to hear it pass by.
More reading: Cage at 100 in The Brooklyn Rail.