Friday, January 08, 2021

At Slipped Disc Norman Lebrecht links to an excerpt from an Estonian composers "quasi Beatles" piano sonata, and takes some shots at Dave Molk in the same week

It’s a crafty, copyright-avoiding conconction by the Estonian composer Jaan Rääts who died last week, aged 88. ... So cool, Jaan.
Lebrecht links to just the second movement.  The whole sonata is so short, however, why not let’s just link to the whole thing? It's at most seven minutes of your time. 

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Ourkouzounov-Toryanse Tales film with read along score, one of my favorite of his works written for solo guitar

I admire Atanas Ourkouzounov's music; have said so from pretty much the beginning of this blog back in 2006; and this work is one of my favorite pieces, so it's a treat that there's a video of a performance with a read along score.  Toryanse Tales appeared on the album Autoportrait, for those of you who want to know which album this work appeared on.  To be clear, Autoportrait rather than Autoportrait II.

Matanya Ophee once warned in his lecture "Repertoire Issues" that, contrary to a popular belief within the (classical) guitar scene, there has never been a golden age of the guitar in ages past.  With that I agree.  It's too bad Ophee isn't still with us and I would venture that if there "is" a golden age of the guitar it's more likely we're living in it now than that it existed in the early 19th century, despite my respect for the legacies of Sor, Giuliani, Matiegka, and even Diabelli (Molitor I confess to being really on the fence about).

So I hope you enjoy Toryanse Tales.  If you're not already a classical guitarist I could say that what Atanas does is take guitar composition in directions that prog rock could go in if it was more distilled and organized than the pile-on-the-riffs-past-the-cognitive-bandwidth-of-the-listener approach that is the reason I generally can't stand the band Yes. Ourkouzounov's music is complex on the surface but he doesn't forget to have the underlying structures of his works guided by an elegantly simple set of forms.  

Also, if you haven't checked out Cycling Modes on the Naxos label give them a listen.  I do plan on discussing Ourkouzounov's five guitar sonatas down the road and the Kostas Tosidis recording is magnificent!

Sunday, January 03, 2021

crossing the threshold of 2020 to 2021--the deaths of Claude Bolling and Eugene Wright, some thoughts on jazz-classical synthesis during the Cold War

The French bandleader, pianist, composer and jazz-classical fusionist Claude Bolling died on December 29, 2020.

Claude Bolling, a French pianist, composer and bandleader who became one of the most successful jazz musicians in Europe and gained a devoted following across the Atlantic with his pleasing fusions of the jazz and classical traditions, died Dec. 29 in Garches, a suburb of Paris. He was 90.

A devotee since childhood of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and other eminences of American jazz, Mr. Bolling grew up listening to their music on the radio until World War II intervened. “Jazz was all but banned by the Nazis in my country,” he told the Hartford Courant. “So I got most of my jazz from 78 rpm recordings.”

Mr. Bolling said Ellington took him in “as part of his family” when they met in the 1960s, by which time the Frenchman had embarked on his career as a bandleader. Describing the effect of Mr. Bolling’s music, trumpeter Louis Armstrong was reputed to have declared that “my heart will never forget the sounds he made.”

Those sounds were not daring — Mr. Bolling generally hewed to traditional jazz — but they won him steady audiences in Europe and the United States for decades.

Saying that Bolling's sounds were not daring is both true in the sense that jazz had moved away from Ellington's baseline of style and that cool, free jazz and other styles have developed by the time Bolling had formalized his style.  But at another level it might also be true to say that Bolling's sound could be thought of as almost indistiguishable in some ways from Dave Brubeck.