Thursday, August 6, 2009

Composer Michel van der Aa employs the atonal idiom with absolute freedom, while the computer is a natural tool for him, not so much for composition but for the production of soundtracks, which constitute yet another instrument, as it were, and which enrich his musical language. See violinist Maaike Aarts perform his Memo (2003) for violin and portable cassette tape recorder ... this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEO.

According to composer Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, "The 365-day composition project We Are All Mozart (WAAM) was an idea I had had for years. I believed that productivity and excellence are not mutually exclusive, nor do they belong to the past alone. I believe that our ability to "be Mozart" (meaning a prolific composer) today is inhibited by lack of demand on our inherent productivity. In other words, the more we do, the better we get at it and the more new ideas we have. Humans are problem solvers, and for composers, it is the blank page that is to be solved. But just as important to me was to do something intense to keep nonpop-music visible and to inspire ensembles, listeners and other composers." Read more about We Are All Mozart and listen to some of the music composed during the 365-day project - it's this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC WEBSITE.

A composer who dabbled in the Dada movement, a Bohemian “gymnopédiste” of fin-de-siècle Montmartre, and a legendary dresser known as “The Velvet Gentleman,” Erik Satie cut a unique figure among early twentieth-century European composers. His spare, haunting melodies have inspired a wide range of musicians, from his contemporary Claude Debussy to The Velvet Underground's John Cale. According to guitarist Jonathan Stone, "His music is still relevant, because it was unique in its time and it was a departure at its time. In a way, to me, Satie creates a timelessness in much of his music. It's just as fresh now as it was a hundred years ago." Watch Chris Bannerman's dance piece inspired by Satie's Gnossienne No. 3 (1890) - our current DANSES PYTHEUSES.

In Principio (2003) is a weighty, yet spacious orchestral and choral setting of verses from the Gospel of John. Hear Arvo Pärt's spiritual - and timeless - musical setting ... this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

Explore, Listen and Enjoy!
Vinny Fuerst
Pytheas Center for Contemporary Music

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