Friday, October 16, 2009

From Paula at Sequenza21: "Ge Gan-ru's Fall of Baghdad (String Qt No.5) (2005) is at once a tribute to George Crumb’s Black Angels for electric string quartet (1970) and an expression of the composer’s own feelings about the war in Iraq. Like Crumb’s work before it, the music comprises three long sections divided into thirteen shorter ones. 'Hair-raising squeals' produced by 'applying pressure to the strings behind the bridge to create a scraping sound of indefinite pitch' open the work. In this quartet, Ge uses extended techniques neither as cultural relics nor as suggestions of ethereal spirits, as he has in other works. Instead, he uses his unique musical language to symbolize the devastation and despair associated with war. Ge employs microtonal inflections to suggest Middle Eastern music (which shares some of its idioms with the music of his native country China) and also makes use of glissandi and distorted sound to create "hellish" effects; playing col legno (striking the strings with the wooden part of the bow) both in front of and behind the bridge for the Caliph’s drum and using extreme high notes on low strings for "moaning" sounds." Hear a performance by Modern Works . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

György Ligeti was an adventurer in form and expression and a great visionary of contemporary music. His richly varied output takes a special position in its musical quality and uncompromising individuality. Ligeti moved far away from aesthetic trends and methods all his life. He was characterized by fresh and unorthodox ideas, any form of dogmatism was foreign to his nature, his entire oeuvre is marked by radical turning points. Admired and hugely influential in the profession, the sensual accessibility of his music has won the hearts of audiences everywheres ... hear him talk about his life and music - our current COMPOSER PORTRAIT.

Sarah Horick, a native of Charleston, SC, is currently a doctoral student in composition at Catholic University, having earned an M.M. in Music Composition and an M.A. in Music Theory from Florida State University. Her primary composition teachers have included Ladislav Kubik, Mark Wingate, Mark Kilstofte, and private study with Christopher Theofanidis. Horick’s works have been performed in the United States, Canada and Europe. Have a listen to a work by this up and coming composer, her Equipoise (2006) for flute and vibraphone - this week's PYTHEAS EARFUL.

Once Leos Janácek found his compositional voice (quite late in life by any standard) he explored musical territory uniquely his own. His Concertino for Piano (1925) is no exception. Here the piano is joined by a small ensemble of 2 violins, viola, clarinet, horn and bassoon, with the horn taking a prominent role in the first movement's musical conversation. Watch a wonderful performance by pianist Martha Argerich ... FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

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

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