26 January 2011

Both performers on his week's Komodo Dragon Show are said to imbue their music, in some mystical way, with spiritual meaning. What if it sounds like random strumming and empty passagework? More discussion on emotion and meaning in music in the coming weeks.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

†1. Suite Sheykh Amiri
(A set of variations on the Sheykh Amiri melody, referring to an 18th century Kurdish mystic. "It is often sung at the beginning of a religious meeting, its function being to incite the devout to detach themselves from the thoughts and worries of this world, free themselves of all attachments and enter into a meditation on their true origins, the original homeland they've been separated from," meaning, I assume, the Beloved or the Divine.)

†2. Improvisation dans Bâbâ Jalili en quatre suivi de la Suite Zang-e shotori en seconde
(Several tunes are made to "talk, sing and laugh all at once in the most disconcertingly natural way.")

†3. Suite Âbedini, avec introduction Yâdegâri
(Music of "deep longing and nostalgia, a sign of the heart-rending feelings suffered because of the separation from the Loved One.")

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

4. S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté: Solo Violin Concerto E.57 (1925; rec. Berlin intermittently 14 June-22 Oct. 1934)
S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté - violin
Odeon, O-6973-76
(Description TBA.)

†5. Suite de Nakisâ et Barbâd
(A melody "weighted with nostalgia [and] longing.")

†Tracks 1-3 & 5 (rec. Tehran early 1970s)
Ostad Elahi - tanbur [long-necked lute] & voice, Hajj Amin Elahi - daf [frame drum]
Destinations: L'art du luth oriental tanbur
Le chant du monde, 744 1626.27

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

6. Suite de Qatâr (rec. 1970)
Ostad Elahi - tanbur
Cascade: L'art du luth oriental tanbûr
Le chant du monde, 2741150

19 January 2011

In The Hound of the Baskervilles Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes: "The more outre and grotesque an incident is the more carefully it deserves to be examined, and the very point which appears to complicate a case is, when duly considered and scientifically handled, the one which is most likely to elucidate it."

Let us apply Holmes's methodology to "the longest piano piece in existence" (Guinness Book of World Records, c. 1930): Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum, a 260-page work of finger-twisting virtuosity, lasting some 4½ hours. You can look at sample pages of the score here.

Sorabji: Visionary or charlatan? Me: Elucidator or pretentious pseudo-intellectual? What is the key? I will be up early to beat myself with peepal boughs.

7:00am - 12:00noon

1. Kaikhosru Sorabji: Opus Clavicembalisticum (1929–30)
John Ogdon - piano
Altarus Records, AIR-CD-9075

12 January 2011

Electroacoustic music from Iran, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 8:30am

Sote [Ata Ebtekar]: Dastgaah (2006)
Dielectric Records, n.n.
("Voices of ancient Persia" reflected in a distorting electronic mirror. Seeing this album described as "electro-ethnic" gave me pause, but it's far from the expected inane thumping. Sote's aesthetic reminds me a little of Morton Subotnick's synthesizer works. Listen to excerpts here.)

Set #2 - 8:30am - 10:00am

Today I have the pleasure of presenting winning works from the 2010 edition of Jeu de Temps / Times Play (JTTP), a competition for young and emerging sound artists from (or living in) Canada. For JTTP 2010, the host Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC) collaborated with the Australasian Computer Music Association (ACMA).

The top 5 works, as selected by the international jury, are (in order):

1. Charles Quevillon: Au Boute (2010)

2. Adam Basanta: a glass is not a glass (2009)

3. Émilie Payeur: Triptyque (2010)

4. Guillaume Campion: Quadriforis (2010)

5. Valérie Delaney: La cité de verre (2009)

Exceptionally for JTTP 2010 the jury also awarded an Honourable Mention for a videomusic work:

6. Pierre Paré-Blais: Spiralling (2010)

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

1. Nic McConaghy: Single Origin (2010)

2. Jack Hooker: Field Murmur (2010)

3. Jeremy Coubrough: The Spectre of The Delusion of the Fury (2010)

4. Blake Johnston: Submerge (2010)

5. Mark Oliveiro: In Maluga (2009)

05 January 2011

The first show of 2011. I have performed several experiments.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

Dastgâh-e Râstpanjgâh
(One of the rarer Persian modes: a major scale on F which suggests "thinking, concentration and enlightenment," says the Foundation for Iranian Studies.)

Dastgâh-e Mahur
(Mahur, at right, has the same interval structure as a major scale on C, but allows some chromatic pitches as the improvisation unfolds. The 3rd scale degree in the upper register is flat. Persian and Western Classical musics agree: Mahur/major scale "express[es] brighter emotions.")

Tracks 1-2 (rec. 2006)
Fakhri Malekpour - Persian-tuned piano
Fakhri Malekpour: Mashqe Ostad
Avaye Honar & Andisheh Institute of Culture and Art, n.n.
(Fakhri Malekpour is an Iranian woman pianist whose technique enables her "to play the piano which is a completely European instrument in a unique style that leaves an impression of a traditional Iranian instrument in the audience's mind.")

†3. Raga Desh
(Raga Desh, which sounds like a gapped major scale, also allows a flat 3rd degree in the upper register. I'm too much of an amateur to suggest that the ancestral Desh and Mahur rubbed up against each other in a kind of cultural exchange on the Silk Road.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

4. Dastgâh-e Mahur (rec. 1966?)
Ahmad Ebadi - setar
Classical Music of Iran: The Dastgah Systems
Smithsonian Folkways, CD SF 40039

5. Dastgâh-e Mahur (rec. 1973)
Faramarz Payver & Ensemble: Faramarz Payver - santur, Houshang Zarif - tar, Rahmatollah Badi'i - kemanche, Mohammed Esmai'li - tombak, Khatereh Parveneh - voice
Iran: Persian Classical Music
Elektra Nonesuch Explorer Series, 9 72060-2

6. Raga Desh (rec. 1996)
Snehasish Mozumder - mandolin, Subhem Chatterjee - tabla
Mandolin Dreams: Indian Mandolin & Tabla
Latitudes, LT 50605

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

†7. Raga Hemavati
(An "odd" melancholy raga, originally from the South, adopted by North Indian musicians. Scale: C D Eb F# G A Bb doesn't fit neatly into any theoretical models.)

†Tracks 3 & 7 (rec. 1990)
Amjad Ali Khan - sarod, Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari - tabla, Asawari Pawar - tanpura
Touch of Class
Audiorec Records, ACCD 1009

8. Dastgâh-e Humayoun (rec. 1994)
Hossein Alizâdeh - setar, Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Musique iranienne, improvisations
Buda Records, 92622-2
(Some Persian influence may be afoot. Humayoun shares a melodic contour with Hemavati. More research needs to be carried out to determine if this is causation or correlation.)