Friday, November 19, 2010

Gubaidulina's Glorious Percussion, Berlin Phil under Dudamel. Live in-house/broadcast 2009

Absolutely well named. Drummers, strap it on.

Sofia Gubaidulina
Glorious Percussion

Berliner Philharmoniker
Glorious Percussion Ensemble (Anders Haag, Robyn Schulkowsky, Anders Loguin, Mika Takehara & Eirik Raude)
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

Two independent sources of the same event
(1) in-house audience member's recording and (2) live broadcast recording of Musikfest Berlin 09

September 17, 2009
Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin, DE

I prefer, as usual, the bootleg from the seat in the audience. I feel this music especially benefits from this perspective, which is near enough to make out a depth of soundstage that is more detailed than the broadcast version. Maybe the compression to the radio signal does me in, either way me dispiace.
What pleases me so is just the adventure this whole thing takes you on. It lets an unforced myriad of possibilities flow, all based on beating things to get them to make sound. Make no mistake, beat things the 5 soloists do. Sometimes you feel it was almost too hard, then letting the items ring if they can- the air is often rife with delicious overtones, enough to make the most fervent Arvo Part freak drool.

The music never even approaches roteland or unfocussedstan. I am not faint praise-damning, it's just that we are dealing with a new piece of music and there are no boring or obtuse parts! Despite all the recent compositions out there that also share these gifts, this one lets everything happen with an added feel of inevitability as opposed to being pushed forth. Some passages flit way past even the most cynical expectations, like the buildup and release at 23 minutes. It is joy.

And I will add this completely-unnecessary-but-oh-so-gratifying observation:
These visceral, accessible but unflinching sounds were composed this century, but a very much living composer, who is female and is kicking everyone's butt.

Thanks to Messrs. Anonymous for the in-house recording, Thank you Thank You.

Here's a great article chronicling the September 18th performance in Berlin

which includes this passage about the music:

"...There are allusions to Jazz, marching bands, classical development and all but unfiltered episodes of pure sound. Frictions between primitive, playful, primordial noises and equally refined and complex textures. Tensions between agitated sequences and almost static passages. Nuances between almost complete silence and furious climactic outbursts of condensed power. „Glorious Percussion“ is the result of a philosophic quest: Gubaidulina has gone back to the origins of music, virtually traveling in time to the point where it all began. To her, the drum is the seed. She is not interested in analysing its sonic potential, even though there is a naive exploratory zest behind some of the events and techniques (such as Loguin throwing a shaker in the air and catching it full-flight). ..."

As Ictus 75 points out, "You can watch the whole performance here:"
and/or download the audio mp3's from the comments section below, as usual.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bruckner 6th, Horenstein/LSO 1963 broadcast

*This is arguably a better sounding recording than the one available elsewhere*

Bruckner, Anton
Symphony No.6

London Symphony Orchestra
Jascha Horenstein, conductor

live broadcast
November 21, 1963 [please see information below, concerning date]

This is a bit of housekeeping, as this recording was contributed by State Worker GP49 by being posted to the comments section- Thank you GP for this and so many other treasured performances! It lay there in comments limbo for far too long, and so it has it's own post now as it is much deserving of the attention. Again, I must disclose that this is a recording of a night which is available elsewhere but never in this fine a quality of sound.

I just listened to the adagio for the umpteenth time with my infant son, who is staring placidly off into the wild blue yonder. We both were, really. Then the scherzo arrives with it's swooping brass (hints of portamento?), with the satisfying mash of the strident sections. It all brings to mind Billie Holiday's intoning a few words about how, "... the tunes I request aren't always the best, but the ones where the trumpets blare!"

Interesting to note, this symphony was premiered by the Wiener Philharmoniker under Gustav Mahler's baton.

The contributor advises us that, "There is some issue about the orchestra and date, but it has been confirmed that the orchestra is the LSO, not the LPO as some have said; and that the 1964 date often attributed is the BBC broadcast date, not the performance date. The remaining dispute is whether this is from a concert on Nov. 21, 1963 or Nov. 21, 1961. Horenstein's assistant Joel Lazar could not help, but he was only with the conductor from 1970 on.

Included in this download is a bonus spoken-word track, by composer Robert Simpson in 1973 in honor of Jascha Horenstein after his death that year.

Good-sounding mono; four movements plus the Simpson track: five FLACs"

GP posted more about this recording (which certainly deserves a more prominent position in the public eye) :
"...[GP49's] friend ...generously provided the original, dubbed from cassette tape. It's been edited and "freshened"; most dropouts and extraneous noises, some of which sounded like the microphone got bumped, have been repaired or at least ameliorated. In addition, the original sounded like some kind of dynamic range expander had been switched ON during the first minutes of the first movement, then was shut off resulting in an abrupt change in volume. That had to be addressed, so that the "join" would not be audibly evident..."

Great fun for all.