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.




Guillermo said...

91.9MB, one MP3 of the in-house recording (the applause at the beginning and end, and a better sample rate makes it heftier)


69.95 MB of one MP3, broadcast version

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. As a percussionist I've wanted to hear this. And 2 different recordings is a bonus!


continuo said...

The audience recording is pretty good and conveys the experience of attending the concert quite well, but the radio broadcast has more nuances, I find, and less distortion. As always, Gubaidulina surprises the listener as only a woman can do. Thanks for this extraordinary music, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous! What a talented composer. Thank you


Anonymous said...

You can watch the whole performance here:

It's excellent!

Ictus 75

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YiannisK said...

Excellent! The work is great, and that fabulous devil Dudamel!

David said...

My thanks also for this. I've never been a great fan of percussion (sorry!) but I have to say this is a rewarding listen!