Tag Archives: contemporary music

Steve Reich’s The ECM Recordings

It was with some misgivings that I undertook to review this collection of the music of Steve Reich, which includes Music for 18 Musicians (1976), Violin Phase (1967), Music for a Large Ensemble (1978), Octet (1979), and Tehillim (1981). It’s … Continue reading

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And Did Those Feet’s Forgetting the Shadows of History

The group And Did Those Feet was founded in 1992 by composer/performer Richard Ellin to showcase his own compositions. He was joined by vocalists Ina Williams, who has won many awards in singing contests in Wales and abroad, and Celia … Continue reading

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Arvo Pärt’s The Deer’s Cry

I first ran across the music of Arvo Pärt many years ago, in a coffee shop owned by a man whose taste in music was as eclectic as my own. It was the Passio, and I was intrigued enough that … Continue reading

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Arvo Pärt’s Passio

Arvo Pärt’s Passio was the first recording of his music that I owned. It may very well have been the first available in the U.S. For one entire summer it was my beach music — I tended to go to … Continue reading

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Daniel Lanois’ Goodbye to Language

Daniel Lanois’ name has become synonymous with sonic exploration. From his early electronic music collaborations with Brian Eno through his legendary production work with Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, U2 and more, to his own recordings, the Canadian-born musician has delved … Continue reading

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Frode Haltli’s Air

I discovered fairly recently that, when you get into the contemporary music of Northern Europe, “accordion music” is not at all what we think it’s going to be. Which leads me to this recently released collection by Norwegian accordionist Frode … Continue reading

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Corvus Corax’ The Best of Corvus Corax

The German pop scene has got to be the one to watch. I’ve run across albums from Nubian drummers and medieval electro-pop duos who are big in the Berlin club scene, and now I’m listening to Corvus Corax, a group … Continue reading

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Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst and Other Choral Works

Eric Whitacre is one of those contemporary composers whose background is as patchy as it is eclectic. He was thrown out of his high-school marching band, in which he played the trumpet, for being a troublemaker. As a teenager he … Continue reading

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John Luther Adams’ The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies

Two things about John Luther Adams: Like other composers of his generation his path to composition followed some surprising twists — in his case, from rock bands to Frank Zappa to Edgard Varèse to Morton Feldman. Second, he lives in … Continue reading

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Alfred Schnittke: Symphony No. 9/ Alexander Raskatov: Nunc dimittis

To Soviet composer Alfred Schnittke, music provided continuity, a connection with history and, in fact, to all of life. This is, perhaps, not so surprising: his musical education took place largely in post-War Vienna, and if anything typifies the life … Continue reading

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Miranda Cuckson, Blair McMillen: Bartók, Lutosławski, Schnittke

If I had to choose one word to describe the music of Central and Eastern Europe in the years after World War II, it would be “restless.” This restlessness actually predates the War, having its roots in the Vienna of … Continue reading

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Danish String Quartet’s Adès / Abrahamsen / Nørgård

I doubt that most people think of reviewing as a learning experience – after all, we’re supposed to know this stuff, right? Well, yes and no. Take music, for example: I’ve lived with music all my life, all kinds of … Continue reading

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Béla Bartók: Bartók: Solo Piano Works

Vol. I: Seven Sketches (Sz 44), Sonata 1926 (Sz 80), Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs and Dances (Sz 71), Four Dirges (Sz 45), Allegro Barbaro (Sz 49) Vol. II: Suite (Sz 62), For Children (42 Hungarian Folk Songs) (Sz 42), Three … Continue reading

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Dead Can Dance’s Wake: The Best of Dead Can Dance

I was first introduced to the music of Dead Can Dance a number of years ago, when cassette tapes were state of the art. (Yes, that many years ago.) With my interest in offbeat popular music and music from other … Continue reading

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Philip Glass and Lauri Otonkoski’s A Madrigal Opera/Cameo — A Symphonic Poem

When he left serial minimalism behind in the mid-1970s, Philip Glass moved on to become one of the foremost composers for the theater of the late twentieth century. By “theater” I mean performing arts in general — opera, ballet, the … Continue reading

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