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Thread: Thinking Plague

  1. #201
    chalkpie
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    I don't think I am THE man! Pretty sure I'm not. har...

    Well, you're not THE woman, so you're the man by default.



    No sh_t! Have you heard V-W's Sinfonia Antartica (#7)? Really beautiful and eerie. If you know the story of Scott's expedition to the south pole, then it's particularly poignant. As for Britten, let re-iterate for all, "Sinfonia da Requiem"!!! And the Four Sea Interludes (esp. the Passacaglia!), Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto, Cello Symphony and Variations of a Theme of Frank Bridge!! All wonderful. I even like some Edward Elgar! Nimrod from Enigma Variations is beautiful, as is his Elegy. Ever heard Malcolm Arnold?

    Oh yes sir. I own three complete RVW symphony cycles - Haitink, Boult II (EMI), and Handley. I also have a scattering of other recordings, like the RVW "Antartica" on Naxos which is STUNNING. The organ on that recording is unbelievable. I couldn't imagine hearing that recording on full range speakers, but even on my B&W' 602's is sounds incredible. One of the finest engineered classical symphonic recording I own, period. Must hear. Britten is much newer to me, and I am giddy with the thought of exploring his soundworld. Yes, love the Four Sea Interludes and the Frank Bridge piece is also wonderful. Arnold? I have heard snippets but don't any proper discs. Any recs?



    I'd call him 'lyrical', and certainly 'romantic', or "neo"? His Fantasia on the theme of Tallis is his iconic opus, imho. The 2nd and 3rd movements from the London Symphony are pretty great.

    Yes...I was actually referring to Britten, who seems to take the tonality further than RVW.



    You know I haven't listened to Inscape or Connotations for years! Doing so now via YT. Inscape....great! I had a record of these as a teenager, and didn't 'get' them then, of course. As for his symphonies, love the Organ Symphony and the Short Symphony, my fave symph of his. As a teenager I was thoroughly infatuated with the 3rd, but grew tired of it over time. I still like certain passages a lot. My current favorite is Music for a Great City (based on a film score). Hmmm, Inscape is kicking my butt!

    Short Symph is also my favorite of the three! I love the groove in 7 in the final movement - its so prog! Inscape is certainly fantastic and I have shocked folks playing this for them but not telling who it is until after its done.



    Lotta good it'll do THERE! I heard Billy the Kid as a small child and fell in love with it. I still pop it in occasionally. There is something so quintessential about it.... A great thing for "white-key" progheads to delve into, to see how a master dealt subtly but brilliantly with bi-tonality, odd and poly-meters, etc., while keeping it very accessible.

    Right on. I pretty much love all Copland, from all periods. Billy the Kid is super. Music for the Theater is also an old favorite of mine, as is El Salon Mexico. Lenny destroyed that piece (in a good way!).



    It embarrasses me to I confess that I've never been bitten by his stuff. I've heard lots, and know the 2nd symphony pretty well. I been dazzled by some of the quarter tone stuff.... But I've never had that 'emotional' bonding with his music. I'll keep trying.

    Just say the word and I can throw a few Ives compilations together for you. Ives truly opened my ears in a way that I think no other music has - its hard to place into words quite honestly. Keep spinning the Concord, especially Hamelin if you can.



    Let me RE-iterate: Schuman! And while we're at it, Lenny Bernstein's Symphonies, esp. Age of Anxiety, and his 'Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront" is excellent. As far as the best mostly-tonal, "neo-romantic" American? I say Sam Barber!

    Love the Schumanator - not on your level but his picture is in my office at school! He is next to Stockhausen and Nono



    I'm listening to that now..... pretty great! This will take many listens. Thanks, 'brah'.




    Regarding a chamber or percussion ensemble, I might. The biggest problem for me would be to get it rehearsed and performed by... someone....besides students, say. Then how does one get it disseminated'... Soundcloud? I actually wrote a little 'ditty' for a sort of woodwind quintet back in 1990 when I took a Finale class. It's maybe 45 seconds long! But I like it.

    I hear that. Easier to get things done in a studio in many ways right?

    As for an all sequenced/sampled album, I have certainly thought about this, but I haven't wanted to spend the required time badly enough to take away from my TP writings....not yet. I don't think my current rig is up to snuff, sonically, and I'd need some learning curve time on some softwares. I use Finale, but am not very adept at sonic/synth or sampling software.
    Last edited by chalkpie; 06-05-2014 at 12:33 PM.

  2. #202
    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    Wow! Well, you've got a lot of wonderful catching up to do, then!
    I do indeed. It's become easier now that I subscribe to a streaming service. It's an odd coincidence that I happen to have been listening rather intensively to Shostakovich when I came across this thread. By the way, I gave a listen to Schuman's 6th Symphony last night, and found it quite wonderful--I will definitely be exploring more.

    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    Dissertation?! On what, pray tell?
    Nothing musical, sorry to say--I'm an art historian. My dissertation involved a group of texts on aesthetics by Kant, Heidegger, and Derrida, which I related to some contemporary debates about the limits and possibilities of art history as a discipline (could be a great topic for an avant-prog concept album, eh?)

    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    Might we surmise that this is not fully coincidental?
    Well, it may be that there are no coincidences, but I actually believe I would have loved TP even if I had heard it initially as a teen--it is right up my alley, and the fact that it features vocals fairly prominently would have been even more of a plus for me back then. It's funny how much issues of simple access and exposure can determine the paths we take (or don't). Around the time of that Cuneiform sampler, I still relied on finding CDs in stores (and Boston was relatively close at the time, so such a thing wasn't inconceivable), and I don't think I ever came across TP, even among stores that had some Cuneiform albums.

    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    Yay! Amazing to learn that all that blathering actually garnered a new 'convert(s)'!
    It was some pretty amazing "blathering!" It's rare that the people whose music we listen to are willing to share so much about it with us. In fact, I'm wondering if that thread is archived, as I wouldn't mind revisiting it now that I've actually heard much of the music discussed.

    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    I would not say that other composers are NOT bigger influences than DSCH (pardon the double negative). I've been listening hard to 20th century stuff for well over 40 years. Early on I love Le Sacre, which I still think is unmatched as a beacon for the century. And I love Copland's more dissonant stuff, the orchestral music of Britten (which is very bi- or poly-tonal), certain Bartok works, esp. Music for Strings, Perc., etc. I even got into Wourinen's electronic piece "Time's Encomium, as well as Crumb's Macrocosmos, Takemitsu and Mayuzumi (who's Mandala Symphony is a great fave)... But, yes, Schuman is probably my biggest fave, and the one composer I look to most for harmonic inspiration. Check out his 9th Symphony for "edgy". It's really far beyond that, but takes many listens to really 'hear'.
    Believe it or not, I still haven't heard Copland's dissonant stuff, though I knew he made some (I was never especially taken with his more populist stuff). I will seek it out. I definitely enjoy all the other composers you mentioned, except for Mayuzumi, which is a new name for me. As I said, I just heard Schuman for the first time last night, and was impressed--I will look for his Ninth!

    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    You might be surprised to know that I have tended, with a lot of TP music, to take a less "experimental" approach than I might have. As I've said before (somewhere), I like to straddle the edge between tonal and atonal, with fluctuations farther out or in. I've been trying to find a way to keep the music emotive and provocative without being either too saccharin or inscrutably abstract. Of course, there are various spots where the "huh?" factor is much higher......like in 'I Cannot Fly' starting at about 5:30, or at the opening of 'Blown Apart', as we discussed above - an intentional obfuscation of the actual meter...just to mess with people (I think it backfired in that folks never realized it is NOT a weird 'shuffle', but is, in stead, in 5/8 with syncopated accents). And the "Marching as to War" piano bits on AHoM are admittedly pretty odd. Then there's the 2nd section of Dead Silence starting at 2:13, also discussed above. The "instrumental break" in Maelstrom at 1:12. Pretty whacky, I suppose.

    But all these are "places" along the path of each piece, to provide scope and contour, interest, etc. to the music. I like to incorporate head-scratching moments, that eventually sound "right". But, that said, what I strive for most is to impact the listener at an emotional level, but without insulting them with trite formulaic ideas....again, walking along the frontier between inside and outside. I could write whole CDs of all completely dissonant and fractured sounding music. Besides being very difficult for us to execute, I think it would not be as satisfying or memorable. I prefer to play around with that sort of thing, as the music leads me, within the larger musical context. Of course, that could change......
    Thanks for the insight into your compositional goals! For what it's worth, I think you have succeeded brilliantly at achieving that exact balance of challenge and accessibility. Although I enjoy some music that occupies the extreme ends of those categories (say, Cecil Taylor and Crowded House), most of what I enjoy the most tends to balance on that precipice, to one degree or the other. I would be very disappointed indeed if you were to go in a completely dissonant/fractured direction, if for no other reason than such approaches can be found pretty easily in the realms of avant jazz or Darmstadt-school composition, but something like Thinking Plague is truly unique, IMO, even within the relatively small realm of avant-prog.

  3. #203
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post

    [COLOR="#0000CD"]Oh yes sir. I own three complete RVW symphony cycles - Haitink, Boult II (EMI), and Handley. I also have a scattering of other recordings, like the RVW "Antartica" on Naxos which is STUNNING. The organ on that recording is unbelievable.
    I love that passage!

    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I couldn't imagine hearing that recording on full range speakers, but even on my B&W' 602's is sounds incredible. One of the finest engineered classical symphonic recording I own, period. Must hear.
    I will look for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Short Symph is also my favorite of the three! I love the groove in 7 in the final movement - its so prog!
    You mean the 'blam-_-ta-ta-ta-ta-_, blam-_-ta-ta-ta-ta-_'....? Yes, "bitchin'". Or do you mean the major scale thing that goes down from the 2nd, then back up to the 7th? Also great. My fave part, though, is the beginning of that, the 3rd, movement, esp. about 30 second in. All that great stuff in five!

    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Just say the word and I can throw a few Ives compilations together for you. Ives truly opened my ears in a way that I think no other music has - its hard to place into words quite honestly. Keep spinning the Concord, especially Hamelin if you can.
    Mighty generous. But no need for all that. You can just suggest me pieces an performances, maybe in order of 'importance'?, and I can sang them.

    [QUOTE=chalkpie;262610] Love the Schumanator - not on your level but his picture is in my office at school! He is next to Stockhausen and Nono

    Well.....an apple and 2 oranges! Schuman was never into the "Darmstadt school", nor "avant garde" per sé. He believed in human 'harmonization', not relying os 'systems', but he took this to where it often sounds 12 tone or serialism. But with enough hearings it reveal the Schumanesque logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    (I said): "Regarding a chamber or percussion ensemble, I might. The biggest problem for me would be to get it rehearsed and performed by... someone....besides students, say. Then how does one get it disseminated'... Soundcloud? I actually wrote a little 'ditty' for a sort of woodwind quintet back in 1990 when I took a Finale class. It's maybe 45 seconds long! But I like it."

    I hear that. Easier to get things done in a studio in many ways right?
    Exo-freakin-xactly. And much easier to write for a "band" of known, willing players.

  4. #204
    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    I do indeed. It's become easier now that I subscribe to a streaming service. It's an odd coincidence that I happen to have been listening rather intensively to Shostakovich when I came across this thread. By the way, I gave a listen to Schuman's 6th Symphony last night, and found it quite wonderful--I will definitely be exploring more.
    Listen to it until you can hum along! Well....almost! Seriously, it requires a number of hearings to get the themes in your head, and you can keep digging until you realize the whole thing is built from about 3 or 4 related motifs. But more importantly, there are so many passages that are just exquisitely powerful, expressive....

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    Nothing musical, sorry to say--I'm an art historian.
    Nothing to scoff at!

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    My dissertation involved a group of texts on aesthetics by Kant, Heidegger, and Derrida, which I related to some contemporary debates about the limits and possibilities of art history as a discipline (could be a great topic for an avant-prog concept album, eh?)
    Well...uh...um.... hehehhh I would be very interested to know what current philosophers of aesthetics think about the tonality / atonality divide....

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    Well, it may be that there are no coincidences, but I actually believe I would have loved TP even if I had heard it initially as a teen--it is right up my alley, and the fact that it features vocals fairly prominently would have been even more of a plus for me back then. It's funny how much issues of simple access and exposure can determine the paths we take (or don't).
    By "access" you mean the voice? That's kind of exactly how I look at using a vocalist, particularly a woman vocalist, in TP music! It offers (to some at least) a doorway into what initially may sound like instrumental chaos. And I like an unpretentious, sometimes even innocent-sounding voice, as a foil, as it were, to all the instrumental jousting and 'complexification'.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    Around the time of that Cuneiform sampler, I still relied on finding CDs in stores (and Boston was relatively close at the time, so such a thing wasn't inconceivable), and I don't think I ever came across TP, even among stores that had some Cuneiform albums.
    Really? Tower Records might have had us! But usually, one would find us in the one or two sort of independent "underground" record store in a metro area. ...or in some case, region.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    It was some pretty amazing "blathering!" It's rare that the people whose music we listen to are willing to share so much about it with us. In fact, I'm wondering if that thread is archived, as I wouldn't mind revisiting it now that I've actually heard much of the music discussed.
    I believe PE has it archived.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    Believe it or not, I still haven't heard Copland's dissonant stuff, though I knew he made some (I was never especially taken with his more populist stuff). I will seek it out. I definitely enjoy all the other composers you mentioned, except for Mayuzumi, which is a new name for me. As I said, I just heard Schuman for the first time last night, and was impressed--I will look for his Ninth!
    Maybe not quite yet?! It's "out there". The 7th is the next logical step. Although the 3rd is his tonal masterpiece, and is wonderful. As for Copland, his own favorite work, I recall reading, was his Short (2nd) Symphony, and it is quintessential Copland poly-tonality.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    Thanks for the insight into your compositional goals!
    Well, so to speak! I just try to write stuff I like!

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    For what it's worth, I think you have succeeded brilliantly at achieving that exact balance of challenge and accessibility.
    "...Aw...shucks." It IS very subjective, but ....Yay!

    [QUOTE=NorthNY Mark;262961] Although I enjoy some music that occupies the extreme ends of those categories (say, Cecil Taylor and Crowded House), most of what I enjoy the most tends to balance on that precipice, to one degree or the other.

    Speaking of Cecil Taylor.....well, sort of, have you heard Tim Berne (our colleague, former TP keys man Matt Mitchell pays with him). Great stuff:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuEP_y5bgsA

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    I would be very disappointed indeed if you were to go in a completely dissonant/fractured direction, if for no other reason than such approaches can be found pretty easily in the realms of avant jazz or Darmstadt-school composition,
    I'd never actually write music like that. For the most part I don't care for 'hard core' serialism. When I delve into the more "dissonant" and fractured", I still write what I want to hear, which will never sound like Pierre Boulez's "Le Marteau sans Maître".... at least not for more than maybe 3 seconds...and always in a larger non-serialist context.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    but something like Thinking Plague is truly unique, IMO, even within the relatively small realm of avant-prog.
    Thanks, Mark. Too kind....

  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJ-Plagued View Post
    Speaking of Cecil Taylor.....well, sort of, have you heard Tim Berne (our colleague, former TP keys man Matt Mitchell pays with him). Great stuff:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuEP_y5bgsA
    I just saw him tonight!

    He was playing an improv festival in Portland: First a solo alto sax performance, then later, leading a knotty, extended piece with a pick-up "little big band" of local avant jazzers. Quite impressive. They sounded a bit rough on the ensemble sections - although those tended to be the sort of busy, involved writing that's hard to get clean-sounding - but the improvs were quite good, and everyone seemed solid on the long and complex form.

  6. #206
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    I just saw him tonight!

    He was playing an improv festival in Portland: First a solo alto sax performance, then later, leading a knotty, extended piece with a pick-up "little big band" of local avant jazzers. Quite impressive. They sounded a bit rough on the ensemble sections - although those tended to be the sort of busy, involved writing that's hard to get clean-sounding - but the improvs were quite good, and everyone seemed solid on the long and complex form.
    I'm sure it was good, but it's his composed stuff (and that of Matt Mitchell), played with their usual ensemble, that has impressed me.

    ...bounce!

  7. #207
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Big, big thanks to Mike Johnson for giving us these three live performances to put up on the Cuneiform YouTube page!







    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  8. #208
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Big, big thanks to Mike Johnson for giving us these three live performances to put up on the Cuneiform YouTube page!
    Wow, fantastic! Enjoying these!

    Bill

  9. #209
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Made me think of Lost Crowns...

  10. #210
    Ah.... Texas. Was this the gig with Dev and the Stop Motion folks? How fun
    And the code is a play, a play is a song, a song is a film, a film is a dance...

  11. #211
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polypet View Post
    Ah.... Texas. Was this the gig with Dev and the Stop Motion folks? How fun
    Yes.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  12. #212
    Amazing clips! Thanks so much Mike/Cuneiform!

  13. #213
    Density Cluster
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    Those live clips are sounding great! They would be such a treat to catch live. I also love the vibe of a rock group reading on stage; been there myself, and if I ever managed to get people playing the stuff I'm working on now, I'm sure it would be a similar situation

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