A few thoughts before bed…

  • I was reminded tonight that the middle movement of Barber’s Piano Concerto just might be the most beautiful piece of music ever written. Ever.
  • Similarly, the last movement of said concerto sits darn near the top of the list of full-on rock-and-roll classical music.
  • Somehow I stumbled across tonight, where I found several downloadable recordings. Webern was perhaps the most perfect composer since Bach. Or Mozart. When you have some time for careful listening, do yourself a favor and go listen (it’s free!). Maybe start with the Sechs Stucke (Op.6), that was my first foray into Webern back in college. Don’t be deterred: listen, listen, and listen again. It is pure crystalline perfection, the most concentrated musical thought ever produced. There is no indulgence in ego, only the most ascetic purity.
  • I’m sort of rediscovering Schoenberg. Well, that’s a dumb statement. I guess I’m once again thinking and reading about him. I need to find a good biography, I find him absolutely fascinating. Stravinsky was so much more immediately likeable, both musically and personally, but sometimes I think Schoenberg was a better composer, even if poorly understood (still).
  • I’m also listening through a new recording of Ligeti’s piano etudes, by Fredrik Ullen. They are such amazing pieces, and Ullen’s is a remarkably musical recording (and sometimes approaches inhuman technique). I’ve only listened to book one and Coloana Infinita from book two right now, but I can say for certain that this recording has absolutely replaced the rather lackluster Idil Biret recording from Naxos–the only recording I had up until now. Now I really really want the Pierre-Laurent Aimard recording, which is supposed to be “the definitive” (which might be a useless designation were Aimard not supposedly Ligeti’s own favorite pianist). I certainly have loved every recording he’s made of Messiaen’s music (that I’ve heard, at least).
  • I’m going to bed, this is ridiculous.

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Composer of music and sonic art. Percussionist, guitarist, computer musician. Composition/theory/electronic music professor. Husband and father. Catholic. Food and beer enthusiast. Perpetually dissatisfied with the contents of my sock drawer.

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