Pete’s Place – 5/13/13 Playlist

Rahsaan Roland Kirk, “Ain’t No Sunshine” from Blacknuss (Atlantic, 1972). The record company decides RRK has commercial potential.

John Coltrane, “Syeeda’s Song Flute” from Giant Steps (Atlantic, 1960). Our favorite track from the classic record.

Jason Adasiewicz, “Life” from Sun Rooms (Delmark, 2010). Chicago area vibes player leads a trio.

Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls, “Saro-Wima” from Breeding Resistance (Delmark, 2004). More new-school Chicago jazz, the drummer-led group including trombonist Jeb Bishop and guitarist Jeff Parker (who plays in jam band Tourtise). Watch for various combinations of players around Chicago.

Trombone Shorty, “Hurricane Season” from Backatown (Verve, 2010). Big beat from the new king of New Orleans.

Pierre Dorge and the New Jungle Orchestra, “Monk in Africa” from Brikama (Steeplechase, 1992).

Al DiMeoloa, “Al Di’s Dream Theme” from Splendido Hotel (1980). Fusion from former Return to Forever guitarist.

Chico Hamilton, “El Toro” from Passin’ Thru (Impluse, 1962). The drummer-led group including Gabor Szabo on guitar and Charles Lloyd on flute. Very hip in ’62 … and today.

Pat Metheney, “(Cross the) Heartland” from American Garage (1979, ECM). The signature sound of the Missouri-born guitarist.

Thelonious Monk, “Brilliant Corners” from 1957 Riverside album of the same name. Monk with horns, including Sonny Rollins on tenor and Ernie Henry with a bluesy break.

Orrin Evans trio, “Big Small” from Flip the Script (2012). Another great modern piano/bass/drums trio.

Tom Waits, “Heart Attack and Vine” (1980, Elecktra). OK, Pete doesn’t like jazz singing. But whoever accused Waits of singing?

John McLaughlin, “Binky’s Dream” from Extrapolation (1969). The great fusion guitarist’s debut record, a jazz record featuring this all-time favorite of British jazz cats of a certain age.

WDBX Opera Overnight – Der Ring des Nibelungen, Part 3; Bach, Schütz

Lauritz Melchior

Lauritz Melchior, one of the all-time great heldentenors, who played Siegfried 47 times during the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

We continue tonight with our playing of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen.  As we have stated in the last two weeks, Wagner wrote the libretto between 1848 and 1852, writing the four operas in reverse order.  The music, on the other hand, was written in the order of the narrative.  Wagner had the music for Siegfried written up to the end of Act 2, at which point he set the opera aside while he wrote Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.  He picked up where he left off in 1869, and had the rest of the cycle completed by October of that same year.  Although he had completed the music, Wagner delayed publishing the opera because he wanted the cycle premiered in its entirety, not in individual parts (King Ludwig had insisted on hearing Das Reingold and Die Walküre upon publication, in spite of Wagner’s objections).  The premiere was also delayed because of Wagner’s desire to have a theater built for his music.  Siegfried was eventually premiered on August 16th, 1876, in the newly completed Bayreuth Festspielhaus, as part of the first complete performance of the cycle.

Tonight’s recording is from Karl Böhm’s excellent live recording from the 1967 Bayreuth Festival.  We hear Wolfgang Windgassen (like Lauritz Melchior, one of the all-time great heldentenors), Erwin Wohlfahrt, Birgit Nilsson (one of the all-time great Brünnhildes), Theo Adam, and Gustav Neidlinger.  Böhm leads the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus.

en: Mathilde Wesendonck 1850. Painted by Karl ...

Mathilde Wesendonck 1850. Painted by Karl Ferdinand Sohn. Öl a. Lwd. StadtMuseum Bonn, Inv. Nr. SMB 1991/G313 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For our second piece this evening, we’re going to hear one of Wagner’s few non-operatic works.  The Wesendonck Lieder is a song cycle that Wagner wrote while writing Tristan und Isolde, using poems by  Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of one of Wagner’s patrons, and the focus of an alleged love affair of Wagner’s.  Wagner used the music as studies, and eventually used some of this material in Tristan und Isolde.  The cycle was initially written for female voice and piano, but eventually set the 5th movement, Träume, for chamber orchestra in 1857.  The rest of the orchestration was completed by the noted Wagnerian conductor Felix Mottl.  There have been other orchestral arrangements of the cycle, but Mottl’s is the most commonly performed version.  Tonight’s recording is a 2010 recording, with Measha Brueggergosman singing.  Franz Welser-Möst leads the Cleveland Orchestra.

Our next work is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, written for Ascension Sunday, which was celebrated today.  Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen (Praise God in his Kingdoms), BWV 11, was likely composed in 1735, with Bach recycling older material, as he often did.  It was first performed on May 19, 1735.  The text is presumed to have been written by Picander, who used multiple Biblical sources.  Tonight’s recording is a 1989 recording, with Emma Kirkby, Evelyn Tubb, Margaret Cable, Wilfried Jochens, and Stephen Charlesworth.  Andrew Parrott leads the Taverner Consort & Players.

Our last work of the evening is a piece by the German early Baroque composer Heinrich Schütz.  Schütz wrote Kleiner Geistlicher Concerten sometime around 1639, in the midst of the Thirty Years War, as an attempt to console those who had lost so much to the violence that surrounded them.  We shall hear a 1990 recording of the Concerto Vocale, under the direction of Rene Jacobs.

The Galaxy – Enjoying the music of Satie

English: Erik Satie Logis (6 rue Cortot 6, &qu...

“Erik Satie Logis” (6 rue Cortot 6, “cabinet”), Santiago Rusinol, 1891 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We begin the evening with a selection of different pieces by the turn-of-the-20th century composer Erik Satie.  Satie was quite the unique individual, both in terms of his life and lifestyle, and in terms of his compositions.  He was a minimalist when minimalism didn’t exist.  He rebelled against the strict compositional forms taught at the Conservatoire, which eventually served him well, given the evolution of composition in the early 20th century.  But it is one thing to talk about him, and another thing to simply listen to his music.  There is such beauty in these melodies that he wrote.  The simplicity of his minimalism allows us to soak in his music, not unlike a languorous bath.  I’ve often said that his music could be considered an early precursor of our modern ambient musical styles (for instance, Sigur Ros).

So we heard:

  • English: Erik Satie (1866-1925) Français : Eri...

    English: Erik Satie (1866-1925) Français : Erik Satie (1866-1925) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Trois Gnossiennes – Satie composed these mostly in 1890, and they were published in 1893.  One of the three pieces may have been written in April of 1893, as they were about to be published.  This was relatively early in Satie’s career.  By this point, he has already established his practice of engaging in a written discussion with the person reading his sheet music – he directs the performer to play “avec étonnement” (“with astonishment”).  Eventually, the dialogue between composer and player would take on surprising and, at times, humorous turns.  In this manner, Satie wanted his music to be a personal experience for the pianist, as opposed to those listening (in addition to the comments, he also wrote his sheet music as calligraphy), and he in fact forbade the reading aloud of these instructions: “To whom it may concern: ‘I forbid anyone to read the text aloud during the musical performance. Ignorance of my instructions will incur my righteous indignation against the presumptuous culprit. No exception will be allowed.”  In later years, long after Satie’s death, a set of pieces were discovered that are often tacked to the end of the original three portions.  Tonight’s recording of the original set of three is a lovely 2008 recording by Claire Chevallier.

  • Ogives – an 1886 composition, published in 1889, that he wrote without bar lines.  He is said to have been inspired by the form of the windows of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.  Indeed, ogive is a term for one of the more notable facets of gothic architecture, the ogival arch.  Tonight’s recording is a 1992 recording (released on Phillips in 1995) by pianist Reinert de Leeuw.
  • Messe des Pauvres (“Mass for the Poor”) – Satie composed this in 1895, with the original arrangement being for pipe organ and unison voices singing wordless plainchant.  Satie was not religious, but he did become involved from time to time with quasi-mystical cults, primarily the Rose-Croix du Temple et du Graal, for which he was made “official composer”.  After this, he founded his own church, “The Metropolitan Church of Jesus the Leader”, of which he was/is the only known member.  J.P. Contamine de Latour left a description of the church’s “sanctuary”:

“A nondescript room, square and tile-floored, which was untimely crossed by the…ventilating pipe. No altar, no object which could be used for the cult, nothing that reminded one of a religious sanctuary: simply the unfinished furniture brought down from the attic where it had been rotting for months and which gave to the room an aspect both of a monk’s cell and of an NCO’s room.”

It was during this period that Satie wrote Messe des Pauvres.  Here, instead of the piano, Satie applies his minimalist sense to the pipe organ.  While the piece has a church-like feel, the mix of Satie’s slabs of harmonies with the size and scale of the pipe organ, make for a unique experience, even when considered alongside Satie’s other music.  So we heard a 1993 recording by organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent that omits the vocal parts, but which retains the overall power of the piece.

  • Trois Gymnopédies – written in 1888, this is easily Satie’s best-known piece, with numerous re-interpretations by artists ranging from Blood Sweat and Tears (who won a 1969 Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance for their “Variations on a Theme by Erik Satie”) to Janet Jackson (who used the theme as the basis for a loop on Someone To Call My Lover, from 2001; that song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Performance in 2002).  The piece has also been used in multiple movies over the years.  The piece was possibly inspired by a poem by the above-mentioned de Latour (whom Satie knew personally), The Ancients:
Oblique et coupant l’ombre un torrent éclatant
Ruisselait en flots d’or sur la dalle polie
Où les atomes d’ambre au feu se miroitant
Mêlaient leur sarabande à la gymnopédie
Translation:
Slanting and shadow-cutting a flickering eddy
Trickled in gusts of gold on the shiny flagstone
Where the atoms of amber in the fire mirroring themselves
Mingled their sarabande with the gymnopaedia
When Satie published the first Gymnopédie in 1888, the verse quoted above was included.  But there is no certainty as to which came first, the verse or the composition.  The third Gymnopédie was published later that year, but the second was not published until 1895.  Claude Debussy orchestrated the first and third of the pieces, publishing this in 1898.  Tonight, we heard Michel Legrand performing the three pieces on piano, in a 1993 recording that comes with some excellent liner notes that feature a sampling of Satie’s elegant calligraphic sheet music (with a few of his notorious comments – in French, of course).

We then heard some early material from the fine English techno band, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.  We heard Almost and Messages, from their first, self-titled album from 1980, then we heard VCL XI and Statues, from their 2nd album, Organisation.

English: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of T...

English: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who performing at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Oct. 10, 1976. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We then heard a few songs from a live recording of the Who, from 1970, made as they were in the process of preparing the music for what would eventually become Who’s Next.  At the time, they were intending to do another “rock opera”, having just enjoyed the immense success of Tommy.  But the concept for the project fell apart.  Giving up on the concept, the music that had been recorded was assembled, and the resulting album is now considered one of the great recordings in rock history.  From the Deluxe Edition of Who’s Next, we heard live renditions of Getting in Tune and Bargain, both of which ended up as part of the original album, along with Water, a long-time concert staple for the band.

We finished off the show with some metal: I’ll Cast a Shadow, a classic from Pantera’s Reinventing The Steel, and United Forces, from SOD’s (Stormtroopers of Death) Speak English or Die.

Your Community Spirit 2013 May 10

News includes Judge Says EPA’s Lax Dispersant Guidelines Can Stand; Climate Change Will Kick Our Asses; California Town Of Sebastopol Will Require Solar Panels; Scientist Seeks Crowdfunding For Air Pollution Study. Happenings include Best Of Rice And Spice; Open Mic At Gaia House; LOGIC Work Day; Carbondale Farmer’s Market; Carbondale Community Farmers Market; Cache River Nature Fest 2013; Book Signing For Change.

WDBX Opera Overnight – Der Ring des Nibelungen, Part 2; Bartók, Ravel

English: Sieglinde (Therese Vogl) offers Siegm...

English: Sieglinde (Therese Vogl) offers Siegmund (Heinrich Vogl) a horn of mead from Act I of the 1870 production of Wagner’s Die Walküre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are continuing tonight with our hearing of the second installment of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen.  As we stated last week, Wagner wrote the cycle backwards, starting with the ending and finishing with the prelude, Das Reingold, which we heard last week.  Tonight’s opera, Die Walküre, was written between 1851 and 1856, but was not premiered until 26 June 1870 (shown at right, with Therese and Heinrich Vogl, the husband and wife original interpreters of the Sieglinde and Siegmund roles), as he interrupted composition of the cycle so that he could write  Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The first performance of the Die Walkure as part of the full cycle did not occur until August of 1876, after the completion of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus.

Of course, the result is some of the most absolutely thrilling music in the history of classical music.  Even as the size, scope and scale of the Ring makes a full production of the cycle a major accomplishment, Die Walküre easily stands on its own as an exhilarating experience, possibly matched only by other works of Wagner’s, such as Tristan und Isolde.  It is no wonder that Wagner’s influence was so significant during the latter half of the 19th century, both positive and negative.  Love or hate, he could not be ignored.

Bayreuth Festspielhaus, in which the Ring was ...

Bayreuth Festspielhaus, in which the full Ring Cycle was premiered in 1876 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight’s performance is part of the 1966 Bayreuth Festival live recording of the full Cycle, which we are featuring, one that is considered to be among the best full cycles available.  Tonight we will hear an excellent cast of Wagnerians – James King (Siegmund), Leonie Rysanek (Sieglinde), Theo Adam (Wotan), Birgit Nilsson (Brunhilde), Gerd Nienstedt (Hunding), Annelies Burmeister (Fricka).  Karl Böhm leads the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus.

Français : Gravure sur bois de 33 x 27 cm de B...

Illustration by Gustave Doré for Perrault‘s tale Bluebeard, upon which Bartók’s opera was based. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our next work for the evening is a one act opera by Béla Bartók.  Bartók composed Bluebeard’s Castle in 1911 for a competition that Bartók entered, using a libretto by his friend Béla Balázs, which was in turn based on a fairy tale by Charles Perrault.  It is usually sung in Hungarian, although there are several German translations, and an English translation was published in 2005.  At one point Bartók did not think that he would ever hear it performed, but the success of his ballet The Wooden Prince earned him the backing that allowed for a premiere in May 1918.  The work is a challenging piece to stage, especially if it is sung in the original Hungarian.  While it is rarely staged, it will occasionally be performed in concert.  Tonight’s recording is from 2003, and features Péter Fried and Cornelia Kallisch.  Peter Eötvös leads the SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra

Our last work for the evening is a song cycle for high voice with orchestra by Maurice Ravel.  Ravel wrote Shéhérazade in 1903, and it was premiered in May of 1904.  It was inspired by a collection of poems by his friend Léon Leclère, which Leclère titled Shéhérazade in honor of the well-known symphonic suite by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, of which both Leclère and Ravel were fans.  Ravel was also inspired by Debussy’s recently premiered Pelléas et Mélisande.  Victoria de Los Angeles performs in this 1963 recording, with the great early 20th century conductor Pierre Monteux (he directed the premiere of Pelléas et Mélisande, among other works by Debussy, Ravel, and other composers of the day)  leading Concertgebouw Amsterdam in one of his last recordings.

The Galaxy – Breathing in a new mentality – if Hendrix counts as a new mentality

Cover of "Lost in the Sound of Separation...

Cover of Lost in the Sound of Separation

We started the evening with some UnderOath.  Listening to their material is so much fun for me because their music has such a scorched earth mentality, yet at the same time their lyrics break through the emotional haze with at times striking clarity.  They take interesting chances with their music, with thick layers of chordal harmonies on top of intriguing rhythmic departures from the groove.  So, we heard Breathing in a New Mentality (from Lost in the Sound of Separation), In Division (from Disambiguation), The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed, Vacant Mouth, and My Deteriorating Incline.  Naturally, we are saddened to hear of their decision to disband, but we can enjoy their legacy.

Cover of "Axis: Bold As Love"

Cover of Axis: Bold As Love

It has been a while since I’ve played some Jimi Hendrix, so we heard some live Hendrix tonight, from the Winterland box set.  From the October 12, 1968 set, we heard Manic Depression, Sunshine of Your Love, Little Wing, Spanish Castle Magic (both interesting selections, as Hendrix did not often play material from Axis Bold As Love), and Red House.

I find it appropriate that we follow Hendrix with late ’60s era Miles Davis, not just because they shared a similar mentality that crossed musical genres, but also because there apparently had been some discussion of the two getting together.  At one point there apparently was agreement for a $50,000 advance to Miles in exchange for studio time, but it never came together, and then Jimi ultimately passed away.  It could be agonizing to imagine the sort of material that would have come out of such a collaboration.  So, I find it extremely fitting to follow ’68 Hendrix with ’69 Miles Davis, Shhh/Peaceful from In A Silent Way.

We then heard a few Beatles cuts, starting with a song that my girlfriend brought to mind with her complaints about a “hole” in her head.  So we played Fixing A Hole, from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, followed by The Night Before and You’re Gonna Lose That Girl, both from Help.

Basset clarinet in A, anonymous, perhaps Frenc...

Basset clarinet in A, anonymous, perhaps French, probably late 19th century, cocus. Presumably made for a performance of La Clemenza di Tito. Philip Bate loan. Photographed at the Bate Collection at the University of Oxford. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We closed tonight’s show with an exquisite piece of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, his Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622.  It was composed in 1791, the year of his death, thus becoming one of his last compositions, and his last purely instrumental composition.  Mozart wrote the piece for the noted clarinetist Anton Stadler, who used a special clarinet that featured an extended range in the lower register (going down to low C, as opposed to stopping at low E like most clarinets).  While the concerto had been for years edited to transpose the unusual notes back to the normal clarinet range, recent musicology has revealed the extent to which Mozart wrote the piece for the extended-range clarinet (generally referred to as a basset clarinet), and in fact this concerto may in fact be the most significant piece written for the basset clarinet.

The recent interest in performance with authentic instruments has inspired instrument makers to produce basset clarinets, and devices that can turn standard clarinets into basset clarinets.  However, I suspect that tonight’s recording, a 1972 edition by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, directed by Sir Neville Marriner, and with Jack Brymer featured on clarinet, might not be using a basset clarinet (there is no documentation on the matter, one way or the other).

Your Community Spirit 2013 May 03

News includes ExxonMobil’s Tar Sands Pipeline Leaks Again; Atlantic Coastal Waters Hottest Since Measuremetns Began; Fracking Threatens To Escalate Water Wars; Bike Parties; Watch Solar Plane Fly Across America; Make Commute More Exciting With Mario Transit Maps. Happenings include Friday Night Fair; Rice And Spice; Open Mic Night At Gaia House; Carbondale Farmer’s Market; World Labyrinth Day; For Kid’s Sake Art Auction; Change Release Party.