Bryn Harrison on Another Timbre


Bryn Harrison
Receiving the Approaching Memory
Aisha Orazbayev, violin; Mark Knoop, piano
Another Timbre CD 96

Another Timbre’s  96th CD is devoted entirely to Bryn Harrison’s “Receiving the Approaching Memory,” a violin-piano duo lasting nearly forty minutes. Throughout its duration, the piece consists of overlapping spirals between the violin and piano, corruscating gently but emphatically. The piece is divided into five sections. While each has a similar gestural language, the pitch material starts with a regular circulation of the total chromatic and, with each section, gradually has the parts drop shared notes until, by the end, only two pitches (C and F) are held in common. While these common tones might suggest glancing against tonality (they form a fifth), Harrison instead sets up “shadow selves” among the increasingly impoverished means. The thinned texture points up the repetitive nature of the gestures rather than any sort of pitch consolidation. As such, it is a fascinating and often beautiful work. Harrison is fortunate in his advocates: violinist Aisha Orazbayev and pianist Mark Knoop play with accuracy, musicality, and indefatigable stamina. Recommended.

Francois Couturier and Anja Lechner at Greenwich Music House (Concert Review)

Anja Lechner and François Couturier Greenwich House, NYC February 18, 2017. Photo by Claire Stefani


Francois Couturier and Anja Lechner

Greenwich Music House

New York

February 18, 2017

By Christian Carey


Five Things to Like About Francois Couturier and Anja Lechner in duo performance


  1. Versatility — These are two musicians who are able to play in a plethora of styles: classical, jazz, world music, et cetera. I first interviewed cellist Anja Lechner for a Signal to Noise feature about the bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi. I was impressed with her versatility then and remain so today. Pianist Francois Couturier is an eminently qualified performing partner for Lechner.
  2. Ensemble — Even though most of their set consisted of composed pieces — Couturier had sheet music on the piano throughout — the improvisational directions that they took the works featured a plethora of surprises and sharp turns into different musical terrain. The duo hardly needed to look at each other to turn on a dime into a new section or tempo.
  3. Variety — The concert included pieces by Couturier, with the back-to-back presentation of Voyage and Papillons creating a swirl of timbres and techniques. Federico Mompou also featured prominently, with renditions of three of his works on the program, including Soleil Rouge, a sumptuous encore. Komitas, Gurdjieff, and a transcription of an Abel piece originally for viola da gamba were other offerings. But the standout was Anouar Brahem’s Vagues, a work that the duo had previously performed with the composer. It brought out a tenderness and poise that was most impressive.
  4. Technique and effects — Both Couturier and Lechner demonstrated abundant performing ability. However, conventional playing was just a part of their presentation. The duo used a host of effects, Couturier playing inside the piano, Lechner supplying all manner of harmonics, pizzicatos, and alternate bowing techniques. This gave the abundant lyricism of their performance just the right amount of seasoning.
  5. Tarkovsky Quartet CD — Happily for those who missed this intimate event, or for those who heard it and want more, Couturier and Lechner appear as members of the Tarkovsky Quartet (which also includes soprano saxophonist Jean-Marc Lerché and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier) on a new ECM CD, Nuit Blanche.




Temples: “Certainty” (SoundCloud)

Temples - Volcano
Temples – Volcano

Temples’s album Volcano is out March 3rd via Fat Possum Records. Check out lead-off track “Certainty” below.

They are also extensively touring (dates below).

(new shows in bold)
Wed. Feb. 22 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel *
Fri. Feb. 24 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom *
Sat. Feb. 25 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s *
Sun. Feb. 26 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre *
Tue. Feb. 28 – Felton, CA @ Don Quixote’s *
Wed. Mar. 1 – Nevada City, CA @ Miners Foundry Cultural Center *
Thu. Mar. 2 – Pomona, CA @ Glass House *
Fri. Mar. 3 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s *
Sat. Mar. 4 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent *
Sun. Mar. 5 – Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern *
Thu. Mar. 9 – Tijuana, BC @ Black Box *
Fri. Mar. 10 – Las Vegas, NV @ Neon Reverb Music Festival @ Plaza Hotel & Casino *
Sat. Mar. 11 – Phoenix, AZ @ Downtown Phoenix [VIVA PHX] *
Sun. Mar. 12 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
Tue. Mar. 14 – Thu. Mar. 16 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
Fri. Mar. 17 – Dallas, TX @ Trees *
Sat. Mar. 18 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live *
Sun. Mar. 19 – San Antonio, TX @ Burger Records Hangover Fest @ Paper Tiger *
Sun. Mar. 26 – Newcastle, UK @ Riverside
Mon. Mar. 27 – Sheffield, UK @ Leadmill
Tue. Mar. 28 – Manchester, UK @ Academy 2
Thu. Mar. 30 – London, UK @ Brixton Electric
Fri. Mar. 31 – Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2
Sat. Apr. 1 – Derby, UK @ 2Q Festival
Sun. Apr. 2 – Birmingham, UK @ Institute 2
Tue. Apr. 7 – Cologne, DE @ Gebaude 9
Wed. Apr. 8 – Munich, DE @ Strom
Thu. Apr. 9 Prague, CS @ Palac Akropolis
Fri. Apr. 10 – Berlin, DE @ Festaal Kreuzberg
Sat. Apr. 11 – Hamburg, DE @ Knust
Sun. Apr. 12 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Sat. Apr. 18 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique
Sun. Apr. 19 – Tourcoing, FR @ Le Grand Mix
Mon. Apr. 20 – Lausanne, CH @ Le Docks
Tue. Apr. 21 – Zurich, CH @ Plaza
Wed. Apr. 22 – Lyon, FR @ L’Epicerie Moderne
Fri. Apr. 24 – Paris, FR @ Elysee Montmartre
Mon. Apr. 27 – Bristol, UK @ Trinity Centre
Wed. Apr. 29 – Leeds, UK @ Live at Leeds
Mon. May 8 – Miami, FL @ Gramps
Wed. May 10 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
Thu. May 11 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
Fri. May 12 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees
Mon. May 15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Tue. May 16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Thu. May 18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Fri. May 19 – Sun. May 21 – Madrid, ES @ Tomavistas Festival
Fri. July 28 – Sun. July 30 – Naeba Ski Resort, Japan @ Fuji Rock Festival

* = Desert Daze Caravan

New York Philharmonic Premieres HK Gruber’s Piano Concerto

Hi All. This fell off the blog for some reason. I am re-hosting it today. 


New York Philharmonic Premieres H.K. Gruber

New York Philharmonic

Photos: Chris Lee


Avery Fisher Hall, New York

January 7, 2017

By Christian Carey

Five Things to Love About the NY Phil’s January 7th Concert

  1. Kurt Weill’s Kleine Dreigroschenmusik (Little Threepenny Music) for Wind Ensemble: A truly charming work that also demonstrates the composer’s affinity for early jazz orchestration, Little Threepenny Music showed off the wind section of the Philharmonic at their very best, and it was wonderful to hear banjo in the mix. Mack the Knife alone is worth many three-pennies!
  2. Emmanuel Ax playing H.K. Gruber: As Ax himself admits (see video embed below), his training is classical, not jazz-oriented. That said, he acquitted himself well in the premiere of H.K. Gruber’s Piano Concerto, spinning swinging fistfuls of notes into the air at a nearly relentless pace with his characteristic musicality.
  3. H.K. Gruber’s Piano Concerto: It is audaciously orchestrated, cast for a large orchestra with tons of contrapuntal imitation thickening the texture — yet somehow the piano comes through in brilliant fashion. There are elements of Weill’s early jazz, notably “shimmy music” from his opera Tales from the Vienna Woods. But the piece contains an even more pronounced strain of modern jazz: one could imagine the late Eric Dolphy fitting right in, taking a seat among the winds.
  4. Thoughtful programming: H.K. Gruber has performed works by Kurt Weill as a chansonnier. Schubert’s early Second Symphony hasn’t been performed since Kurt Masur was Music Director of the NY Phil (I saw that performance too; more about it momentarily).
  5. Alan Gilbert conducting Franz Schubert: When I heard Masur’s performance of Schubert’s Second Symphony in 1994, I was convinced that the teenage composer had the capacity to be a proto-Brahms with high Romantic spirits. Gilbert’s interpretation of the piece stands in stark contrast. It is much quicker, putting the strings through fleet-footed paces and distilling Schubert’s admiration for Mozart into each of the work’s movements. I wouldn’t want to be without either rendition, and am grateful to have heard them both. That said, January 7th’s masterful performance is just going to make me miss Alan Gilbert at the helm of the NY Phil even more.