Out today via Nonesuch, Freedom Highway, the new recording by Rhiannon Giddens.
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
Greenwich Music House
February 18, 2017
By Christian Carey
Five Things to Like About Francois Couturier and Anja Lechner in duo performance
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’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).
TEMPLES TOUR DATES:
(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
Parquet Courts collaborate with rapper Bun B. on new track “Captive of the Sun.” Limited 12″ out now via Rough Trade.
Carnegie Hall – Zankel Hall
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Six Things to Like About Kronos at Carnegie Hall
- Fifty for the Future Commissioning Project — Kronos used Saturday February 11th’s concert to showcase some of the early entries in their “Fifty for the Future” project. Not only is Kronos recording all of the pieces for young quartets to hear; their website also includes free to download PDFs of scores and parts. Thus, they are creating a new repertory for quartets eager to learn about contemporary music.
- Garth Knox — Some of the pieces, such as renowned violist Garth Knox’s “Dimensions” from Satellites, take on a didactic function. Knox features all manner of bowing techniques, including the surprisingly potent hissing sound of “air bowing.” It is a piece that is a catalog of special effects, but they are organically incorporated and the music is a brisk tour: it doesn’t overstay its welcome and stretch one’s appreciation of its charms.
- Malian percussionist Fode Lassana Diabate’s Sundata’s Time: The master balafonist joined Kronos onstage for the first completed “Fifty For the Future” composition: Sundata’s Time. Each movement spotlighted a different instrument, along with a few extra cadenzas for balafon thrown in. These were most welcome. Diabate plays with an extraordinary grace and fluidity that not only was stirring in its own right, but brought out a different character entirely in Kronos’s playing. It was a most simpatico collaboration.
- Kala Ramnath’s Amrit contains major scale ragas that craft a poignantly stirring work combining Eastern and Western gestures in a bold attempt to bring the two hemispheres’s musical traditions together.
- Rhiannon Giddens’s At the Purchaser’s Option brought blues and roots music to the fore, genres that Kronos has played eloquently since their inception. Perhaps the most attractive piece on the program in terms of musical surface, its message went deeper, serving as a sober reminder of slave trade in 19th Century America. Giddens has a new Nonesuch CD out this coming Friday, titled Freedom Highway.
- If Giddens’s piece was the most attractive on a surface level, Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet remained the weightiest in ambition and most thoroughly constructed of the programmed works. Written for Kronos, it features two virtual quartets on tape that accompany the live musicians (Kay and I are lobbying for more live performances of all three quartets, as that would really be something!). Overlapping ostinatos and stabbing melodic gestures provide a serious demeanor that resembles another piece played by Kronos with tape (of human voices): Different Trains. The rhythmic contours and syncopations provide ample amounts of challenges, but Kronos played seamlessly with the avatar-filled tape part. While “Fifty for the Future” is an important mission for Kronos, it is also heartening to hear some of their older repertoire being revived. The encore for the concert: an arrangement of “Strange Fruit,” the jazz protest song made famous by Billie Holiday.