Winter Music and Finding Connections

I woke up this morning and finished reading John Luther Adams’ Winter Music, which I found to be quite enlightening and just a wonderful way to start the day. He simply is just an amazing artist and human being. So much in his work and way of seeing the world to admire.

In reading the book I came across a number of things I wanted to explore, particularly the books of Barry Lopez (which should be coming in sooon) and the book The Cloud of Unknowing (which I picked up yesterday). I’ve found that most of the things I’ve come across have been through this amazing web of connections, from finding an artist I like and reading about them, finding what they liked and reading about those influences or those texts. It’s been such a journey from one person to the next, to read about their views and to read what influenced that view, and through these encounters to find myself in a new world. I find myself very fortunate to have come across this world of art and ideas that has exposed me to so many different aspects of the world I may have never ventured to explore otherwise.


Tonight I went to hear an sfSoundSeries concert where amongst the pieces they played, they performed an arrangment of Morton Feldman’s “Three Voices”. Now, Three Voices happens to be one of my favorite Feldman pieces, one I’ve listened to many, many times on CD and have also had the good fortune to hear live, sung by Joan La Barbara at Carnegie Hall. (That performance was absolutely amazing and left quite an impression on me, performed at a tempo such that the piece lasted an hour and a half, and of course that wonderfully gorgeous voice…)

Tonight’s arrangment was… unbearable. Everything that I so much adore in Feldman’s music was so completely absent in tonight’s “rendition.” (I don’t know what to even call it.) The use of different families of timbres didn’t work at all for me; the fluctuations in tempo really lost the continuity of the piece; the use of whispered words didn’t come close to the effect of the original. (Listening to the Joan La Barbara recording now, it’s such an amazing moment when words are introduced into the music…). I found tonight’s arrangment to be a very insensitive handling of the original music, really doing very little justice to it.

Perhaps my utter disappointment is obvious by now. But if not, I should say I was very disappointed in tonight’s performance.

John Luther Adams – Winter Music

I recieved my copy of John Luther Adams’ Winter Music from Amazon today and am very much looking forward to reading it. For a long time I’ve been an admirer of his music and work, as well as his character. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book also comes with a CD of some of his pieces (it’s stated on the site but I didn’t notice it the first time). Such a nice way to start the weekend. ^_^

Anne Sofie von Otter

I have for a long time very much loved a recording of hers of Swedish songs, entitled “Wings in the Night“, and while in the store yesterday I came across her albums and purchased “La Bonne Chanson“, an album full of French songs which is absolutely delightful. Her voice is as beautiful on this recording as the other I have, and only makes me want to purchase everything she’s ever done, as her voice is certainly amongst my favorites. (I have quite a love of mezzo-soprano voices…).

(All of the albums I’ve had the fortune of getting yesterday have all been wonderful, and it’s quite a joy to be so interested in listening to music actively. It seems to come in waves lately, the desire to spend time really listening to music and spending time otherwise, perhaps just a matter of the music I’ve come across. It really is such a joy to find new music that one finds so much in…)

Jim Fox – the city the wind swept away

I came across this cd while looking at the cold blue music website which I found after looking at John Luther Adams‘ website, and finally got around to purchasing it at Tower Classical Records yesterday. How absolutely gorgeous! It makes very much sense to me that these two should be on the same label as they seem to have very similar aesthetics, an aesthetic which I very much love. Quiet, serene, lush sounds floating along…

Feldman – Triadic Memories – Marilyn Nonken

I had known of this album for a while but took a while to find a store that carried the DVD version of it. The DVD feature interview with Marilyn Nonken (a performer who I absolutely adore and who I’ve had the great fortune of seeing perform many times when I lived in New York) is quite a treat as she shares her stories of encountering Feldman’s music and what care she’s taken in performing this piece. The recording is much slower than the other recording I have and it’s something I appreciate very much about it, as the performance is quite fantastic. The recording also seems to have captured an absolutely wonderful piano sound, and on DVD, listening to the performance is unbroken (the CD version is on two CD’s). All in all a wonderful piece performed by a wonderful performer and all very much worth the wait of getting on DVD.