Warsaw Autumn 2006 – XIV

Tonight’s concert was a world premiere of Zygmunt Krauze’s Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy, an opera in four acts based on the play by Witold Gombrowicz.  The performance was at the National Theater, adjacent to the Teatr Wielki.  Our first time to the National Theater, I was stunned by how beautiful the building is, the interior mostly marble accented with gold.  The theater itself was very intimately sized but I think incredible for that reason: the sound was fantastic and it was very easy to see everything going on on stage from our seats (granted we were in the sixth row, but looking around I don’t think there would be a bad seat in the house).  A wonderful theater.

I enjoyed the opera very much: the story was interesting and dark but also at times humorous(hard to explain but Lisa told me that it is very similar to “Pelleas et Melisande”), the performers performed wonderfully, and the music worked very well in framing the work.  The staging was simple but effective and the costumes were fun and also effective (post-modern came to mind but that’s not quite it). The music was mostly consonant but not quite tonal, moving between a number of different moods and styles.  The work was not a very long opera (finished in two hours with an intermission) but I found that a part of why I felt it was short was that it was very well paced and transitioned effortlessly.

Listening to the opera I was once again reminded of how lyrical I find the Polish language and how well I think it works in music.  Hearing it in everyday situations I find it rather musical and even more so when set very well and performed admirably by good performers.

Overall a very enjoyable and entertaining work. It would be nice to see this opera again and they are doing another performance of the opera tomorrow, but tomorrow is also the final day of the festival and the performance is being done at the same time as the final concert at the National Philharmonic Concert Hall.  It seemed like a strong enough work to me to make it into the repertoire (though I’m no opera aficionado…) so maybe we’ll have another chance to see this again in the future.

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – XIII

The 4:30pm concert today was at the St. Hyacinthus Church in Nowy Miasto, very close to where we live, and was a concert full of choral music by Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki. Originally they announced at the concert that they were not going to be performing Miserere, but luckily for us they did perform it at the end as an encore, which was a really nice surprise.

Some notes on the pieces I took at the concert:

Totus Tuus – got chills at the opening chords as the sound of the chorus in the church was just phenomenal, the piece seemed a little out of balance formally but I enjoyed the feeling of an extended ending slowly drifting away

Marian Songs – five pieces; the first piece really blew me away, has that sort of modal pulsing that is in the 3rd Symphony, gorgeous undulating chords; the second piece was homophonic, simple divisions of time, harmonies like coloring of single line, a singular presence, reminded me of people singing at a memorial; the next three pieces did not leave as strong an impression as the first two, the ending of the fifth slowly unraveled

Five Kurpian Songs – first piece didn’t leave much of an impression; the second piece had some really nice dark harmonic shadings to a rather sweet color, very nice ending; the third was rather warm and nicely shaped; the fourth had a very interesting strong ritardando at the end to a rather unexpected cadence; fifth had a sort of canon-like feel, interesting pacing of phrase lengths, a weary sound of workers working away, got pretty dark in color, the penultimate chord progression was fantastic but end was just alright; overall thought it was just alright

Miserere – gorgeous, opening section is just phenomenal and very much like the 3rd Symphony where a single modal line goes, then a second line joins in bringing in fantastic colors, then a third, and so-on; each layer added brought wonderful color and when the lines reached the top of their contours and the harmonies opened up it was just phenomenal; later in the piece moves away from modal character to more major mode and seemed to lose a bit of steam; the piece moved from a sort of constant pulsing in the beginning to more pausing on chords; while I enjoyed the shaping of the form earlier, later seemed to stay at thick harmonies a bit too long for my taste; very glad they performed this!

I was very excited to go this concert as I enjoy Gorecki’s music very much; it’s also an interesting thing for me historically as when I first heard the 3rd Symphony it really struck me (I was driving on Riverside Drive in Marietta, GA, it was autumn with the leaves turning colors and I had the music on very loud, driving back to school in Athens…). It was also after reading a book on Gorecki back in college that I had first had the thought that I would like to visit Poland; now it’s my third time here and I will be able to say that I lived here a not insignificant amount of time when all is said and done.

At the concert today I was thinking a lot about the choral sound and why did it work in church when there is such a long reverb and why didn’t other chamber music work for me the other night which had a similar situation of sound be masked. I think that perhaps that with the harmonies being such a strong thing to identify by ear, that pronouncing words really cuts through the sound to help identify the changes, and that the music was mostly homophonic that made the pieces really work and cut through with such a thick reverb. I also felt that the pieces were at their best when they were at their simplest, and that the ones which had more polyphonic textures did not sound so strongly as the simpler textures.

Another aspect of the sound I found myself very interested in was the ambiance of the reverb coming from high above (the church was a tall Catholic church). I don’t remember ever being in a concert at a church and having such a clear sense of the sound, the somewhat glowing quality of it. I was amazed at how very affecting the sound was and thought back to other concerts I had heard in the past few years at churches and how I never had the same sorts of impressions I had today.

I also thought a lot about Gorecki’s music and what I like so much about it. There’s something very serious and contemplative about it but also at times it had a real sense of joy, and I think that is one of the hardest things to accomplish. For a while now I’ve been contemplating ideas on serious music that can be positive as well as ideas on serious music which can be warm in color. I remember something Rothko wrote discussing how fear is something that is easy to identify with in art as it is a common human experience but that other experiences can be much more difficult to create. I think that might very well be one of the most interesting aspects to Gorecki’s music for me.

It’s been amazing to hear so many different types of musics here at the festival, many pieces very serious but in their own way. I think the Gorecki offered a really different approach than most of the other pieces we’ve heard and it leaves its own distinct impression. Leaving the concert, it felt as if there was a sense of energy in the air and the crowd seemed very excited by the music. A very memorable experience…

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – XII

Tonight’s concert was the last one at the Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Concert Studio for this year’s festival.  The concert tonight was one of chamber ensemble music by the Polish-German Youth Ensemble.  The pieces tonight were:

  • Vykintas Baltakas – Ouroboros
  • Alexander Shchetynsky – Chamber Symphony
  • Bernd Alois Zimmermann – Omnia tempus habent
  • Joanna Woźny – Return
  • Enno Poppe – Öl

Some notes I took on the pieces:

Baltakas – most of piece had a very Scelsi-esque focus on single note and deviations away from it, interesting arrangement (ensemble in middle; flute, clarinet, soprano sax, and oboe soloists as a semi-circle ring outside), nice timbral transformations of ideas between solo instruments, quiet writing not so strong with overuse of silence breaking momentum (worked somewhat at end though I thought the penultimate gesture could have ended the piece nicely), bigger writing was quite nice, Lutoslawski-esque in sense of time and similarities in material; absolutely wonderful use of accordion, especially for pianissimo held tones (first time I’ve ever heard accordion work); ensemble was not big enough to support the biggest moments though; a wonderful moment with a really nice use and framing of sustained trills in the second half of piece

Shchetynsky – either too densely written for material or not orchestrated well for ideas to come out; meandered a bit under its own weight; some ideas seemed that they may have work with a larger dynamic range and felt the ideas would have worked more effectively with an orchestra size section of  strings, not just for volume but also the group sound of strings versus solo string sound; some nice writing and material but overall form didn’t feel focused

Zimmerman – performer has a nice voice but did not perform very convincingly(perhaps nervous?); instrumental writing was very good, expressionistic and dramatic; did not like the text very much and vocal writing had some nice elements but didn’t seem framed very well; some vocal lines and gestures seemed over-used and thus lost efficacy; hard to get into as the vocal part was a prime focus of the piece and I wasn’t into it

Wozny – pretty strong piece; opening section filled with short gestures and frenetic sonorist texture seemed a bit much to start with; after opening section really started to establish a very cohesive sound world; very elegantly written, sax soloist performed very well; most of the extended effects were extremely well used but did feel some were out of context or extraneous(though only a few cases of that, much more on the side of being well used); would like to listen to this again

Poppe – generally lacked focus and scale of things felt out of proportion; had issues with orchestration (ideas masked by weight of other ideas); thick parts felt too densely written; high frequency ideas were nice ideas on their own but felt overly saturated and overused to be effective

Overall, I felt that there was a lot of really nice things going on in a few of the pieces tonight. The last piece really brought up a lot of issues on orchestration though and I started getting a lot of thoughts in my head about concerns that I generally think about in terms of electronic music.  The complex writing with many similar instruments in the same range didn’t allow for the ideas to speak very much and in the end the spectrum felt saturated with everyone masking the sound of everyone else (reminded me of thing that happen in electronic pieces with way too much reverb).  This isn’t particular to just the last piece but also a lot of pieces with very complex material.

This also reminded me of an old thought I had long ago regarding temporally complex material as well as thick harmony and the relationship of that to harmonic and inharmonic sounds and how with a gong or other inharmonic source what I found most natural was to let it ring for quite some time until the sound really “speaks”.  I think with complex material it often doesn’t ever “speak” in that it isn’t used long enough or set at the right scale of time so that the different parts that form the complexity are discernible.

Many other thoughts came to mind in tonight’s concert though I think I will begin to collect them up for a different series of writings later.

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – XI

The last concert last night was at the Koneser Vodka Distillers building, a very neat large warehouse in Praga that has been being used for performances.  It was our first time there and really enjoyed the the space. Once again, I was amazed at the audience: the concert started at 10:30PM and was again a full house, with people bringing children and even much older people in attendance.  It made me think a lot about the history of this festival and how generations of people have grown up with this. (It’s amazing to me to think that composers here have such an event happen every year…).  I’ve noticed too that most of the audience is Polish (I hear English spoken here and there but only a handful of people) and would have hoped that more people abroad would be here to attend this as I think it’s a really special and wonderful event and I have not seen anything like it elsewhere.

The theme of the concert was “Polish Songs” and touched on ideas of the relationship of old folk songs to today.  Each of the pieces/performances last night tapped into the idea in some way.  The performances were:

  • Polish Songs
  • Jacek Kochan – Alsamples
  • Jaroslaw Siwinski – Polish Songs
  • Jerzy Kornowicz – Scenes from Boundless Realms

Some notes I took at the performance:

Polish Songs – wonderfully performed old polish songs by the Ensemble of International School of Traditional Music in Lublin, performed in the dark, wonderful rhythms and changing phrase lengths, many different types of songs (themes)


Kochan – reorganized with performers in center, long and felt even longer, somewhat composed free jazz with electronic amplification/processing and glitchy sounds, very loud and seemed to have balance issues in the mix, trumpet reminded me at times of “Bitches Brew” but with an experimental trumpeter at the wheel, never felt very cohesive like in the free jazz improvisations I’ve enjoyed in the past, singers came in near end but wasn’t really integrated into the piece, didn’t feel there was much listening as an ensemble and didn’t feel driven by intuition

Siwinski – tape piece, beginning was long a pulsating bass tone with some tones and some colored noise, tasteful, droney, very minimal, nice breath like noise gesture; near end got really loud and noisy as a section loops, ended with a vocal sample clip(perhaps other material derived from it?); was a bit tired at end of piece (12:50AM) and quick entry of loud part was a bit harsh; opening reminded me of Eliane Radigue but haven’t heard her stuff in a while

Kornowicz- a structured improvisation by group called Mud Cavaliers comprised of many well known Polish composers, different sections clearly demarcated, there were sections where the singers performed (were still in the dark); improvisation was very tastefully done, each performer played on their own but seemed also to be very aware of the group, some of the sections really rocked out (one had a sort of hardcore jungle beat that looped), very fun and also very musical

It was really nice to be out at this venue for the concert.  I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end as concert lasted until 2:00AM in the morning and I had gotten sick yesterday (still am a bit today), but I was very glad to have heard the Mud Cavaliers perform (reminded me of good times doing improvisation at BACSUG meetings with Jim and Matt). It was neat too that the singers were in the dark the whole night until the very end when the lights shown and they were somewhat revealed: performers of all ages and in normal clothes.  The idea of how folk music is still alive and is a part of the culture seemed really accented with that gesture.

After the concert we weren’t quite sure how to get back to our side of the river so we ended up walking a bit until we found a bus stop with a night bus.  Being a little chilly, we took the first bus to arrive and then got off sort of out of the way near the river.  Walking through the old town and through the city so late at night, it was amazing how quiet and still everything felt, and it reminded me of all the times I had stayed up so late into the nights when I was younger and worked away during that quiet and peaceful time…

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – X

The second concert yesterday was entitled “Kommander Kobayashi – Opera Saga, Series 2” and took place at the Teatr Wielki(Grand Theater, where the Opera performs).  Being my first time inside there I found it an amazingly large building, more amazing that the performance was on the third floor where they have an extra opera room for smaller opera, a somewhat recital hall size audience but with a still very large stage!

I arrived a little early and was reading the program: it as the second part in a three-part opera project where different composers each created a small opera episode for the same characters.  The general story was a science=fiction one where a crew of people were drifting in space aboard a ship though the story did have off-ship storylines.  The program notes included the backstory from the first part though I didn’t get to read it too deeply before watching the performance. I was expecting that the opera would be pretty fun and light and while quite fun I think the two composers did manage to bring a bit of depth to the characters and the music.

The episodes performed tonight were:

  • Siergiej Newski – The Destruction of Moskow Is Not a Solution
  • Aleksandra Gryka – SCREAM YOU

Some notes I took at the performance:

Newski – music very nicely done, story intro a little clumsy but appreciated to get the backstory, staging a little problematic due to where I was sitting (hard to see things sometimes), very nice use of subtle electronic sounds, music writing very nice, club scene a little strange to switch to recorded electronic pop music but sure what else one would do in that situation, very controlled delicate writing

Gryka – very fun, sort of music on the edge of disintegration, well sung and performed, a little looser in feel than the Newski and had some elements of free-jazz in feel, had a more circus feel to the story than the Newski

I really enjoyed these performances and the operas as a whole very much.  It was a lot of fun and the music was done very well by each composer in their own ways. I have to say that I find that the composers really did have a good command over the extended techniques and noise sources to make them really work (are these techniques really so “extended” anymore?) and had a lot of side thoughts about how composers in Europe must have a lot to draw upon within the realm of experience with instrumental techniques and timbres that the older generations have explored. I also noted to myself that most of the music I’ve heard this festival works with a mechanism of drama, sometimes a bit much but more often done simply quite well.  It’s something I enjoy (Crumb’s music does hold a very big place in my heart) and I find drawn to at times but at the same time it is perhaps not what I myself am after.  I did note to perhaps experiment once again in that area (Explorer II is shaping up to be something of this).

I also found that one aspect of the use of instruments I was really impressed with–not having thought about it so much in a long while–is how easy it is to write and have such a wide palette of sounds and articulations in terms of notating these ideas and how intuitive it is to imagine the sounds.  I myself have been exploring a very limited set of parameters and am committed to continuing that exploration, but the idea of analyzing the qualities of music notation (one gesture can create pitch and duration, articulation are separate and modify qualities of the notes, etc.) and seeing what has been done in the computer music world (i.e. lilypond) and see about either finding or creating  a system from what comes from my analysis.

An very enjoyable performance, good music, and much to think about…

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – IX

We ended up going to three concerts yesterday and not getting back until almost 3:00AM this morning! A very good day of concerts. The first concert at 4:30pm at the Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Concert Studio had a very interesting line up, as I was looking forward to hearing the Murail and the new version of Derive 2 by Pierre Boulez. The concert was a little problematic however as it seemed they decorated the room like a rock concert and filmed it for television (I’m assuming for television), which introduced a number of issues. The pieces performed were:

  • Tristan Murail – Winter Fragments
  • Anna Zawadzka-Golosz – The Suite of Space
  • Pierre Boulez – Dérive 2 (2006 version)

Some notes I took at the concert:

Murail – very nice piece, electronics seemed a little out of balance (loud), reverb felt a little thick, TV producer talked a little too loudly especially at very last moment of piece (people chastised him afterwards), wonderful sound world, the ring-modulated piano was a nice sound (at least, it sounded like it was ring modulated)

Zawadzka-Golosz – lots of notes but not much of an identity, reminded me of improv where people do not listen to each other, frenetic, wasn’t drawn in, realized that all the backdrops they used for the TV production killed the acoustics of the hall (didn’t notice earlier as the previous piece was amplified)

Boulez – even more notes, endless, very rhythmic and angular, I very much liked when the ideas transform between instruments in a sort of timbral exchange (i.e. violin to oboe); piece felt mechanical and constructed; reminded me of the idea I’ve had that “complex actions yield simple results” and vice versa; had a sort of minimalist drive in that a lot of things going on at the eighth and sixteenth-note level but since the timing of phrases were so angular and periodicity purposefully hidden (from the program notes), the perception of time seemed to only have one layer at the very fast tempo making it very exhausting to hear

The concert had a rock show setup: the first piece had really bright blue lights that were very distracting and reminded me of the lights on the space ship in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, the second piece had more subdued red lighting but then I realized the backdrops had killed the acoustics, and the last piece had the same lights as the first but in bright red. The performers seemed a bit tight with all of the microphones and cameras around and I felt especially bad for the pianist as there was a camera on long arm that would move within inches of her hands or face or to above her head (at one point in the second piece it actually hit the piano as it moved). I’m sure it will be mastered for a broadcast and will sound great for that, but I was a little disappointed that hall sounded so dry live.

The repsonse to the Boulez seemed a little lukewarm as the audience clapping was moderate and not enough to call the conductor back out. Most of the audience left quickly to the metro to get to the next concert across town at the Teatr Wielki for the next concert…

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – VIII

The second concert of yesterday that took place at the Academy of Music really amazed me as it started at 10:30PM and ended up lasting until 1:00AM in the morning, all with a full house! The audience looked a bit younger though and perhaps there were a number of students from the school there. The pieces that were performed yesterday were:

  • Luigi Nono – Das atmende Klarsein
  • Helmut Lachenmann – TemA
  • Luciano Berio – Thema(Omaggio a Joyce)
  • Magdalena Dlugosz – Silent Asphodels
  • John Cage – Imaginary Landscape No. 4

Some notes on the pieces:

Nono – form was C-F-C-F-C-F-C-F where C = Chorus and F = Flute (bass flute), mostly very long held quiet chords in the chorus part moving to other long held chords; flute was noise and effects, then held tones, then noise and effects, then really amplified noise and effects; electronic processing was very minimal until end; audience did not feel like they were into it; I was a little tired at this point in the evening so the long piece felt long and a little too slow though the piece did get into somewhat of a rhythm and I can imagine a different experience in a different context (not late at night and tired and already after a previous concert); chords did feel somewhat mechanical and unnatural in some way; would very much like to find a recording to listen to this piece again

Lachenmann – an absolutely exceptional performance, completely drawn in, some laughing in audience at gestures, very musical piece, fascinating yet a different sound world than mine with all of the effects and noise and quick-cut gestures, performers did an absolutely excellent job, completely convincing performance


Berio – an absolute classic, I had not listened to the piece in a long time and was amazed at how many moments of the piece I knew, it’s so well composed; listening to this I felt that the Lachenmann had many similarities in gestures and composition of his piece, interesting to think of tape techniques of Berio in acoustic-instrument realm of Lachenmann

Dlugosz – very nice first minute with flute and electronics, afterwards for next 20 minutes electronics became very heavy, everything lost in in a fog of sound, deep bass throughout, phasey metallic sound reminiscent of metasynth or extremely time stretched sounds, sitting too close to right side a few rows from speakers, flute and cello were playing constantly and weren’t discernible in the sound

Cage – very nicely done, great listening experience, played again as an encore; bits of laughter as to be expected (a good thing I didn’t understand any of the Polish that was spoken on the radio), not sure how many people were really listening or were just looking for comedy, wonder if Cage is taken seriously anymore as a listening experience or if people consider just comedic; thinking of Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” which is humorous but really so incredibly serious…

I think that the late night concerts at the Festival are generally a bit more on the experimental side and it certainly seemed so after going to yesterday’s concert (we hadn’t been able to attend any of the other late night concerts so far at the festival). I very much enjoyed this concert, though ending with the Cage, I felt somewhat disturbed by the audience reaction. Over the years I’ve oscillated in my enjoyment on Cage’s music, though yesterday I found myself very much drawn into the sound world (thinking of it, very similar to Berio and Lachenmann in many ways). The impression I got was that the audience experienced the piece as some sort of entertainment and not a profound audible experience, listening not so much to experience the sound but rather to find humor in what these people were doing on stage. The boisterous applause afterwards somehow felt cheap, in some way a validation of entertainment over art, but perhaps it was just a wrong impression and the audience did in fact find the piece both humorous and profound. I did wonder though how Cage is perceived today, as a person of words, or really as a person of sound…

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – VII

The first concert tonight was one of orchestral music at the Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Concert Studio. The pieces performed were:

  • Steve Reich – Three Movements
  • Agata Zubel – Symphony No. 2
  • Zbigniew Bujarski – Peirene
  • John Adams – Slonimsky’s Earbox

Notes on the pieces:

Reich – not a tight performance at all, takes a great deal of focus and listening to play this well, pianos were not setup with mallet keyboard in center but rather off to the side which perhaps explains a little of the the timing issues,

Zubel – orchestra surrounded audience, wasn’t convinced by piece or performance, trumpet was maybe 3 meters away on left, loud sections made for foggy sound in spatialized setting, nice sounds and ideas but seemed a little too active for me, quiet sections could not hear performers on other side of hall (perhaps performance issues?)

Bujarski – Cinematic, three movements attaca but ending gestures so big in sections it would have been nice to have space afterwards, near beginning some of the gestures reminded me of Bartok, later the piece was very reminiscent of Debussy’s “La Mer”, open-spaced harmonies throughout, epic quality in tone, not much small ensemble writing (reduced strings, one on a part, solo instruments) or cross-family writing (i.e. trumpet and flute, oboe and trombone)

Adams – timing issues made it difficult for everything to be heard and rhythmic drive to form, reminded me somewhat of Torke, light fare, unfocused sound

As time is one of the biggest concerns of mine in music I find that I’m particularly sensitive to timing in music and so had a difficult time with the performances by the orchestra tonight (Symphonic Orchestra of the Acadmey of Music in Krakow); perhaps they are just a bit young or were nervous, but I think the minimalist pieces tonight require a great deal of focus and confidence to pull them off and it just didn’t quite happen for me.

Regarding the Zubel, it was actually the piece I was most interested to hear tonight. Last year I had picked up a CD with a piece of hers which I really enjoyed (can’t remember which CD, but it is a part of a series with Agnieszka Duczmal conducting). I was a little disappointed though in the piece tonight but am not sure where it didn’t work, whether it was something inherent in the piece or somehting in the performance. The stage had a small subset of the strings and four percussionists and the rest of the orchestra were in a single line that completely surrounded the audience. Unfortunately as we were sitting near the left-side and very close to a loud trumpet player, I spent a great deal of time just covering my left ear and worry about hearing damage. The piece has some echo-like spatial effects carrying musical ideas around the circle which seemed to take too long and wouldn’t have been repeated so much if it didn’t need to get around such a big circle. Also, I think that in a setting like that where there is a nice but not insignficant length of reverb, having sounds coming from all around and not performed in time lead to a rather foggy sound where it all sort of masked each other and was hard to discern much.

However, I’d like to believe my response to the Zubel was a matter of where we sat and the performers tonight, and that if we had sit more centrally and if the performers were a little more professional that I would have a different response to the piece, as I really do like the other piece I heard of hers very much. I’ll be looking forward to having a chance to listen to this piece again whenever that may be.

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – Music on Internet Conference – II

Today was the second and final day of the “Music on Internet” conference. The presentations today started off with artist’s perspective (composer, sound artist, performer), followed by different Polish music people (a representative of POLMIC, one of the founders of merlin.pl, the head of onet-plejer, and one of the founders of DUX records), then the last session was one of people discussing the Internet as a means to reach people (a general presentation on the state of music business and how the Internet is playing a role now, a presentation on podcasting, and one on a music site to sell/promote music).

There was a lot of concern over digital sales, and by the end of the conference I think the discussion really came to point out the generational differences on the perception of music and how it is consumed (something to buy and physically own versus something to listen to and have access to). I felt that a some of the presenters really weren’t aware of all the things going on the Internet except by what they heard (didn’t use themselves), though I was very much impressed with Scott Cohen’s presentation on “The Orchard” where he is a VP at in London (I think a VP, but regardless, a high up player there). He seemed to me the guy who most “got it” and was really discussing the developing issues on music promotion and the change of business and how marketing and sales of music is fundamentally changing, as well as how we discover new music today.

How we discover music today became a really interesting topic in my mind as I was constantly thinking about how does art music separate itself from all the other music out there (and it’s really all out there) and that while those involved with art music may seem to think that it is a cultural given that it is of value that I think it really is not a given. The social aspect of sharing recommendations with friends as well as viewing listening trends to find other music one would like became very fascinating to me, as things like getting published on a label or even being mentioned in a journal become less factors in bringing attention to one’s music.

In the end, one of the things I took away from all this was that I am not really interested in making a financial profit for my music as I write it for the purpose of art and not money. However, I am interested in my music reaching others and that perhaps one of the things to help others give my music a chance if they have never heard any art music is to explain some of my intentions on what it is I am interested in and how music plays a part in that and in my life.

The conference was a really neat collection of viewpoints on music on the Internet and was really glad to have been able to attend, as I felt it would have been appreciated by just about anyone involved with music. There was a lot of really great practical information and I hope that in the coming weeks I can take some of the ideas that were brought up and work with them in my ways of working with music on the Internet.

Warsaw Autumn 2006 – VI

I was running late to the concert last night, as in the tram I took took longer than I had thought it would, I got out a stop too early and realized it after the tram closed its doors, and then proceeded to run as fast I could to the concert.  I got to the seat in time and sat there exhausted and winded and coughing, so out of breath.  As the piece started and I was still winded, I could hardly focus on the piece as I was doing everything I could simply to control my breath and try not to cough.  It was unfortunate as I think this was an incredibly nice piece:

  • Salvatore Sciarrino – Quaderno di strada

Some notes on the piece:

lots of extended techniques, the effects were not simply effects but really a part of the sound fabric of the piece, on the brink of silence, fragile, beautiful writing, really understands the flavors(sounds) well, reminded me alot of Crumb but different material, complex sounds and noises were given space to actually speak and be heard,  the baritone (Otto Katzameier) and the ensemble (Algoritmo Ensemble, Musica Centrum Orchestra) performed excellently

A really gorgeous piece, I only wish I was in a better state to listen to it when I was there.  I have not heard anything by Sciarrino before, but am definitely interested to listen to more of his work and to learn more about the composer.  Very beautiful sense of time…