Music for Hurricanes (2012)

On the occasion of hurricane Sandy’s, aka Frankenstorm‘s, arrival. There are currently a slew of performers hauling the cello from the dusty classical closet and onto the rockpopmetalbluegrass stage.  My goal is to create a comprehensive list of cellists–because I haven’t already found one myself–who walk on the wild side.  I plan to update this […]

Le Quattro Stagioni

German-born British composer Max Richter’s re- (or de) composed Four Seasons by beloved red head Antonio Vivaldi. In this reworking, the Möbius sequences of Vivaldi and Bach meet the static harmony of minimalist composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich. If you enjoy hearing classic works from a fresh perspective, listen to the other “recomposed” works from […]

Point Taken

Alex Ross summarizes the structural problem ailing contemporary classical music: Wouldn’t it be great if the media were covering significant new works by living composers, instead of reporting the discovery of an exceedingly minor piece by Beethoven? As an aside, wouldn’t it also be great if we could all just get along… Minnesota Orchestra violist Sam Bergman and his brothers […]

Symphony of the Birds

This stunning “symphony” is pieced together from bird calls recorded by Jerry and Norma Stilwell. Jim Fassett then overlayed the sped-up and slowed-down calls to simulate the varied timbres of an orchestra. The work is divided into three parts–Andante e lirico, Buffo, and Misterioso–and premiered on Fassett’s Sunday afternoon CBS radio program. Messiaen would have been […]

Silence Is Golden

“I have nothing to say and I am saying it.” This is what I know about sound… for now. I’ll assume Earthlings have always thought critically about sound.  I might be giving us too much credit… Bernie Krause, the author of The Great Animal Orchestra (2012), started his career as a session guitarist for Motown recordings–he […]

The Tuning of the World

Does every musical genre boast “fathers,” “grandmothers” and “kings?” Sure, pop has its legends, classical  its masters, and funk, “the hardest working man in showbusiness,” but if the esoteric wasteland of academia follows suit, then acoustic ecology has Raymond Murray Schafer. Schafer on a soundwalk. Born in Canada in 1933, R. Murray Schafer is a man […]