Monday, March 23, 2009
eighth blackbird - Fred: Music of Frederick Rzewski (listen) This is an amiable and curious collection of amiable and curious music by a composer about whom the same could be said. The Pocket Symphony is collected of snippets: slight contemplative sections fade in, then fade out only to be replaced by a stirring string movement. The blank spaces here give this busy work the pacing it needs, keeping its dream logic at just enough distance to prevent one from picking it apart. eighth blackbird is one of many enterprising new music groups that might just save interesting sonic development from extinction; they perform the delicacies of Rzewski's music with humor (lots of bouncy spring noises in the third, or "C" movement) and sympathy. The only thing I can find wrong with any of this is the cover - with the group name eighth blackbird in lowercase and album title Fred, emblazoned in plain type over the stock picture of a sheep, I would have easily taken this for a cut-out record from a long forgotten 80's alternative band, one that might have toured with Counting Crows for a season and then withered into obscurity.
Arvo Pärt - In Principo (listen) This recent choral symphony by the mighty Estonian composer Arvo Pärt came up this weekend in the afore-blogged picnic discussions, and will be reviewed in detail elsewhere, but yeah, it is pretty tremendous while being tremendously pretty music. Here is the composer being interviewed by Björk, making this post a resident of Umlaut City. The interchange of their accents, sounding like a cartoon squirrel and owl discussing how you can "kill people with music," sin and Pinocchio against the backdrop of this most heavy music, begs to be experienced.