Thursday, September 17, 2009

A handful of gems

Last night I did some catching up on long-overdue listening - to wit, some "sampler" CDs I burned in the wake of last January's Nereffid's Guide Awards. Eight months ago!
A few highlights, all of them single tracks:

Kaija Saariaho: Notes on Light. IV. Eclipse. (emusic link)
Great tone-painting - wonderfully captures the fading light, the falling temperature, and the overall weirdness of a solar eclipse.

Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant. III. Joyous Reverb. (emusic link)
A good, lively piece, but even better is that three minutes in, we hear shimmering strings, slowly singing "In dulci jubilo", chorale-style. An unexpectedly lovely and, yes, joyous moment.

Laurence Crane: Derridas. Jacques Derrida goes to the beach. (emusic link)
Minimalist piano that could in theory be merely pretty, like Einaudi, but it has a relentless percussiveness about it that I like.

Mark Applebaum: Martian Anthropology 7. (emusic link)
Modern music's strange, isn't it? This is just tweets and clunks and burbles, which usually I don't like. But I like this one - it makes me smile.

That was the modern section. Here's some songs:

Schubert: Wanderers Nachtlied I, D224 - Christopher Maltman; Julius Drake. (emusic link)
Well, you can pretty much pick Schubert's lieder at random and find a gem, can't you? The halting piano ending is what does it for me here.

Schubert: Winterreise. "Der Leiermann" - Christoph Pregardien; Pentaedre. (emusic link)
This is a chamber version, adding an extra layer onto an already haunting song. Has a touch of Mahler to it, perhaps?

Elgar: Sea Pictures. "Where corals lie" - Konrad Jarnot; Reinild Mees (emusic link)
Hey Janet Baker, you don't own Sea Pictures! This one has an RVW kind of vibe to it in its baritone-and-piano form.

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