Saturday, November 28, 2009

This week I listened to

Belle Virginie: musique pour la Nouvelle France
Le Concert de l'Hostel Dieu/Franck-Emmanuel Comte

This is fantastic, one of my favourite releases of the year. Inspired by the possibly fictional French buccaneer Le Golif, it's a selection of folk music, sea shanties, and the like, but approached from the classical side of the street. It's a mix (a crossover, even) that works wonderfully: lusty choruses are leavened by a countertenor, and on the other hand there's still a place in the music for the accordion and the Jews harp. You know what, I'm not going to say any more, and instead I direct you to the album page on MySpace, where you can hear the first three tracks.

Lamentations: Victoria, Gesualdo, Palestrina, White
Nordic Voices

Or "that depressing music", as my mother calls it. Well, yes, they are lamentations, but that didn't stop these Renaissance composers from producing sublime beauty. There's just 6 singers in Nordic Voices, but they make a marvellous rich sound. Not in the least bit depressing.

Vivaldi: Concerti per violino III, 'Il ballo'
Duilio M. Galfetti; I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis

Everything fizzes here. I'm listening now, randomly, to the 3rd movement of the first concerto on the disc, RV352, and it's got such joyful spontaneity in it. They really do sound like they're exuberantly making it up as they go along. Sheer pleasure from start to finish. I see that five of the seven concertos aren't listed on ArkivMusic, which just goes to show that undiscovered treasures always lie in wait.

Carter: Piano music
Ursula Oppens

I hate to end on a downer, but there you go. I've tried to like Carter's music, but it just doesn't make much impression on me. If I better understood the technical aspects, would I like it? Maybe. But it just doesn't have the visceral appeal, which has little to do with technicalities. Right now it seems wholly arbitrary - I just wonder, why these notes? (And in one stroke Nereffid disqualifies himself from ever uttering a word about modern music again. Hurrah!)

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