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Gustav Leonhardt, last recital

On December 12, 2011, world-famous harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt played what appears to be the last recital of his sixty-one years long career in the Théâtre des Bouffes in Paris. Clips from the concert were uploaded on youtube yesterday. Suitable for the sad event, a melancholic Prélude by d'Anglebert first. [more inside]
posted by Namlit on Dec 14, 2011 - 9 comments

Domenico Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas

Combining the architectural grace of Bach with the sprightly melodicism of Mozart, the 555 keyboard sonatas (3 MB PDF) of Domenico Scarlatti are a cornucopia of exquisite music*. The first musician to record all of them was the colorful Scott Ross - who died of AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of 38. Here he performs one of the masterpieces, K.209, in Le Château de Maisons-Laffitte on a harpsichord built by David Ley. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 9, 2011 - 29 comments

John Zorn's "Spillane"

Using his "file card" technique to create the title piece "Spillane" (whereby musical ideas written on note cards form the basis for discreet sound blocks arranged by way of a unifying theme), John Zorn forges an impressionistic narrative out of stretches of live-music jazz, blues, country, lounge, thrash, etc., and a variety of samples and spoken dialogue inspired by Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer detective novels (recited by John Lurie). - AllMusic [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 2, 2011 - 7 comments

Other Minds

Music From Other Minds is a radio program of art music by living composers from the folks behind the other minds festival.
posted by idiopath on Nov 30, 2011 - 3 comments

Horowitz in Moscow

In 1986,[Vladimir] Horowitz announced that he would return to the Soviet Union for the first time since 1925 to give recitals in Moscow and Leningrad. In the new atmosphere of communication and understanding between the USSR and the USA, these concerts were seen as events of political, as well as musical, significance. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 25, 2011 - 13 comments

Carl Ruggles

In 95 years of life, Carl Ruggles composed only 84 minutes of music - including his masterpiece for orchestra, "Sun-Treader". Charles Seeger called it "dissonant counterpoint". Charles Ives called it simply "strong, masculine music". In 1980, Michael Tilson Thomas recorded all of it for a long-out-of-print 2 LP set that has never been reissued on CD. Today, with almost none of the music from this significant American composer commercially available in any form, the Internet Archive has performed a valuable cultural service by hosting a 24-bit lossless rip of the Tilson Thomas set. It is powerful stuff.
posted by Trurl on Nov 13, 2011 - 32 comments

Bring Me The Head Of Franz Joseph Haydn

Perhaps you're wondering why Haydn's grave contains two heads... [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 7, 2011 - 17 comments

Music Ngram Viewer

The Music Ngram Viewer from Peachnote tracks appearances of any given note or chord sequence in a corpus of 60,000 optically scanned public-domain classical scores, ranging from the 17th century to the present -- a la what Google Ngram Viewer does for words and phrases. A fuller description with examples. And if you don't like the Google-esque GUI, you can download the raw data and mess with it yourself. (Via Music Hack Day Boston.)
posted by escabeche on Nov 6, 2011 - 10 comments

Bach is easy. If she brings him up, you just smile and you say: “Ahh, Bach.”

Bach as graph. -- An interactive visualization of the Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude.
posted by crunchland on Nov 4, 2011 - 51 comments

Shostakovich: the string quartets

Shostakovich: the string quartets (previously and way previously ) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 29, 2011 - 22 comments

Arvo Pärt

[Arvo] Pärt’s mature style was inaugurated in 1976 with a small piano piece, “Für Alina”, that remains one of his best-known works. It is governed by the compositional system that he called “tintinnabuli,” derived from the Latin word for “bells.” The tintinnabuli method pairs each note of the melody with a note that comes from a harmonizing chord, so they ring together with bell-like resonance. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 27, 2011 - 53 comments

Complete recordings of the Beethoven piano sonatas

Artur Schnabel was the first pianist to record all of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas. He would not be the last. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 20, 2011 - 22 comments

Ladies And Gentlemen, The Kronos Quartet

In their 25 year career San Fransisco-based Kronos Quartet might be most famous for creating the go-to dramatic movie trailer music but they've recently courted controversy with their latest album, 9/11, with Steve Reich (NPR First Listen). The album is another in a long line of collaborations with composers such as Phillip Glass, Terry Riley, and Pēteris Vasks. And like any good instrumental ensemble, they've covered Hendrix, Sigur Ros, and Tom Waits. Oh, and they've been on Sesame Street. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 17, 2011 - 34 comments

Iraqi Maqam

The maqam al-'iraqi is considered the most noble and perfect form of the maqam. As the name implies, it is native to Iraq; it has been known for approximately four hundred years in Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk. The maqam al-'iraqi has been passed on orally through the Iraqi masters of the maqam, who cultivate the form especially in Baghdad. The maqam is performed by a singer (qari') and three instrumentalists playing santur (box zither), juzah (spike fiddle), and tablah or dunbak (goblet drum).
posted by Trurl on Sep 11, 2011 - 5 comments

911

HappeningRightNow-Filter: New York's Wordless Music Orchestra is premiering an orchestral arrangement of William Basinki's Disintegration Loops live from The Temple Of Dendur. Stream here.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas on Sep 11, 2011 - 16 comments

glauben machen

SLYT The Brandt, Braur, Frick ensemble and Emika performing her song "Pretend". [more inside]
posted by titus-g on Aug 30, 2011 - 10 comments

Kristian Bezuidenhout introduces Mozart's fortepiano

Kristian Bezuidenhout introduces Mozart's fortepiano [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 21, 2011 - 18 comments

Riffing on riffing

"I was unaware, in my awe of adults playing folk songs, that they would push me into a different world altogether, a world in which only some would ultimately be deemed worthy to publicly perform music: those who were ‘musically talented’. And that talent was determined by one’s ability to imitate, precisely, music written by others." How I Learned To Play Guitar
posted by mippy on Jul 26, 2011 - 48 comments

The Avant-Garde Project, an online lossless music LP archive

The Avant Garde Project is a series of recordings of 20th-century classical, experimental, and electroacoustic music digitized from LPs whose music has in most cases never been released on CD, and so is effectively inaccessible to the vast majority of music listeners today. Until now, of course. [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Jun 28, 2011 - 17 comments

"Ride of the Valkyries" arranged for 8 pianos

Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" arranged for 8 pianos - performed by Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Claude Frank, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, James Levine, Mikhail Pletnev, and Staffan Scheja. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jun 24, 2011 - 24 comments

You can bang your head to Beethoven

George Mason Green Machine athletic band plays Killing In The Name Of... Welcome To The Jungle played on two cellos. One by Apocalyptica. The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain plays the theme from Shaft.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jun 10, 2011 - 16 comments

Where's the drop?

The BBC Philharmonic and Nero present A Dubstep Symphony.
posted by empath on Jun 7, 2011 - 39 comments

Roger Moore's Carnival of Animals

Sir Roger Moore (recently on MeFi) performs recitations to introduce each segment of Saint-Saëns' 1886 suite Le carnaval des animaux ("The Carnival of Animals") [more inside]
posted by hermitosis on May 10, 2011 - 5 comments

tonalist's videos: contemporary music in Moscow

tonalist (aka composer Pavel Karmanov) is a YouTube user who has uploaded numerous videos featuring performances of contemporary/classical music from the former Soviet Union... [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on May 9, 2011 - 3 comments

Classical Music: a history according to YouTube

The Australian ABC's Limelight magazine has put together a potted history of music, with video examples (40LYTP). [more inside]
posted by coriolisdave on May 5, 2011 - 9 comments

Top US orchestra faces bankruptcy

One of the US's world-class orchestras ... has decided it must re-organize to survive. 'A big orchestra has never done this before.' Led by Stokowski, the Philadelphia Orchestra recorded the music for Disney's groundbreaking 1940 animated feature Fantasia.

The 111-year-old ensemble acquired a top-notch reputation while under the baton of Eugene Ormandy between 1936-1980. There's been "a 'tremendous decline' in audiences over the past five years." And $33M in revenue won't cover $46M in expenses.
posted by Twang on Apr 16, 2011 - 48 comments

Acoustic Version of C418's "Sweden" from Minecraft

A very eloquent and tranquil performance of a young chap from Sweden playing C418's "Sweden" that you may have heard from Minecraft on classical guitar (SLYT)
posted by Cogentesque on Apr 14, 2011 - 6 comments

Symphonic Youtube

Is the Youtube Symphony Orchestra a viable model for traditional symphony orchestras in the West? It's only been around for a couple of years but seems to be causing enough of a stir to be taken pretty seriously.
posted by joboe on Apr 7, 2011 - 45 comments

Perlman and Zukerman in London - 1997

Halvorsen's Duo for Violin and Viola (after Handel), played by Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman in London, 1977.
posted by beisny on Mar 29, 2011 - 8 comments

Vitamin Records: String Quartet Covers

Looking for something familiar with a twist? Best told from their About Us Page: Vitamin Records was formed in Los Angeles in 1999 to provide music lovers with high quality string quartet, lounge and electronic tributes to major pop and rock artists. Vitamin's mission is to offer fans exciting versions of their favorite songs performed in new musical contexts. [more inside]
posted by filmgeek on Mar 23, 2011 - 22 comments

Uke Virtuoso

Taimane's Toccata. Via [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 15, 2011 - 22 comments

Bird songs of Messiaen

The bird songs of Messiaen as transcribed by Messiaen.
posted by ennui.bz on Mar 8, 2011 - 8 comments

IMSLP copyright clashes

... the International Music Score Library Project, has trod in the footsteps of Google Books and Project Gutenberg and grown to be one of the largest sources of scores anywhere. It claims to have 85,000 scores, or parts for nearly 35,000 works, with several thousand being added every month. That is a worrisome pace for traditional music publishers, whose bread and butter comes from renting and selling scores in expensive editions backed by the latest scholarship. More than a business threat, the site has raised messy copyright issues and drawn the ire of established publishers. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 22, 2011 - 23 comments

It's got a good beat and you can dance to it, finally.

Vadrum drums over some familiar classics ... Mozart's overture to The Marriage of Figaro (original). The William Tell overture (original). Rossini's overture to The Barber of Seville — you'll recognize it at 1:20 (original). Mozart's "Rondo Alla Turca" a.k.a. "Turkish March," from Piano Sonata No. 11, K. 331 (original). [more inside]
posted by John Cohen on Dec 29, 2010 - 19 comments

Mass Takemitsu dump.

Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) was an avante-garde Japanese composer who took influences from jazz, pop music, and traditional Japanese music. In his lifetime he composed over 100 film scores, and 130 concert pieces. Just last week, there was a tribute to his work at Carnegie Hall as part of their JapanNYC Festival. A documentary about his work is available on Veoh (requires Veoh plugin) and on Youtube (1 2 3 4 5 6). [more inside]
posted by azarbayejani on Dec 28, 2010 - 8 comments

Best Music Writing 2010

Best Music Writing 2010 - Links inside! [more inside]
posted by chaff on Dec 16, 2010 - 15 comments

San Francisco Symphony

Keeping Score is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore signature works by composers Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich in depth, and at their own pace. The interactive audio and video explores the composers’ scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical back stories. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 12, 2010 - 7 comments

R.I.P. Henryk Górecki

Composer Henryk Górecki, known for his choral and orchestral works in the "sacred minimalist" style, has died. He was best known for his Symphony #3, "Sorrowful Songs," (YT sample) premiered in the U.S. in 1994. Górecki's Symphony #4, scheduled to premier in 2010, was postponed because of the composer's extended illness, will not be completed.
posted by aught on Nov 12, 2010 - 65 comments

Pianist's Hidden Identities

Classical pianists tend to be identified by their favorite repertoire. Thus, Murray Perahia got stamped as a Mozart and Schumann pianist in his early career, and people raised their eyebrows when he embarked on Liszt and other heavy repertoire. And Rudolf Serkin is today perhaps known best for his Beethoven, and not for the Chopin etudes he played in his earlier years. Searching for something totally else, I stumbled upon a few private recordings by Clara Haskil [more inside]
posted by Namlit on Nov 7, 2010 - 5 comments

Tickling the fancy of those who tickle the ivories

There's never been a better time to be a curious classical pianist. A few YouTube users have been uploading synchronized scores to dozens of interesting pieces, usually virtuosic and/or obscure, and often out of print or otherwise unavailable. There are all sorts of treasures, but perhaps the most notable scores are those of a lost generation of post-Scriabin Russian composers whose avant-garde output was later suppressed by the Soviet government.
posted by dfan on Nov 4, 2010 - 15 comments

Name a piece, anyone...!

Richard Grayson is a (now retired) composer and classical improviser. To give you just a taste, Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" in the style of a Tango, "Heart and Soul" a la Mahler, "Take the A Train" as a Chopin Funeral March.
posted by non-kneebiter on Oct 13, 2010 - 43 comments

Joan Sutherland (1926-2010)

Dame Joan Sutherland has died at the age of 83. One of the most remarkable female opera singers of the 20th century, she was dubbed La Stupenda by a La Fenice audience in 1960 after a performance as Alcina. She possessed a voice of beauty and power, combining extraordinary agility, accurate intonation, "pin point staccatos, a splendid trill and a tremendous upper register, although music critics often complained about the imprecision of her diction. Her friend Luciano Pavarotti once called Sutherland the "Voice of the Century", while Montserrat Caballé described the Australian's voice as being like "heaven".
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 11, 2010 - 16 comments

What's wrong with classical music?

"What's wrong with classical music?" That article (1) diagnoses why classical music -- both old and contemporary -- has lost its cultural vitality and (2) looks at some proposals for reviving it. [more inside]
posted by John Cohen on Oct 4, 2010 - 186 comments

Classical Gas

Don't delay. Operators are standing by. For the next 30 hours or so you can still get in on the movement to free music. Musopen is a nonprofit organization raising money to record out-of-copyright classical music. They plan to post the results online for free. As of now, they plan to record the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky and for every additional $1000 donated they will record another set of compositions such as Mozart’s violin sonatas. They've done it before. Ain't it a gas?
posted by DaddyNewt on Sep 13, 2010 - 33 comments

Shostakovich Symphonies, oh, and also Bruckner

If you have some time that needs to be filled with music, you might want to listen to all the symphonies of Shostakovich and perhaps all of Bruckner's as well - Bernard Haitink's recordings of these two cycles are available for listening on myspace (of all places).
posted by Wolfdog on Aug 17, 2010 - 8 comments

"I soon learned that if I was asked to play something over again, it meant that they didn't understand it, not that they liked it."

"But this wasn't quite enough and so then I got the idea of having all thirteen of the lowest tones of the piano played together... In other words, I was inventing a new musical sound later to be called 'tone clusters'... Anyway, this was my professional debut as a composer." Henry Cowell's musical autobiography. Cowell was one of the most important figures in 20th-century American music, described by John Cage as "the open sesame for new music in America." In this hour-long program recorded four years before his death in 1965, compositions from every stage in Cowell's career are contextualized and discussed by the man himself.
posted by No-sword on Aug 8, 2010 - 10 comments

Alkan

"In a way I wish it did not require such a formidable technique, because I do not really enjoy sweating over this music." This is virtuoso pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin speaking of Charles-Valentin Alkan, the Romantic pianist said to have made even Liszt nervous, and whose exhilarating works fell into obscurity due to their rigorous technical demands. For a warm-up, here's Alkan's major etude "Allegro barbaro", as performed by Jack Gibbons. A machine recording of his piece Le Chemin de Fer in which you can see the keys being pressed. Recordings of Youtube exist of people attempting his near-impossible Scherzo focoso (and, for comparison, a mechanical rendition of the same). And for encore, here is Hamelin again playing Les Quatre Ages, frequently considered Alkan's most mature work, a sonata depicting the four ages of man.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jul 29, 2010 - 20 comments

An often neglected impressionistic composer

Frederic Mompou (1893 -1987) composed many often exquisite and mysteriously adventurous minatures for piano. Born in Barcelona, he then went to Conservatory and spent several decades in Paris, and of course was influenced first by Gabriel Faure and Chopin, then Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc, and notably Erik Satie. Yet, unlike them, he never quite became a "household name" in classical music. [more inside]
posted by Seekerofsplendor on Jul 22, 2010 - 13 comments

The Sound of Muzik

Classical Music’s New Golden Age
posted by Gyan on Jul 21, 2010 - 63 comments

What is a symphony?

Imagine this: 'This evening we are going to hear the 2nd Symphony by Claude Debussy, the Austrian première of Insect Life by the Finnish opera composer Kalevi Aho, and the 2nd Symphony by Bela Bartók.’ What is a symphony? What does the concept mean nowadays? And what does it mean, to compose symphonically?
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 29, 2010 - 45 comments

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