Oppressed by weltschmerz in the light of recent events? Staring out at leaden November skies? Then why not listen to a string quartet? So much fine music has been written for the enduring and flexible line-up of 2 violins, viola & cello, much of it anguished, sombre & tormented! One might begin near the beginning in the relatively cheerful & sunlit world of Joseph Haydn’s Op. 20 quartets (1772): here’s no. 4 from that set. A tip-of-the-iceberg selection of others… [more inside]
Barbara Hannigan performs György Ligeti's 'Le Grand Macabre' with the Gothenburg Symphony. [YouTube] [Wiki]
"A composer's dream : a fail-safe orchestra at one's fingertips obeying ever so gently to his every command : a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music. This is, in a nutshell what Pierre Bastien's "Mecanium" is all about" -Michel F. Côté. Watch him in action Live at Faster than Sound or enjoy a track from his album Mecanoid - Avid Diva. [more inside]
The Tone Generation is a radio series by Ian Helliwell 'looking at different themes or composers in the era of analogue tape and early synthesizer technology'. The original globe-trotting series: Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, USA, Canada, Rest of World. Bonus programmes: Expo 58, The RCA Synthesizer. All links are to MP3 files, except the first one. Alternatively, you can slurp down the lot in one go by subscribing to the podcast feed.
Edgard Varèse : Ionisation. Iannis Xenakis : Rebonds. György Ligeti : Artikulation and Poème Symphonique For 100 Metronomes. [NOTE: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
A video broadcast of György Ligeti's Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes (AVI, French), with helpful background on the controversial piece located here. For those who know French, you may also be interested in 1993's György Ligeti: Portrait, A Documentary by Michel Follin, showing Ligeti as "the displaced cosmopolitan", through the metaphor of train ride through the European countryside. These and many other avant-garde films can be found at Ubuweb, including features with William Burroughs, a recent "performance" of Cage's 4'33", and Varése and Le Corbusier's 1958 World Fair collaboration Poême électronique, a 400-speaker soundspace installation predating later, more experimental feedback pieces.