Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Music Moving the Clouds: Playlist for Beethoven's Breakfast March 9, 2009

www.cjly.net at 6:30 am Mondays PDT

Joanna MacGregor: Hugh Ashton's Ground, Incarnation II, Endgame, Even Tenor, and Forlorn Hope Fantasy from Playing (Sound Circus)

"I heard it (Incarnation II by Somei Satoh) first being performed to a tiny audience in London one freezing January about twelve years ago," writes Joanna MacGregor.

"I wrote to the pianist, who turned out to live in Vienna, who kindly sent me a photocopy o
f the piece, a single sheet of simple harmonic progressions, with figures underneath and dynamics-- no metronome mark, no written instructions, no biographical material, nothing. No dictionary contained any information about Somei Satoh; apparently Sony publishes his music but whenever I rang the voice at the other end of the phone had never heard of him. I was forever putting in orders for CDs that never arrived.

"However, after years of picking up snippets of knowledge (usually in casual conve
rsations or on the internet) I began to uncover that Satoh's work often uses Buddhist chant and quasi-electronic effects. In 1981 he placed eight speakers high on a northern Japanese mountain range above a valley, and waited for the fog, sound, and laser lights to move the clouds in various formations...."

That was written in 2001. Satoh is not so obscure now. You can read about him in Wikipedia or here. Joanna MacGregor is a British concert pianist who does not stick entirely with the classical repertoire. The music in this CD spans 6 centuries (from William Byrd and John Dowland to John Cage) and includes a duet with tabla player Talvin Singh and South African jazz pianist Moses Malelekwa.

Jacqueline du Pre with the London Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim: Boccherini: Cello Concerto in B flat from Hadyn and Boccerhini Cello Concertos (EMI)

There are some musicians who are so talented at an early age and so mature in their attitudes to their art that people say they were born fully formed.

The violinist Pinchas Zukerman, who worked with Jacqueline du Pre a lot, said she seemed to have practiced and perfected a piece before she sat down to rehearse it. "It was done," he said. "It was done before she came in. In fact I think she was done before she was born." Watch him talking about this in the second video link below.

From her teenage years she was a soloist on the world stage, playing with many of the worlds most renowned orchestras and conductors. She stopped playing at age 28 because she was ill with multiple sclerosis. She died at the age of 42.

The feature film Hilary and Jackie is about her. Watch her on You Tube playing or in a trailer for a documentary film.

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