Current Listening: Lachenmann’s String Quartets from Arditti Quartet

When I first discovered Helmut Lachenmann’s music, my ears didn’t know what to do. There is not much that can be considered “conventional” in his works. Nevertheless, I believe that Lachenmann is a very important composer of our time (his birthday was actually just 2 days ago, on November 27th). This disc here from the … More Current Listening: Lachenmann’s String Quartets from Arditti Quartet

Favourite Recording: Carolin Widmann Plays Feldman’s Violin and Orchestra

Morton Feldman’s Violin and Orchestra might not be regularly performed, but it is a great composition that should not be ignored. It is a very delicate piece that is not quite a concerto (at least not in the conventional sense). This recording by ECM features Carolin Widmann as the soloist, supported by the Frankfurt Radio … More Favourite Recording: Carolin Widmann Plays Feldman’s Violin and Orchestra

Favourite Recording: Ligeti and Nørgård Violin Concertos from Christina Åstrand

I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I consider Ligeti’s Violin Concerto to be one of the best violin concertos ever written. Here, we have a fantastic performance of it by violinist Christina Åstrand. In addition to Ligeti’s concerto, we also have Per Nørgård’s Violin Concerto Helle Nacht and his Sonata The Secret … More Favourite Recording: Ligeti and Nørgård Violin Concertos from Christina Åstrand

Current Listening: Pestova and Meyer Play Stockhausen’s Mantra

It’s everyone’s favourite composer: Karlheinz Stockhausen! Okay, maybe not. Stockhausen’s music is notoriously difficult, but his Mantra is quite accessible compared to many of his other works (providing you have open ears). The work is scored for two pianos, with woodblocks, crotales, and electronics (ring modulation). The structure of the work is, of course, complex, … More Current Listening: Pestova and Meyer Play Stockhausen’s Mantra

Current Listening: Kopatchinskaja Plays Concertos by Kühr, Resch, Zykan

Sorry for the lack of updates lately! I’m moving soon, so I’ve been busy with many things. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with my complaining. Anyhow, this post is about Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s recording of violin concertos by three Austrian composers: Gerd Kühr, Gerald Resch, and Otto M. Zykan. Kopatchinskaja is one of the most … More Current Listening: Kopatchinskaja Plays Concertos by Kühr, Resch, Zykan

Favourite Recording: Hosokawa’s Horn, Piano and Cello Concertos

Toshio Hosokawa is a Japanese composer whose music combines influences from Western music and traditional Japanese music (and Japanese philosophy). He was also a student of the great Korean-born composer Isang Yun. This release by Naxos presents three beautifully crafted concerto works by Hosokawa: the Horn Concerto Moment of Blossoming (with soloist Stefan Dohr), the … More Favourite Recording: Hosokawa’s Horn, Piano and Cello Concertos

Current Listening: Akio Yashiro’s Piano Concerto, Symphony from Okada and Yuasa

Akio Yashiro was a Japanese composer who had studied under French composers such as Nadia Boulanger, Tony Aubin, and Olivier Messiaen. While he didn’t write many concert works, two compositions performed in this recording show that Yashiro was a very fine composer. Pianist Hiromi Okada is the soloist on the Piano Concerto, and both the … More Current Listening: Akio Yashiro’s Piano Concerto, Symphony from Okada and Yuasa

Current Listening: Salonen Conducts 3 Works by Kaija Saariaho

This is some incredibly good music! Kaija Saariaho is a brilliant Finnish composer who co-founded the “Ears Open” Society with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Magnus Lindberg, and other colleague composers. Three important compositions by her are performed beautifully in this recording by violinist Gidon Kremer, soprano Dawn Upshaw, cellist Anssi Karttunen, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, members of … More Current Listening: Salonen Conducts 3 Works by Kaija Saariaho

Favourite Recording: Salonen’s Foreign Bodies, Wing on Wing, and Insomnia

Esa-Pekka Salonen’s compositions never fail to impress me; they are all very original, fresh, and colourful. This recording presents three orchestral works by him, splendidly played by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra led by the composer himself: Foreign Bodies, Wing on Wing, and Insomnia. If you think some parts of Foreign Bodies sound like Salonen’s … More Favourite Recording: Salonen’s Foreign Bodies, Wing on Wing, and Insomnia

Current Listening: Howarth and Abbado Conduct 4 Works by Xenakis

Iannis Xenakis’ music is nowhere near being easy-listening, but he was a genius. He was undoubtedly a genius whose works are some of the most important of the contemporary period. This release by Decca features four orchestral works by him: Synaphaï, Aroura, Antikhthon, and Keqrops. The first three are performed by the New Philharmonia Orchestra … More Current Listening: Howarth and Abbado Conduct 4 Works by Xenakis