…if it dies at all: Guy Klucevsek’s “Hope Dies Last”, New Compositions for Accordion(s) and Friends
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
20h ago
Starkland This is, by my count, the fifth Starkland release of Guy Klucevsek’s work. Klucevsek has happily been one of Starkland’s favorite artists. Though he officially retired from performing in 2018, he continues to compose, collaborate, and record. “Hope Dies Last” consists of several new compositions from this (hardly retired) man. And if you don’t know his work, this is a fine place to start. Klucevsek is a unique composer/performer who has defined his brand as one of the finest accordion players in new and experimental music. Through years of composing, performing, and collaborating, Kl ..read more
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When in Rome…an Alvin Curran Retrospective Installation in Rome
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
2M ago
Alvin Curran, Rome, 1980. Adriano Mordenti Just had to post this for all my readers and friends but especially those living near or able to get to Rome. Curran’s wife, Dr. Susan Levenstein, graciously sent this announcement to me. She is an American physician (and webmaster).Her very entertaining memoir, “Dottoresa” is her accounting of moving her practice to Italy. Alvin Curran, (1938- ) is the co-founder of the seminal live electric music performance group, “Musica Elletronica Viva” along with his late colleagues Frederic Rzewski (1938-2021) and Richard Teitelbaum (1939-2020). The group form ..read more
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75 Years of Classical Music in Israel
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
3M ago
Utter the name “Israel” and probably only a handful of people will think, “classical music”. As a lifelong new music fan I’ve made many wonderful discoveries by looking at work done by composers in countries that aren’t part of the typical America, Germany, Italy, France, Russia nexus. Throw in the Nordic countries, Canada, and Australia more recently and you have perhaps 90% of what is marketed (even if not efficiently distributed) as new classical music. Israel, at 75, remains a young country but its participation with world class classical composers and musicians is among their proudest con ..read more
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Rising Star Seth Parker Woods’ “Difficult Grace” is a Classic in the Making
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
4M ago
Cedille CDR 90000 019 Every solo artist, regardless of what instrument they play seeks to define themselves. Generally that means setting limits. Some set limits by specializing in an era (baroque, classical, etc.). Some specialize in working with electronics, some with jazz, some with experimental music, some with standard recital repertoire, etc. Seth Parker Woods (1984- ) seems almost unaware of such limits. He plays what he chooses. And, oh, what choices. From standard classics to the leading edge of musical creativity woods is poised at the beginning of a very promising career. Seth Parke ..read more
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To Dance and Sing, Meredith Monk on ECM
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
4M ago
Meredith Monk on ECM Being asked to review this retrospective of the work of this virtually uncategorizable dancer, singer, composer, dramatist is the telling of my personal experience of growing up nurtured by this artist. Monk is not, of course the only artist whose presence has nurtured me and so many friends but her work is a case where I learned how to tune my curious radar to find more of the music that touched me deeply. I first discovered her work when I purchased her album, “Key” (1971), self released and marketed via the late lamented New Music Distribution Center in New York. That a ..read more
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Solo Percussion Manifesto Volume I: Steven Schick’s “A Hard Rain”
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
4M ago
Islandia IMR 011 Steven Schick is a multi-talented and skilled musician. A quick look at his website demonstrates the sheer scope of his musical career. He is probably best known as a master percussionist having played with the San Diego Symphony and a host of others internationally. He is also a fine conductor and composer. His website is a must visit to grasp the scope of this man’s work. Steven Schick (photo from composer’s website) Now, solo percussionists are somewhat of a rarity even in the 21st century. Percussion is ostensibly the “junk drawer” of the orchestra by which I mean it becom ..read more
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Native American Classical: The Lakota Music Project of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
4M ago
The first time I heard Native American Music was on a Pete Seeger album when I was in high school. Later I heard the Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai whose artistry was being marketed in a “new age” context. I had known for some years that American composer Charles Wakefield Cadman (1881-1946), famed for his song, based on “indian themes” which was famously conscripted for use in a beer commercial. Many on the baby boomer ranks will likely recall the melody if I provide a small portion of the lyrics, “From the land of sky blue waters…” In fact there was a relatively short lived gr ..read more
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Aaron Jay Myers, Superbly Integrated Eclecticism in “Late Night Banter”
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
4M ago
Neuma 175 Aaron Jay Myers’ third album grabbed my attention immediately and didn’t let go til the album ended. Working un-self consciously in a stunning plurality of styles (this guy clearly paid attention to his 20th century music history classes) he has produced some mighty substantial works. His ability to integrate a wide variety of techniques and styles into his artistic persona is simply astounding. His references to other composers’ works, rather than sounding derivative, evoke nostalgic homage, at least in this listeners ears. Indeed there seem to be more references per square inch tha ..read more
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Son of Partch, Carrying on a Tradition
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
7M ago
Microfest MF 21 I hope that my flippant title for this review does not offend. But an artist who creates new acoustic instruments of unusual tunings which he plays and for which he has written music sounds a lot like spiritual progeny to Harry Partch. Partch had no children and even if he did it is unlikely they would have followed in his footsteps. Strictly speaking, Cris Forster may be more like “nephew of Partch” given that he is following his own distinct trajectory and is doing so in a very different time. But he embodies the ethic and has made it his life’s work to compose in non-standar ..read more
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The End of the Beginning: Sarah Cahill’s “The Future is Female” Trilogy Completed
New Music Buff » Avant Garde
by Allan J. Cronin
8M ago
First Hand Records FHR 133 This release completes Sarah Cahill’s monumental survey of piano music written by women which saw its first two CD volumes last year.last year. This, the third volume titled “At Play”, follows the first two as seen below. This trilogy is not, of course, the last word, the end on the subject of piano works by women. There can be no last word but these selections are a reflection of Cahill’s perspective as a performer but also a producer/programmer whose scholarship and advocacy are well known and respected worldwide. These releases speak to women, certainly. But they ..read more
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