The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just Opened, June 6th - Music Transcendent


Our theme today - Music Transcendent - sprang from Ivan Ilic's new release, music selections that reflect the philosophy of Emerson.  Continuing the theme, the works of jazz-influenced composer Frank Voltz in ambient works for harps, and even some explorations for tuba and brass.  And as ALL music is said to transcend our boundaries, we pair these CDs with more traditional works in new releases.

THE TRANSCENDENTALIST
Ivan Ilic, piano
HERESY 015
ISBN# 5 060268 640443
Ivan Ilic's Official Website
In full disclosure, I must admit to being a fan!  Ever since our interview 2 years ago, I have admired Ivan's "outside the box" way of approaching music, his breadth of knowledge and influences, and his willingness to go "all in" on off-the-beaten-path choices.  Not content with being a masterful international piano virtuoso, he also writes about the process:   Click here for an article by Ilic on how research deepens your musicianship.   Now, I must also disclose that I am fully aware that some of our listeners will not be along for this particular musical ride.  I know some of our listeners will find the intentional sonic simplicity of these works pedestrian, and others will think the sometimes painstakingly slow pace to be intolerably boring.   This music requires you to be along for the ride, and a "package" like this, put together with intelligence and intention by the artist requires a "buy in" from the listener to disengage from the hubbub and really listen.  For much of this "deconstructed" music it also helps if you study the scores, because some of these scores simply look like no sheet music you've ever seen!  Think of the score as a map to scale, where a quarter note equals an inch... a completely different way to - literally - look at music.  This is a bridge too far for some.  For others, a welcome invitation to engage in total immersion.  [To hear my extended 1/2 hour interview with Ilic from his previous release, click here. ]


CELESTIAL
Frank Voltz, harpist/composer
CHIERA MUSIC 06
ISBN# 8 84501 23546 4
Frank Voltz's Official Website
My delight of the Week - for melody-driven, accessible new works.  Another accomplished and varied musician, Frank Voltz plays piano and organ in addition to harp, and his jazz and pop infused arrangements and new compositions have given a lift to many a church congregation and to many a harpist's repertoire (including my own).   If Ivan Ilic appeals to the intellect and the esoteric, Frank Voltz appeals to the heart-strings and the toes that want to tap.   Voltz has a way with infectious melody, and here in this cd also explores the more misty borders of a new-age-infused meditative ambiance.  It is worth noticing that "Ambiance" is the name of the first work on this CD, because it sets the tone for this entire collection.  (And in some respects, Voltz does view his CDs as collections... a unified whole with distinct parts.)   I've had the pleasure of meeting him, and his warmth and supportive humility are as infectious as his compositions.   His website makes it easy to listen to samples of his many recordings.  

THE BEETHOVEN JOURNEY
Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4
Leif Ove Andsnes, pianist & director
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
SONY 370 5482
ISBN# 8 8883-70548-2 9
Official site of Leif Ove Andsnes
Andsnes has reached that rarified circle of solo artists who can "write his own ticket."  His Beethoven Journey series of recordings and international concerts in major venues with top-flight orchestras is an obvious confirmation of both his status and his musical standing.  It is a whole different level again, to have a soloist also conduct.  This way, we know we are truly hearing the soloist's "vision" of the way the work should sound, based his own study, knowledge, and interpretation.


JOHANNES BRAHMS
Viola Sonatas & Trio Sonata Op. 114
Geraldine Walther, viola
David Korevaar, piano
Andras Fejer, 'cello
MSR CLASSICS 1479
ISBN# 6 81585 14792 4
more about Geraldine Walther
"Prose does not do justice to this music." -- David Korevaar, from the liner notes of this CD.  When 3 highly acclaimed musicians get together to perform timeless works, we just have to sit back and enjoy.  A personal pleasure for me is the opportunity to hear the Viola featured front and center in works of a great composer who obviously enjoyed the often unexplored potential of this alto-voiced instrument.

TUBBY'S REVENGE
New York Tuba Quartet
New York Brass Quintet
CRYSTAL RECORDS 221
ISBN# 0 09414 722125 6
Tuba Quartet featured at 2014 New York Summer Music Fest
This CD is a compilation re-release of previously recorded works, with a focus on tuba, and new works.   We're sharing a few snippets from this CD today, and many of the larger, modern works on this CD continue our "transcendent" theme.... like Persichetti's "Parable" for brass quintet.  Our listeners already know that I have a soft spot for the tuba (just call me "our lady of the orchestral underdogs"), and if you like your sonic explorations brassy, this could help you take that trip!

Thank you for listening to new releases with me today.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

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