A weekly rundown of the music our staff and listeners are loving lately! Are you interested in contributing some thoughts on your favorite new music albums? Drop us a line!
Joshua Roman on Gyorgy Ligeti’s String Quartet No.1:
This is one of my favorite pieces by Gyorgy Ligeti. It’s an eight movement quartet, but since each movement is quite short, it’s similar in length to most string quartets. With these eight movements, there are some absolute stand outs. The first movement starts out rather creepily with slow-moving scales underneath a melody that has all sorts of twists, turns, and oddities. I also really love the fourth movement, a presto. It is a kind of wild dance – little canonic episodes and lots of division between the quartet. For instance, two players will play the same thing at the same time but a half step apart. These minor seconds create a very odd sound that’s quite energetic. There are some beautiful shimmering colors in the fifth movement. In the sixth movement, Ligeti plays around with the waltz, and of course, never lets it stay the same for very long.
Rachele Hales on Eric Chasalow’s Are You Radioactive, Pal?:
Lots of pizzicato and vocal fragments give the album great energy, but this is one of those
collections that demands focused listening to be really appreciated. Definitely not a good option for your next dinner party. The juxtaposition of audio elements felt bizarre on my first pass, but when I listened again they formed interesting musical stories. For adventurous listeners only.
David Wall on The Gnostic Trio’s In Lambeth: Visions from the Walled Garden of William Blake:
Ethereal, lush, and lyrical, In Lambeth: Visions from the Walled Garden of William Blake conveys a deep sense of mystery born out of the art and poetry of the 18th Century English Romantic , William Blake. As the title implies, one feels upon listening as though they are indeed peering through the hedges to catch a glimpse of a garden full of other-worldly characters; characters from Blake’s personal mythology, who are brought to life by The Gnostic Trio’s unusual but perfectly apropos combination of instrumentation (guitar, harp, and vibraphone) and John Zorn’s compositions. These pieces, as with Blake’s writing and artwork, are both rooted in tangible history, having distinct touches of jazz, minimalism, and even folk, yet at the same time transcend these genres to become a force unto itself.