STAFF PICKS: Friday Faves

Second Inversion hosts share a favorite selection from their weekly playlist. Tune in on Friday, November 17 to hear these pieces and plenty of other new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre!

Astor Piazzolla: “Fuga y Misterio” from María de Buenos Aires (Steinway & Sons)
Pablo Ziegler & Christopher O’Riley, pianos

Piazzolla is a little old-school for Second Inversion, but the tango is timeless—and after a trip to Buenos Aires last year I have a newfound understanding of its intoxicating spell. Piazzolla’s sensuous and surreal tango operetta María de Buenos Aires embodies the late nights and sultry stars of Buenos Aires—but this is no bedtime story.

María de Buenos Aires tells the tale of a young woman seduced by the music of the tango, lured into sex work, plunged into the depths of the underworld and left as only a shadow haunting the streets of Buenos Aires. The “Fuga y Misterio” is an instrumental interlude depicting her ghostlike trance as she wanders the sleepless city streets toward death—her hair loose and her dreams undone.
– Maggie Molloy

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 12pm hour today to hear this piece.

Jenni Brandon: Pleistocene Epoch: The Great Ice Age (Jenni Brandon)
Jennifer Stevenson, bass clarinet 

I’m not usually a fan of music for solo single-line instruments, but something about this solo bass clarinet piece hits me just right this week.  The more I listened to this, the more I wanted to turn the speakers up to enjoy the rich bass and nuanced performance of Jennifer Stevenson.  My enjoyment of this work might also have something to do with the fact that I’m an admitted biology nerd; three of the movements of this piece bear the names of ice age fauna.  These titles alone are sufficient to spur imaginative listening (for me, at least). – Seth Tompkins

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 3pm hour today to hear this piece.

David Lang: Child: I. “Stick Figure” (Cantaloupe Music)
Sentieri Selvaggi 

A year seems shorter the older you get because the proportion of a year to the whole of your life gets smaller and smaller over time.  Birthdays seem closer together with age, but as a child, the expanse between annual milestones is vast. The newness of the world to someone who has had little experience of it makes it a steep learning curve in which every moment is an opportunity to gather data about the surrounding environment.

David Lang’s Child captures some of those first explorations, and this movement, “Stick Figure,” is a sparkling retelling of the stumbles and successes of practicing the foundations for visual character representation.  The long held tones seem to mimic the endeavor of drawing long straight lines with other details popping off the main artery.
– Micaela Pearson

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 6pm hour today to hear this piece.

Conlon Nancarrow: Four Player Piano Studies  (Cantaloupe Music)
(arr. Evan Ziporyn) Bang on a Can All-Stars 

Conlon Nancarrow, an American composer who spent most of his life in Mexico City through a riveting string of events involving the American Communist Party and the Spanish Civil War, manually modified the rolls for his automatic player piano because his compositions were too technically precise and complex for available musicians to perform at the time.

In 2010, Bang on a Can All-Stars recorded an orchestrated version of four of Nancarrow’s 49 Player Piano Studies, all of which were written between 1948 and his death in 1992. The reveal quite a fascinating rhythmic Rubik’s Cube – keep up if you can! – Brendan Howe

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 9pm hour today to hear this piece.

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