Second Inversion hosts share a favorite selection from their weekly playlist. Tune in on Friday, June 16 to hear these pieces and plenty of other new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre!
Daníel Bjarnason: “all sounds to silence come” (Bedroom Community)
There is so much good music coming out of Iceland that sometimes it’s a challenge just to keep up with all of it. Icelandic composer and conductor Daníel Bjarnason is a staple on my personal playlist—his gorgeously textured, celestial soundscapes blur the line between classical and electronic musical idioms, drawing freely from the intellectual rigor of the classical tradition while living in the spontaneity and experimentalism of new music.
Scored for chamber orchestra and conducted by Bjarnason, “all sounds to silence come” is a two-movement bonus track released on his debut album Processions. The piece makes use of the orchestra’s entire timbral palette, drifting from a dramatic and densely textured first movement to a soft and ethereal second that hovers just above silence. The result is an immersive sound world that shimmers with color and sparkles with orchestral detail. – Maggie Molloy
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 2pm hour today to hear this piece.
Alyssa Morris: Four Personalities for Oboe and Piano (MSR Classics)
Michele Fiala, oboe; William Averill, piano
Have you ever wondered what the four personalities of Hartman’s Personality Profile would sound like as duets for oboe and piano?
Before reading this most people probably hadn’t wondered, but now it’s an intriguing proposition! American composer Alyssa Morris brings us Four Personalities for Oboe and Piano. She based the four-movement work on the four general categories associated with the Hartman test, which aims to assess the underlying elements that motivate individuals, then assigns them a color: Yellow is motivated by fun, White by peace, Blue by intimacy, and Red by power.
Each movement is entertaining, energetic, and expertly executed by oboist Michele Fiala and pianist William Averill. They capture not just the basic comic book hue of each color, but rather the full kaleidoscopic palette within each personality and clearly have a great time doing it. – Brendan Howe
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 3pm hour today to hear this piece.
Ben Lukas Boysen: Golden Times 2 (Erased Tapes Records)
It occurs to me that this track could be heard as mournful or melancholy, but I have an alternative interpretation. Despite the Donnie Darko aesthetic, Golden Times 2 seems to be a relaxed and optimistic meditation. I especially love the extra-low bass that creeps around for most of the track and the swingy cymbal groove that completely transforms the vibe upon entry. Grab a cold beverage and a seat in the sunshine and enjoy!
– Seth Tompkins
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 7pm hour today to hear this piece.
Robert Beaser: Pag-Rag (Albany Records)
Christopher Janwong McKiggan, piano
Pianist Christopher Janwong McKiggan was the 2009 collegiate gold medalist from the Seattle International Piano Competition. As he moves forward in his career, he is charting a path of new music, commissioning seven composers in 2012 to compose works for piano inspired by Niccolò Paganini’s 24th Caprice. Beaser’s Pag-Rag is both undeniably fun and a deliciously mean technical challenge for the pianist. A far cry from most listeners’ straightforward idea of a rag, this piece is full of lightning-fast changes of character and texture, giving it unexpected depth and variety. It’s a wonderful showcase of McKiggan’s playing. – Geoffrey Larson
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 9pm hour today to hear this piece.