Second Inversion hosts share a favorite selection from their weekly playlist. Tune in on Friday, December 8 to hear these pieces and plenty of other new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre!
John Luther Adams: Among Red Mountains (Cantaloupe Music)
Lisa Moore, piano
I love Christmas music. I really do. However, that is not to say that I can make it through the whole holiday season without some sort of respite from the unrelenting positivity parade that is Christmas music. That’s where music like John Luther Adams’s Among Red Mountains comes in. This blocky, atmospheric piece reminds me of the amorality and complexity of outdoor spaces that exist a million miles from the sometimes-suffocating saccharine sparkles of the holiday season.
– Seth Tompkins
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 1pm hour today to hear this piece.
Mohammed Fairouz: Jebel Lebnan (Naxos Records)
Jebel Lebnan is one of my favorite woodwind quintets written in the last 50 years. Few works for wind quintet approach it in seriousness of tone, making it a very welcome addition to a chamber music genre that is full of a lot of bright and cheerful music.
Mohammed Fairouz was born in the United States in 1985, and his music reflects an informed view of the cultures and political forces of his Arabic heritage. The quintet’s title means “Mount Lebanon,” and the piece chronicles events in the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War, starting with the stark Bashir’s March, marked “intense and relentless with no compassion or tenderness.” An interlude features the solo flute in a plaintive, far-off Arabic melody, and then we experience the funereal Ariel’s Song followed by a sort of spring-like reawakening and a finale invoking the Lebanese patron saint Mar Charbel. Powerful emotions abound throughout, making it a must-listen for those looking to discover new perspectives in the unique woodwind quintet genre. – Geoffrey Larson
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 3pm hour today to hear this piece.
Bora Yoon: Semaphore Conductus (Cantaloupe Music)
Young People’s Chorus of New York City; Francisco Núñez, conductor
If ever there was a piece meant for radio, this is it! Sound-artist/composer Bora Yoon’s alluring and avant-garde “Semaphore Conductus” is an exploration of communication, sound, and the language of audio signals. Surrounding the rise and fall of harmonious vocals is a rich blend of audio transmissions plucked from time: Morse code, radio signals, heartbeats, and cellphone noises. Because this piece was recorded in surround-sound it is highly recommended that you listen via headphones if possible to ensure maximum delight. – Rachele Hales
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 8pm hour today to hear this piece.
Olga Bell: “Primorsky Krai” (New Amsterdam Records)
“God’s too high for us/Moscow far too distant,” Olga Bell laments in Russian in her piece “Primorsky Krai.”
Bell pays homage to her impressions of her native Russia’s Primorsky Krai, or Maritime Frontier, the far southeastern finger of the country bordering China, North Korea, and the Sea of Japan. It’s one of nine territories in which Bell explores dizzy, confusing questions of identity in her 2014 album, Krai. She combines polyrhythmic percussion with melodic vocal lines, blistering in their diction and timbre, and brings all the wild, raw drama of the home region of most of the world’s Siberian tigers.
– Brendan Howe
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 9pm hour today to hear this piece.