Second Inversion hosts share a favorite selection from their weekly playlist. Tune in on Friday, February 16 to hear these pieces and plenty of other new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre!
Anna Thorvaldsdottir: In the Light of Air (Sono Luminus)
ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble)
If I had to describe this piece in one word, it would be ice. Not only is it an icy, ethereal soundscape sculpted by an Icelandic composer, but it’s even performed by ICE (the International Contemporary Ensemble). Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s In the Light of Air is an iridescent sound world scored for viola, cello, harp, piano, percussion, and electronics. Infinitely varied in its timbres and textures, the piece evokes the translucent calm and quiet sparkle of an icy landscape, with gorgeous harp details, gentle piano echoes, and whispering melodies glittering above the rumbling earth below.
– Maggie Molloy
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 1pm hour today to hear a movement from this piece.
Florent Ghys: “An Open Cage” (Cantaloupe Music)
Bang on a Can All-Stars
If you don’t have five hours to listen to John Cage’s sprawling, narrated sound art piece Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse), Florent Ghys’s “An Open Cage” offers a compelling (and surprisingly catchy) four-minute summary. In Ghys’s version, a solo pizzicato bass line dances within the rhythms of Cage’s calm and serene narration, painting his deadpan delivery with a funky groove and a distinctly contemporary color. The unconventional duet expands as the piece grows in musical force, gradually adding more and more instruments until finally a small chorus of voices appears, echoing Cage’s words:
“The avant-garde is flexibility of mind and it follows like day the night from not falling prey to government and education. Without avant-garde, nothing would get invented.”
– Maggie Molloy
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 2pm hour today to hear this piece.
John Adams: Lollapalooza (Nonesuch Records)
Hallé Orchestra; Kent Nagano, conductor
I first encountered this piece over 10 years ago in my college wind ensemble. Although this version is for orchestra, the band version is an excellent example of quality writing for winds. And beyond that, this piece is one of the best examples of onomatopoeic music anywhere; once you hear it, you can never un-hear it. Loll-a-pa-loo-za!
– Seth Tompkins
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 4pm hour today to hear this piece.
Missy Mazzoli: “Tooth and Nail” (Bedroom Community)
Nadia Sirota, viola
Admittedly, I’m a little bit of a fangirl when it comes to Missy Mazzoli and Nadia Sirota, so I may be somewhat biased in my review of this piece. I love how much is going on in it—there are things going on near and far and in between. And Mazzoli brings the electronic textures I’ve heard in some of the music from her band Victoire into this. I hear echoes of Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song” in the chord progressions, and the same kind of desperation in the viola as I heard in Abigail Fischer’s voice in Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar. This was my introduction to Sirota’s album Baroque, and I can’t wait to dig in to the rest of it! – Dacia Clay
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 7pm hour today to hear this piece.