Bursting the Bubble

I’m trying my best to recover from list-o-mania (you know, obsessing over all these lists of the greatest “fill in the blank”). However, my fuming while reading through all these lists did inspire some new lines of questioning about our relationship to the music we care about and its seemingly fragile relationship to the world beyond us.

sails set for senex

I’m one of these folks for whom ambient music is a terrific foreground experience: Brian Eno, early Aphex Twin, bring it on. I hear in this music what in fact is an extremely fluid relationship with the intentionally foreground minimalist music I enjoy listening to more than most things. So it’s always nice when the […]

Worn Out

Music is a very central part of the clothing store experience, but maybe there could be better music for such an environment than the music most clothing stores choose.

Elliott Miles McKinley’s String Quartet No. 5

Performed by the Martinu Quartet There’s a real smorgasboard of musical styles in the string quartets of Elliott Miles McKinley, which is as fitting for someone who studied with William Bolcom as it is for the son of William Thomas McKinley who, according to the booklet notes accompanying this CD, was named after Elliott Carter […]

Leo Ornstein: Sonata No. 1 for cello and piano

Joshua Gordon, cello; Randall Hodgkinson, piano Those wonderful tone clusters that Henry Cowell allegedly invented actually surfaced in the lush hyper-Romantic solo piano music of Leo Ornstein several years earlier. They are one of the delights of Ornstein’s early chamber music as well, including the first of his two cello sonatas from 1915 featured on […]

David Yeagley: Wessi vah-peh

James J. Pellerite, Native American flute; Moravian Philharmonic conducted by Lawrence Golan The traditional Native American flute is an extremely expressive instrument, but it is almost invariably played unaccompanied. So it’s great to hear Comanche composer David Yeagley’s single movement concerto, Wessi vah-peh, and the other concertante works featuring Native American flute with a symphony […]

Why I Don’t Use an iPod

While initially my wife and I were extremely excited about an iPod (after all, our society instills in us the desire for the latest technological innovation), the charm wore off as soon as we talked about what music we would put on it.

A Sweet Quasimodo Between Black Vampire Butterflies

Hearing Charlemagne Palestine’s magical approach to the piano live is one of the great “have to be there” experiences. As wonderful as his all-too-rare appearances on recordings have been, none really captures the total experience: in which his maniacal minimalist solo piano pyrotechnics are often accompanied by a sea of teddy bears and a snifter […]