Variations for Orchestra

Something of a premonition of James Levine’s headline-grabbing tenure at the Boston Symphony, these live recordings with the Munich Phil show off how completely at home he can make musicians feel as they navigate through thorny atonal and serial waters. Carter’s Variations for Orchestra, his first orchestral composition after developing his mature modernist idiom, comes […]


After the one-two punch of his 2003 releases Blood Sutra and In What Language?, Vijay Iyer continues to push his own playing and his collaborators in compelling ways. Recently signed to Savoy Jazz, the label drops the first in a multi-album deal today. Iyer has a fresh set of original tunes on offer here, opening […]

Valen Lagoon

I have come to trust discs put out on the Pogus label as if they arrive bearing a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, and their latest release, a collaboration between Ellen Band and David Lee Myers, is no let down. Myer’s synthetic sound world meets the more organic sonic stylings (was that a kettle whistle […]

Impression of the St. Gaudens in Boston Common

Donald Berman, pianoWho can say how many little gems of works (and many probably not so little, too) penned by composers famous and unknown alike are hidden away in boxes, libraries, and attics, left undiscovered, unplayed? Charles Ives’s Impression of the “St. Gaudens” in Boston Common (1915), which would later evolve into the first movement […]

Elegy for Anne Frank

Kevin McCutcheon (piano), Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Christopher Wilkins, conductorThe horrors of World War II created so much great music both then and now, everything from Reich’s Different Trains and Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima back to Strauss’s Metamorphosen (written to mourn the wrong side) and Yizkor {In Memoriam} by Odeon Partos, who fled Nazi-ravaged […]

Factotum Pole

The New Haven-based Persinger defines his solo guitar music as “Modern/Primitive”; his is an outsider music that is equal parts folk, classical, DIY rock, jazz, and in this case, bossa nova. —FJO


Though truly a man-meets-machine piece of music—a sensor “listens” to the solo performer and relays information to a computer which has been programmed to respond—the result feels as organic and inspired as any human duet. Here, Jon Gibson takes part in the moody, subtle meditation in sax, guitar, and electronic sounds.—MS

Six Pianos

For some reason hearing this less-than-perfect-sounding archival recording of Steve Reich’s 1973 Six Pianos from a live performance at The Kitchen makes the piece even more tactile than the original Deutsche Grammophone studio recording; it’s like learning secrets about an old friend many years later. And, if that’s not enough, this CD—released on a label […]

Angels in Golden Mud

In the brief artist comments that accompany this disc—recorded live at the Prism in Charlottesville, Virginia—William Parker shares his philosophy that if “every human being in the world played one hour of music at the beginning of each day there would be no world turmoil.” The opening track, “Angels in Golden Mud,” gives the listener […]

Descansos, past

Easily the most beautiful thing I heard all week, Fox’s haunting memorial for his friend, composer/performer John Kuhlman (1954-1996), scored for four cellos and double bass is deep on so many levels. It’s featured on a CD-single offering only 15 minutes of music, but you won’t want to listen to something for a while after […]

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