String Quartet No. 2

What’s so essential about Martin Bresnick? Well, for starters he’s impacted a few decades worth of composition students at Yale. If you subscribe to the old adage that those who can’t do teach, let The Essential Martin Bresnick change your mind. The composer’s String Quartet No. 2, here performed by the Flux Quartet, explores an […]

Beautiful Love

Terry Plumeri, bass; David Goldblatt, piano; Joe LaBarbera, drums Terry Plumeri’s take on “Beautiful Love” gives off the impression that the bassist is squinting at a masterpiece and seeing an entirely new work of art. This being music and not paint, thankfully he can share what he hears inside the standard. His floating bowing style […]


Amid the Noise is a moody, ethereal, bliss out sort of disc—qualities that are something of a surprise coming, as they are, from a percussion ensemble. But on this outing, So Percussion is playing with the delicate side of the largely tuned percussion in their arsenal. The tracks are lovely, and at this level of […]


Nashville, Tennessee, seems to be an unusual place to be if you’re a composer of electronic music, and Stan Link’s electronic music is in fact very unusual for the genre. Like his mentor Paul Lansky, Link creates electronic landscapes that are more emotional than procedural which makes his music the ideal proselytizing soundtrack to convert […]

River Run

Philip Glass, organs; Dickie Landry, saxophones; Joan La Barbara and Gene Rickard, voice In case you’ve forgotten, Philip Glass changed our lives. Remind yourself by listening to Analog, a collection of early recordings featuring the composer himself tinkling the Farfisa. Yes, it totally sounds retro, but these recording are so well engineered they’re practically radioactive. […]

A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky

London Sinfonietta conducted by Oliver Knussen Characteristically controversial, Charles Wuorinen once said that the two greatest American composers were Schoenberg and Stravinsky. And indeed, both European icons were in fact naturalized U.S. citizens at the time of their deaths. Perhaps no other composer has reconciled the compositional rigour of Schoenberg with the flair and virtuosity […]

Damned Ladies

“Katya Kabanova, why did you marry him?/You knew his mother was a bitch.” Those ears looking for a taste of was sort of opera Rufus Wainwright might deliver the Met will find a sample on this clever little send up of a few classic heroines of the form. Audra McDonald has kicked the mood up […]

Meteor Farm

Wesleyan University Orchestra, Singers, Concert Choir, Gamelan, South Indian Trio, West African Drumming Ensemble, and Big Band conducted by Henry Brant, Neely Bruce, and Richard Winslow Ever imagine what it would sound like if all of the world’s music was played together simultaneously? I’d guess it would sound like Henry Brant’s Meteor Farm, which combines […]


Ah the sweet sound of trombone—no really, trombone. Every now and again we need reminded that the trombone can be sultry, even beautiful: they‚re not just the jackhammers that Berlioz and Mahler used to built their sonic skyscrapers. They may be the laughingstock of high school marching bands everywhere, but with Ed Neumeister at the […]

String Quartet

When you talk about women composers of the first half of the 20th century, people like to talk about Ruth Crawford Seeger. She was the first woman to win a Guggenheim Fellowship, and maybe it helps that her work with Alan Lomax makes her name recognizable to a wider audience than many other names you […]