New music mpFree: Edwin Roxburgh, Elegy

This week’s new music download comes from Christopher Redgate and Ensemble Exposé‘s excellent survey of the oboe music of Edwin Roxburgh.

Roxburgh himself is one of the finest oboists of his generation and his CV includes the UK premieres of Berio’s Sequenza VII and Holliger’s Cardiophonie. Elegy is a substantial work for oboe and ensemble that makes much use of oboe multiphonics (indeed these provide the basis for the work’s harmonic vocabulary), which are further distorted through occasional ring modulation and amplification. The writing is typically unprissy, yet also lyrical and moving in its own elegant way. The coda, a homage to ‘the calm and generous nature of Janet Craxton‘ (another oboist) that drifts up into the clouds, is breathtakingly serene. Redgate, as ever, is an exemplary soloist.

Roxburgh: Oboe MusicChristopher Redgate, Stephen Robbings, Ensemble Exposé, Roger Redgate
“Elegy” (mp3)
from “Roxburgh: Oboe Music”

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Tristan Perich – 1 Bit Symphony

Earlier this year everyone was getting very excited about Tristan Perich’s 1-Bit Symphony, the conceptual CD release that combines the structural sweep of classical composition with the gallery aesthetic of sound art. Well, it was finally released on Cantaloupe today. Of course, the cool thing to have is the handmade jewel case-cum circuit board, but if you want a quick 1-Bit fix then the five-movement Symphony is also available as an mp3 download. And because I luvs ya, here’s a free download of the first movement for your enjoyment.

1-Bit SymphonyTristan Perich
“1-Bit Symphony: Movement 1” (mp3)
from “1-Bit Symphony”
(Cantaloupe Music)

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Blogariddims 50: Terminus

For this final Blogariddims podcast a bunch of the regulars have contributed six or seven minutes each, which Droid has mixed down into one continuous hour of mayhem. The write-ups are all in a relay, Olympic torch-like, so you may have just got here from Matt B’s blog: hi! I’m writing this before I’ve heard any of the other sections, so I really hope my odd little selection fits in and doesn’t turn too many people off.

Given that I put this together during my two weeks of paternity leave, there should probably be some sort of fatherhood-related theme here, but there isn’t. Basically I started from the same place as the first mix I did (Monk + Ligeti) and kicked it in a completely new direction. The fact that the Harold Budd track starts out sounding like a piss-take of I am Sitting in a Room (another track used on that first mix) helped steer that direction. The other tracks are just a bunch of things I was really into at the time I became a dad, no more no less. I suppose I had half an ear on what the other Blogamuffins might be up to with the Lang and Maierhof choices throwing some loops and beats into the mix at the end, but this is seriously great music on its own merit. I urge you to check any of these artists and albums out at full length.


Harold Budd – Sound-Text composition (Source magazine)
Meredith Monk – Long Shadows 1 (ECM)
György Ligeti – Cello Concerto, 1st movement (Deutsche Grammophon)
Helmut Lachenmann – Gran Torso (Col legno)
Mark Applebaum – The Bible Without God (Innova)
Arvo Pärt – Für Alina (BIS)
Adam Stansbie – Isthmus, 1st movement (SONUS podcast)
Iannis Xenakis – Tetras (Montaigne)
Bernhard Lang – DW 8 (Col legno)
Michael Maierhof – Splitting (Megadisc)
Fausto Romitelli – The Nameless City (unreleased)

Cheers to Droid for all his hard work managing us reprobates over two years of podcasting. It’s been a real pleasure to be involved, and to listen to so much great music. Thanks.

And now the baton passes to Wayne and Wax

Blogariddims 38: The mouth, the feet, the sound

Find out more about the Blogariddims project here and here.

You can get the mix directly here:
Or sign up for the podcast here: (see Droid’s helpful guide to podcasts for how to this).

This mix is as much a collection of recent pre-occupations as anything else.

[00:00] La Bocca, I Piedi, Il Suono: I ­ – Salvatore Sciarrino (col legno)

I’ve become a little obsessed with this piece, for alto saxophone quartet and 100 ‘peripatetic’ saxes walking around the performance space. The music is composed not only of pitches and rhythms, but the touch of fingertips on keys, the smack of lips on mouthpieces, the sound of breath, the footsteps of all those walking performers. The whole 35-minute piece is an intense close-listening experience that doesn’t really climax until the very end (see track 16 of this mix). Anyone into lower case music, Wandelweiser, all of that, needs to know Sciarrino. Although I didn’t consciously think about it this way, almost everything else on this mix grows out of this piece: there are saxophones everywhere, from Berio, Burtner and Takemitsu; there’s also one buried in Manfred Werder’s conceptual piece.

[01:38] Dulcinée Du Toboso ­ – Jean Schwarz (Celia)
[03:40] Sequenza VIIb ­ – Luciano Berio (BIS)
[07:20] Journeys on the Winds of Time: I ­ – Alan Lamb (New Albion)
[09:47] Lux Animae (Rambler edit) ­ – Horatiu Radulescu (Sub Rosa)
[16:58] … sofferte onde serene … ­ – Luigi Nono (col legno)

With its intense focus on sound in both minute detail and enveloping ambience, La Bocca makes a real connection with … sofferte onde serene …, one of my favourite Nono works. Written for the pianist Maurizio Pollini, it combines live piano with recordings of Pollini himself rehearsing the work such that it’s impossible to tell where live ends and recording begins. Every note tolls inside an echo chamber of its own past.


[19:06] The Intermediary with a Rendition of Stardust ­ – Blue Gene Tyranny (Lovely Music)
[19:38] Triple (Remix) ­ – Mark Applebaum (Innova)
[26:18] Shur ­ – Alireza Mashayekhi (Prospectives 21e siècle)
[27:05] Distance ­ – Toru Takemitsu (BIS)
[30:00] More Things in the Air than are Visible: Section 3 ­ – Christopher Fox (Metier)
[33:00] 2006/1 – Manfred Werder (skiti)
[36:06] Isle Remix ­ – Evelyn Ficarra (Critical Voices)

Fox takes the piano–tape relationship further in More Things in the Air than are Visible. The third section of the piece combines quiet piano chords that sound like a half-distracted improvisation with a tape of the outdoor ambient sounds of an English summer day – birdsong, a dog barking, traffic noise, etc. Werder’s conceptual work is a grandchild of Cage’s 4’33”: “a place, natural light, where the performer, the performers like to be. a time. (sounds)”. Ficarra turns to the radio waves of the British Isles for her sounds.

[36:33] Split Voices ­ – Matthew Burtner (Innova)
[39:19] Unheimlich Schön ­ – Luc Ferrari (Metamkine)
[43:00] Jour, Contre-jour ­ – Gérard Grisey (Accord)

Ferrari makes an extended piece from the noises – breath, lips, tongue, heartbeat – around the repeating phrase ‘uncanny beauty’. Grisey finds whole worlds in the spaces between two notes.

François Bayle - Erosphère

[43:43] La Bocca, I Piedi, Il Suono: VIII ­ – Salvatore Sciarrino (col legno)
[50:25] un fini I ­ – Mark André (live)
[50:51] Toupie dans le ciel: I ­ – François Bayle (INA-GRM)

Having returned to Sciarrino, the mix finishes off with two tracks that are complimentary opposites: André’s harp solo empties out the space around us as it takes us into the heart of a sound; Bayle dissolves that central core, spreading us thin across the universe.

Welcome – and pull up a Schaeffer

Welcome to all those arriving here from Alex’s kind words in the New Yorker this week. This isn’t really an mp3 blog (although I have posted some avant-garde mixtapes of my own in the past), but I’ve just uploaded these for someone else, so I might as well share the links here.

If you thought the Polish avant garde of the 1960s was all about Penderecki and 101 Penderecki-clones, then say hi to Boguslaw Schaeffer. Schaeffer is one of the most interesting composers to come out of that whole period in Polish music – he’s known as a playwright and graphic artist these days, and both the visual and the theatrical feed into his music. I understand he’s known in the US mostly for his Introduction to Composition (1974).

Schaeffer notation

I don’t know nearly enough of Schaeffer’s work first hand; probably the most well-known piece of is the 1966 Symphonie, which appears on those fantastically expensive Electronic Panorama LPs that Philips put out years ago. I gave it another listen today (no, I don’t have the LP, no I wouldn’t sell it if I did); it’s not that great actually, and I have a feeling the mp3 I’ve got cuts it short anyway. But here are a couple of other Schaeffer schlices:

Little Symphony: Scultura:

Recorded at the 1969 Warsaw Autumn by the Poznań PSO and Andrzej Markowski. Composed in 1960.

Quartet 2 + 2:

I’ve previously mentioned Zygmunt Krauze’s new music ensemble Warsztat Muzyczne; this is a piece Schaeffer wrote for them (they perform it here), and is a minor classic of its type in Polish music. (You might remember this from my first Blogariddims contribution.) I love it – it sounds like mayhem, but it holds together somehow to moving effect.

There’s very little writing on Schaeffer in English – Adrian Thomas’s book on Polish music is your best bet (and contains more examples of his amazing graphic notation). If you’re OK with German, then this is the book you need. This book also looks very desirable.