Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pulling the rug from under boring new CDs


Abrash is the term that describes the minute colour variations in handmade rugs from the Near and Middle East. These variations result from dyes being made in small batches; abrash is prized as the minor inconsistencies confirm the imperfection of man as opposed to the perfection of the Almighty. Rugs with abrash exhibit a shimmering quality which enhances their appeal and value; these subtle variations can be seen in the red fields of the Persian Qashqai rug seen above. The shimmering is caused by the slightly different frequencies of light waves generated by the minutely varying colours beating together. Sound, like light, is vibrating energy and the composer Morton Feldman (1926-1987), who was an authority on Near and Middle Eastern rugs, deployed the sonic equivalent of abrash in his late piano work Palais de Mari. This uses microtonal differences in pitch to produce a sonic shimmering from the resulting beat frequencies. Steven Osborne has recorded Morton Feldman's Palais de Mari in a coupling with other Feldman pieces and George Crumb's Processional and A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979 on an audacious new release from Hyperion which has been lamentably overlooked by the mainstream classical media.

No review samples used in this post. Image of Qashqai rug via Dingo Gallery. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.

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