The Rite of Spring
Photo taken at the Lost Garden of Heligan, Cornwall. Now playing - Fazil Say's recording of the four-hand piano transcription of the Rite Of Spring. The starting point of this CD is Stravinsky's own four-hand score for the Rite, but the finishing point is some way away from the composer's original. Not only does Say use multi-tracking to play both piano parts, but he builds up further layers with his own additions to the score mimicking percussion and cymbals, with the different layers using different microphone perspectives.
As if this is not enough Say does a Glenn Gould and offers an interview with himself in the sleeve notes justifying his approach and also justifying releasing a full price CD containing just 31 minutes and 12 seconds of music. (He does threaten a coupling of his take on Verklärte Nacht, but thankfully refrains). Not so much Stravinsky as a technical tour de force, and, surprisingly, it is still in the catalogue at full price eight years after release. Certainly not a first choice or even tenth choice Rite but a fascinating musical and technical curiosity if you don't mind few bangs for your bucks.
More interesting orchestration in my Future Radio programme this Sunday (March 9 - check sidebar for details) in Lou Harrison's Concerto for Violin with Percussion Orchestra with a score that includes 12 brakedrums, 6 flowerpots, dustbins, a double bass laid on its back and tin cans. The recording is a new one by Madeleine Mitchell and Ensemble Bash.
No short change with this excellent Signum release (sleeve below) which offers 66 minutes of music from Anne Dudley, Tarik O'Regan, Stuart Jones, and Simon Limbrick and a traditional Sengalese drumming piece which I will finish the programme with. An excellent release, but the Fiddlesticks title, with no mention of Lou Harison on the cover, doesn't do it justice. Retailers are saying it would sell far more copies if it had been marketed as a Lou Harrison recording and filed in the browser under 'H'. Signum are best known for their choral recordings, but are doing some interesting things in contemporary music including a new recording of the complete Philip Glass String Quartets.
More Lou Harrison here.
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