Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-11-28 - 6:52 a.m.
I made it up to Wolverhampton via the M6 toll on Thursday night and joined the small audience for 4 String 4tets written between 1950 and 1980. The two written in 1968 were the most radical and formed the first half the performance . Apparently Ligetiís 2nd has become well known amongst works of that period - it refers back deliberately to Bergís Lyric Suite in the way tempi are described. Not long after this he seems to have got into Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Bill Evans. The Penderecki which started the programme was rather overshadowed - itís a single movement whereas the Ligeti is more like variations working up to a final statement
I was struck by the oddness of the event - this very unusual music which is terribly hard to realise - being brought to life for about 25 people. In one sense you could see the culture dying on its feet. Anyway I have ordered the Arditti recording of a load of Ligeti SQ material.
As far as Tippett no 4 is concerned I couldnít help comparing the Lindsay recording which I know well with the performance offered on Thursday night. Perhaps the Lindsays didnít record it in a single take? Anyway I see that this lot have also recorded it. The 4tet was introduced with the observation that Tippetís 4th SQ is unlike his first 3 - and also pretty unlike his 5th.
If there was one work I wanted to hear most it was the one that completed the programme - Cageís 4tet in Four Parts I have heard it on the radio but its construction uniquely favors live performance - because it uses a limited vocabulary for each instrument.
On Friday night I drove out into darkest Surrey to pick up Vita from a party at 1am. I arrived early and listened to Radio 3 - who had a little feature celebrating 60 years since Charlie Parker recorded KoKo. The claim was that this recording not only marked the arrival of bebop but with its lengthy abstract introduction anticipated the arrival of the avant garde fifteen years later. I realized that I had played some of Parkerís solo from a transcription in those days when I used to think the practising the flute is a good idea.
Earlier in the evening thanks to the same station I caught up with the following:
ĎMaria Schneider's Hang Gliding: Intention and Inference in a Big Band Composition
Hang Gliding is an exemplary work by Maria Schneider, one of today's most skillful and successful jazz composers working in the big band idiom. An ongoing issue in contemporary music analysis is the relationship between the intention of a composer and our comprehension of his or her work. Hang Gliding affords us an opportunity to explore these modes of understanding, as Schneider has provided a score of the piece and has agreed to answer questions on its composition, performance, and expressive goals.
After studying the piece, I met with Schneider and recorded our discussion. I explained what I heard in the work and she reacted to my conclusions. During the first part of my talk, I will explain my inferences on the work's structure; in conclusion, I will summarize Schneider's reactions to my study.í
There was an interview with Maria Schneider on this territory and then a recording of its first performance in the UK. Sounded fantastic. MS Cds seem to be going at 40 dollars second hand on Amazon and are hardly available in the UK. But as her South Bank concert has been called the best ever jazz concert by several attendees this may change.
I went through Berg Opus 1 a couple of times with the score - plenty strange music. I have decided I donít understand the harmonic language. Its obviously in B minor and there are II chords and V-ish chords but the final V is a strange hybrid.