NWR The "What are we listening to?" Thread

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Rod Smith, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. (I don't think this has already been phoenixed yet, I tried searching, apologies if so)

    I got back from two weeks in the UK in desperate need of some warmth from my record player, to discover that Pierre Boulez died (yesterday I think). So it was to the cd player for a spin of:

    Maurice Pollini - Stravinsky/Prokofiev/Boulez

    But I have to confess I cannot really get on with Boulez as a composer. Maybe that magnificent Mahler 3 he conducted will appear later.

    Then I listened to this which arrived while I was away:

    Choir of Young Believers - This is for the Whites of Your Eyes

    Bought on the back of liking the theme for "The Bridge" (Hollow Talk), I rather like the rest of it too.

    The lyrics on the other tracks are much easier to decipher (suggesting the ambiguities in Hollow Talk are deliberate). Plenty of strings (cello and violin) and other analogue instruments augmenting a usual rock-band set-up. It's kind of like a Royskopp/Arcade Fire hybrid. No bad thing!

    And then this utterly electrifying performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto op 61 - which was Radio 4's Front Row's record of 2015 (or one of them).

    Thomas Gould - Live in Riga

    It's music I already have, but my, I can see why it got such rave reviews, he plays it with such depth and soul. I actually checked to see if the recording is quicker than the other one I have (it isn't) because this is sometimes how performers make something seem to come to life (or so it seems to me anyway). Terrific recording, but alas all three of the above are on cd, so the Roksan will not get a dusting tonight...
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
    Charles Muttar likes this.
  2. Very sad news to hear of Boulez's death. I think he was at times brilliant both as a composer and conductor. The 2nd and 3rd piano sonatas are great - though I must confess I prefer Paavali Jumppanen's performances to Pollini's.
  3. Agreed, Otto, a great composer, conductor and iconoclast whose career seems to embody the progression of the last 60 years of the 20th century as no other. It was hearing him conduct 'Pli Selon Pli' that first awakened my interest in classical music(rock music was my thing at the time) in the early seventies. I can see and hear it as though it were yesterday and frankly I never wanted to go back to rock, this was the realest of real things and absolutely the coolest thing in the world, it seemed to me. His stewardship of the BBC symphony orchestra was an utterly thrilling phenomenon in that much maligned but exciting decade. He didn't in the end write all that much, so exercised was he that he should find to him the only appropriate language for that particular time in which to compose, something which is we can hear happening right in front of us in the second sonata to which Otto refers, but everything is a masterpiece, I think, though I did struggle with Repons(the electronic music awakening happened too early in technological terms, possibly). For accessibility the Rituel In Memoriam Bruno Maderna cannot be beaten, though the term is I suppose relative.
    Incidentally he is one of the few classical musicians of recent times to have had a dish named after him, the Troisgros brother's Coquilles St. Jacques Boulez. A scallop shell is filled with several scallops, seasoned, moistened with white wine, covered in puff pastry and baked. When it is cooked a hole is made in the pastry and filled with Beurre Nantais. The hole is then sealed and the shell presented on blanched seaweed. I have always meant to try this but it strikes me as a dish requiring lots of expensive rehearsal. Rather appropriate really. RIP.
  4. RIP Pierre Boulez. A long well filled life.

    I will wipe the dust off of my 4CD jewel box of his music and start listening again tomorrow. Also to revisit are the many records of his limpid conducting of Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Schönberg.....and the DVDs of the Chéreau produced Ring at Bayreuth.
    David Crossley likes this.
  5. Rod, thanks for this thread. I was going to do it myself, but the book thread seemed enough for one day.

    I hadn't seen a squeak about Boulez, really odd. I like him as both conductor and composer, but it was his interesting Parsifal I first got to really know. Perhaps not one for the purists...

    Afraid it has been rock for me today, Tom. Mainly Iggy Pop. Perhaps I'm feeling a bit of a passenger in life at the moment.
  6. Records I am contemplating buying, comments most welcome:

    Wolf Alice-My Love is Cool
    Wire-Wire ( the new one)
    The new Daughter album
    The new Bowie album

    Also Rod, found out Steven Wilson is playing here in two weeks and can't go even if not sold out. Gutted.
  7. Do you mean 'not for purists' musically or production-wise, David? Purity was what he was all about, and sometimes it was not entirely convincing, I was speaking with someone the other day who'd played Haydn symphonies under Boulez in the 70s and he apparently would not admit any unnotated nuance whatever. This is an approach which can reap remarkable rewards with Wagner and even more with Debussy and Stravinsky, but I think he came to feel that Haydn probably did have something else in mind.
    Quite different to Mr. Pop, whom I always used to fantasise had been baptised 'Iggremont'.
    Leon Marks likes this.
  8. Wolf Alice are brilliant. A breath of fresh air in a nostalgic kind of way. I am an indie kid of the 90s and they remind me very much of the best kind of music around that time. Pixies, Breeders, Stone Roses, etc. but just done in their own way.
    The Daughter album isn't out until next week, but I enjoyed the last as a downbeat chilled album and am looking forward to this next one.
  9. Tom, I meant that it's not necessarily the Paraifal the experts recommend.

    Paul, thanks. I think the new Daughter is a little different to their debut. I saw Wolf Alice on Jools Holland and they were very good, but kind of forgot about them for a bit.
  10. France Musique has just given us a real treat:). Act 1 of Die Walküre from the famous Chéreau/Boulez Bayreuth rendering. Utterly riveting, if not ideal for breakfast digestion. Boulez's refusal to linger builds up the tension perfectly but does not underplay the lyrical passages. Wonderful orchestra and pretty good Siegmund, Sieglinde and Hunding too.
  11. I've been making a concerted effort to listen to new music recently, so have been working my way through friends' recommendation for 2015 releases. The one's I've been most impressed by were:

    Viet Cong - s/t. Long-form post-punk reminiscent of Gang of Four and This Heat, and yet surprisingly accessible, enjoyable and melody-oriented.
    Lonelady - Hinterland. Great arty 8-track pop on Warp Records. Somewhere between Remain In Light-era Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club/the funkier stuff on McCartney II.
    Pole - Wald. Cold, minimal and very deep downbeat techno/dub. Excellent.
    Circuit des Yeux - In Plain Speech. A strikingly unusual female baritone leading some beautiful arrangements. Nico and Patti Smith are probably too obvious as reference points; there's more going on here than arty "chanteuse" (ugh); she manages to successfully shift from clinical electronica to fuzzy 70's folk-rock without sounding forced. Dead good.
  12. John, I wonder whether you might like the self-titled debut from Algiers (Matador Records). Many influences, but I'd say Cabaret Voltaire meets Robert Johnson with a slice of Fatboy Slim (a thin slice).
    John Simson likes this.
  13. I found the first Daughter album very disappointing, the three eps seemed much better. Will check the new release though.
  14. Thanks, David! I will give it a listen now, whilst marking some shockingly bad essays (one of which actually quoted an Amazon Customer Review).
  15. Interesting programme on Radio 4 today about compression in music. Well worth seeking out on i-player if you want to know why some of us still like vinyl and loath mp3s and the like.

    Called "Compression versus Art" (broadcast Wednesday 7th lunchtime).

    Featuring a reasonable input from Steven Wilson, Steve Levine, musicians of several genres and actual scientists.

    (Obviously has to apologise for the lack of comparison-ability when listening on internet radio, although some of the differences were very marked nevertheless).
    John Simson likes this.
  16. My daughter does schoolwork while listening to loud popular music. I'm amazed that people can do that but they can!
  17. Tom, What did you make of his music? (do not bother asking your daughter...)
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  18. I did, Antoine, see post#3 in this thread. Rather than be sad we should celebrate when great artists live out their full span. He'd still be remembered if he'd died at 31 like Schubert.
  19. Currently listening to sonata 2 part 1. Daunting... lot of energy would say a Burgundy producer...
    Now structures...ouch but really not unpleasant...
    Sorry I had missed your post... indeed, he had a long and full life and I am told he was a ruthless teacher/conductor...
    He was als a character, they reported on radio he once told the wife of a composer he did not fancy "With a hat like that, one should fart rather than talk..." slightly politically incorrect...
  20. Slightly relevant, but I ended up talking to Alfred Brendel's daughter last night (online), who I didn't know, but is a "progressive rock" artist. An interesting change of direction from father to daughter.
  21. Just treated myself to Black Star by David Bowie on magnificent 180gm vinyl, and the Guy Garvey solo album. Looking forward to a weekend of strangeness with Mr Bowie.
  22. Hoping to grab the Boqie tomorrow if not sold out!
  23. The last few months I have been listening to Chasing Yesterday by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds a lot; it's a great album with some really soulful songs.

    Yesterday I listened to Tijuana Moods by Charles Mingus for the first time in a few years; some great latin rhythms on it.

    I have also been listening to Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss quite a bit lately.
  24. Just put Black Star on after Her Wings Unfold War.
  25. Overkill by Motorhead. "Stay Clean" just highlights the unique bass sound that was Lemmy

    Not played this in a while and is just the thing to brighten up a late night working on lots of numbers and charts in Excel / Powerpoint!

Share This Page