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Weekly Recommendations 3. Nov. 2019

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

A series where I share some of the things I´ve been checking out this week.

I hope you enjoy!

SWR Donaueschinger Musiktage 2019 - Opening Concert

This year´s premiere concert featured a work by Simon Steen-Andersen for Video, Choir, Orchestra, and Jazz Big Band. What does it mean to compose for three ensembles at one time at why not make one large ensemble? I believe these questions are posed and answered within the piece itself.

Comparisons to Karlheinz Stockhausen´s Gruppen, a work for 3 orchestras from the 1950s, can´t be avoided. I would say it is one thing however to spatialize instruments when the sounds are abstract - the instrumentation and the spatializations become more free, more forgiving to compositional whims. One, perhaps paradoxically, has more options. The adding of video, as in Steen Andersen´s work - which in this case came from footage of live performances from previous Donaueschinger festivals, taken from the archive - creates the burden of meanings, representations. I believe the composer is aware of this. Why not add the instruments of the big band to the orchestra, why not enlarge it in this way?

Here the big band is taken as an entity, which has a cultural meaning and symbolic representation. In framing the big band as a necessary structural unit, in this way the orchestra itself is framed too. More than if they were on their own, the orchestra, the choir, and the big band, when juxtaposed in this way, are exposed as cultural entities, with past baggage. This is a daring challenge to a composer, and risks backing one in a corner.

Eric Rohmer - Drink Your Coffee. It's Getting Cold! (1986)

My favorite film director, Eric Rohmer, produced a music video at some point in his career (or is it an advertisement?). His talents know no bounds! There´s an idea: a work which seems like an advertisement but is actually an artwork. (?)

The Rise of Conceptronica

The author makes sense of recent electronic music releases which seem more like press releases for a gallery installation or publications for the art world than traditional electronic music. The freshness of this work is that it doesn´t make a big deal of its conceptualism - doesn´t even go by its name. It has embodied the ideas and let them go when they are in the way. Also, by embracing a more "artistic" approach these artists seem free to do whatever they want. I hope I can make sense of all of the artists listed here, and find time to listen to them.

Understanding Git (part 1) — Explain it Like I’m Five

If you´re like me, if some offers you their GitHub link and your skin starts to curl, then you may need this!

Vintage Bob Grant

In a recent interview Howard Stern mentioned that he believed his desire to be heard on the radio came from the lack of attention his father gave him. His father, however, always listened to Bob Grant on the radio. He went as far as to make sure everyone in the house was quiet when Bob Grant came on. The authority and attention Bob Grant commanded over his father, subconsciously led Stern to believe he needed to become a radio jockey. (or so Howard Stern theorized).


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