Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Michael Galasso - Scenes (ECM, 1983)

The late violin virtuoso Michael Galasso, born 1949 Louisiana, began studying music at the age of three and gave his first solo performance by the age of eleven. He began his career as a composer in the early '70s writing scores for some of Robert Wilson's plays.  Scenes was Galasso's first album of studio recordings, released on the ECM label. It is comprised of nine pieces for violin, on which Galasso is the sole performer by utilizing studio multitracking. The musical vignettes are simple yet evocative and while occasional bearing the influence of Baroque composers, (i.e. Vivaldi, Albioni, Bach) they are devoid of pomp and ostentation. Get it here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dariush Dolat-Shahi - Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar (Folkways, 1985)

Dariush Dolat-Shahi began studying Persian folk music at the age of ten at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. After graduating with a degree in music from Tehran University, he was offered a fellowship at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht and the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music. In the late '70s - early '80s, Dolat-Shahi came to the United States to attend Columbia University. It was there that he studied with electronic music pioneers Mario Davidovsky, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and B├╝lent Arel and recorded Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. It's a unique album that seamlessly blends two seemingly disparate musical influences to wonderful effect. Highly recommended - download.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Margaret Leng Tan plays Somei Satoh - Litania (New Albion Records, 1986)

Somei Satoh, born 1947 in Sendai, Japan, began his career in 1969 as a member of an experimental, mixed media group called Tone Field. In the early '70s, he established a multimedia arts festival known as Global Vision. He has written over thirty compositions including works for traditional Japanese instruments, solo instruments, orchestra, chamber ensembles, electronic instruments  and theater ensembles. Taken from the back cover-

         Somei Satoh is a composer of the post-war generation whose hauntingly evocative musical language is a curious fusion of Japanese timbral sensibilities with nineteenth century romanticism and electronic technology. He has been deeply influenced by Shintoism, the writings of the Zen Buddhist scholar D.T. Suzuki, his Japanese cultural heritage as well as the multi-media art forms of the sixties. Satoh's elegant and passionate style convincingly integrates these diverse elements into an inimitably individual approach to contemporary Japanese music.

Margaret Leng Tan, born 1945 in Singapore, is a classical musician best known as a concert toy pianist. She also performs classical pieces with other unconventional instruments including toy drums, tin cans and soy sauce dishes. She met John Cage in 1981 and worked along side him during the last eleven years of his life. On Litania, she plays piano, and on two of the pieces, it is processed through tape delay. Also performing on the album is the late composer Michael Pugliese, vocalist Lise Messier, and violinist Frank Almond. Download Litania here.