3 August 2007

Music diversion

Just listened to Ernst Krenek's first Piano Sonata on Classic FM out of Australia. The piece had that wonderful late Romantic harmony that reallyreallywants to be atonal (think Verklaerte Nacht). The performer, virtuoso pianist Geoffrey Douglas Madge (an Australian of course), worked directly with the composer when recording his sonatas. During rehersals, Krenek would even sit in front of Madge and conduct his performance in order to better communicate his intentions.

Further searching (what are Fridays for?) revealed that Madge is one of the handful of people who performed and recorded the entire Opus Clavicembalisticum (alas, most of Sorabji's works are still under copyright). Few words are appropriate for such an accomplishment beyond holy fucking shit. A recording of the four-hour performance is available, but there is great dispute over the quality. The first two reviews were good reading for the pro and con. This thread contains a discussion of the most damning evidence: Mr. Madge fakes his way through most of the [work] ... it is obvious he is improvising. Ouch. The Madge-hater provided audio samples--now purged--of the flaws next to Michael Habermann's recording and MIDIs of the piece. What a shame they're no long available.

Interestingly, the Amazon review praising Madge faults Sorabji as a composer saying that, among others, Messiaen is more skillful with large scale ideas. I've only heard some of Sorabji's transcriptions but may need to purchase the OC recording and hear for myself. The two works that are available on IMSLP look terrifying.

[ posted by sstrader on 3 August 2007 at 11:54:16 AM in Music ]