More Praise for Cuckson, Burns, and Nono

Miranda Cuckson and Christopher Burns | Luigi NonoThe Examiner‘s Stephen Smoliar relates his experience listening to the my label Urlicht AudioVisual’s recording of Luigi Nono’s La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura with violinist Miranda Cuckson and electronica master Richard Burns some years after having heard a live performance by Gidon Kremer:

An impressive effort to document Miranda Cuckson’s performance of Luigi Nono

… A recent release of [La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura] by Urlicht has taken a rather unique approach to capturing that sense of journey. Violinist Miranda Cuckson and “projectionist” Christopher Burns made a recording after having given a performance in New York. This was a multi-track recording for playback on a 5.1 Surround Sound system, and it was released as a Blu-ray audio disc. For those who lacked the necessary technology, that disc was packaged with a more conventional stereophonic CD. As one who lacks that “necessary technology,” my own listening experience involved playing the CD with full knowledge of my previous spatial experience.

With that disclaimer I have to say that there is much to be gained from the CD in spite of its limitations. Without the spatial effects one is more inclined to attend to Nono’s motivic vocabulary. While this may make the journey less “physical,” one can still appreciate that sense of peregrination through the six sections of the piece (conveniently marked as separate tracks on the CD). Furthermore, those who understand the semantics of “madrigal” in its Renaissance context will probably be more likely to appreciate why Nono chose this noun to categorize this particular composition.

Nevertheless, the other significant disclaimer I must make is that I had the advantage of listening to this recording with the benefit of past experience. There is no doubt that this is complex music, the result of scrupulous attention to both the notations encountered on the music stands and the sounds on the recorded tracks. It is probably more than most listeners will be able to manage on first contact. Nevertheless, it does not take many exposures for mind to encounter familiarities as the performance peregrinates. The listener willing to let this music work its magic on its own terms is likely to be well rewarded.

Luigi Nono: La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura (1988-89) Miranda Cuckson, violin / Christopher Burns, electronics

Produced by Christopher Burns and Richard Warp Recording engineer: Richard Warp Recorded at A Bloody Good Record Inc, Long Island City NY Mixing engineer (stereo CD): Richard Warp Mixing engineers (DTS 5.1 surround mix): Paul Special and Richard Warp Assistant mixing engineer (DTS 5.1 surround mix): Dillon Pajunas DTS 5.1 surround mix produced at Sonic Arts Center, CCNY, NYC Produced for New Spectrum Recordings, NYC Executive producer: Glenn Cornett

Urlicht AudioVisual UAD-5992 CD plus Blu-Ray Audio for home theater systems — available at Amazon.com. CD plus DTS-CD for home theater systems — available here.

Patricia Leonard’s “Strangely Close, Yet Distant” Nominated for American Prize in Composition

Songs for Mahler in the Absence of WordsComposer Patricia Leonard informs my label, Urlicvht AudioVisual, that Strangely Close, Yet Distant, her trio for viola, cello, and piano included in the New York Piano Quartet’s Songs for Mahler in the Absence of Words, has been nominated for the American Prize for Composition. Congratulations to Patricia along with the members of the New York Piano Quartet along with recording engineer John Baker and his team!


Strictly commercial footnote: download the hi-def .flac edition here. Download the CD-quality .flac edition here. Download the hi-quality mp3 edition here. Buy the CD edition here.

Van Cliburn, 1934-2013

Just crossed the AP wire.

I’ve introduced myself to many celebrated musicians. Van was the first such person to step over and introduce himself to me — while I was taking a brief break in the coffee nook at BMG Classics. We chewed the fat for a few minutes, particularly about the greatly underrated piano music of Szymanowski. The media may have presented an image of Cliburn as shy, but I can vouch for that fact that he was gregarious company whose passion for music as both a player and listener was clear with every word.

I have a lot of fun and funny memories of interacting with musicians, but meeting Cliburn remains the most vivid more than two decades later.

New York Chamber Music Festival — Forecast: Thunder, with Scattered Democracy

The fourth annual New York Chamber Music Festival opened today, honoring the centenary of John Cage.

I managed to break a way from the office to take in one of Cage’s unique text-based pieces, “Lecture on the Weather” — a setting of selected writings by Henry Thoreau, focusing primarily on issues of governance and democracy.

Continue reading New York Chamber Music Festival — Forecast: Thunder, with Scattered Democracy