Carrillo Ives Partch Harrison Xenakis Scelsi | CHAMBER: American Festival of Microtonal Music (AFMM) Ensemble under the direction of Johnny Reinhard

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CHAMBER: American Festival of Microtonal Music (AFMM) Ensemble under the direction of Johnny Reinhard

by Carrillo Ives Partch Harrison Xenakis Scelsi

Features microtonal gems of the 20th Century by prominent composers Julián Carrillo PRELUDIO A COLON, Charles Ives STRING QUARTET NO. 2 in extended Pythagorean tuning featuring the FLUX Quartet, Lou Harrison AT THE TOMB OF CHARLES IVES,
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Julian Carrillo's Preludio a Colon
9:52 album only
2. Lou Harrison's At the Tomb of Charles Ives
3:51 album only
3. Gicinto Scelsi's Ko-Lho, movement I
5:32 album only
4. Scelsi, movement II
3:45 album only
5. Iannis Xenakis' Anaktoria
15:27 album only
6. Charles Ives's String Quartet #2, Discussion
7:54 album only
7. Ives's Arguments
4:58 album only
8. Ives's The Call of the Mountains
9:35 album only
9. Harry Partch's 2 Settings From Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, Isobel
3:49 album only
10. Partch's Anna the Allmaziful
2:52 album only


Album Notes
CHAMBER (P-200203) is the third CD in the PITCH collection created from a treasure of live concert performances in New York City by the American Festival of Microtonal Music (since 1981). The masterful recordings made by Norman Greenspan capture spectacular live performances of virtuosi microtonal musicians. The title of the CD represents the spirit of a chamber-like resonance, as to sound intimacy.

Julián Carrillo's Preludio a Colon was the first musical composition written by Carrillo in the system he devised, called the 13th Sound. Dedicated to the discovery of America, this work proposes to recreate the combined impressions of fear, astonishment, and joy which are perceived when one discovers the mystery of a new universe. A harp in sixteenth tones, a flute playing quartertones, and a string quartet creates a sonorous space where the singer's voice moves around in supple quartertone contours.

Carrillo was born in 1875 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. In 1895 he made the personal discovery of the 16th tone. This led to his published theory in 1909 of the Sonido Trece, the "13th sound," created by placing the left hand forefinger on the nut of the G-string -- which in producing a single 16th tone - results in a thirteenth note added to the previous 12. When Carrillo started considering the following small steps, his one extra note quickly expanded the octave into 96-tones per octave. It was not until after World War I that his works were able to be performed. Carrillo studied violin with the Belgian virtuoso Ysaye, and conducting with Nikisch. His music was performed by his own microtonal orchestra in Mexico, and also by Leopold Stokowski in the US. There still exists a Carrillo violin prize, awarded each year at the Paris Violin Conservatory. A prolific composer, his last work, a Papal Mass, was written shortly before his death at age 90. In Carrillo's honor, a postage stamp with his portrait was issued, and his name has been used to name streets in quite a few Mexican towns and cities. In Santismo, one can visit the Carrillo Museum, which features a collection of pianos tuned in various equal temperaments.

Nya, nya, Lo, etc.
Isobel, she is so pretty, truth to tell, wildwood's eyes and primrose hair, quietly, all the woods so wild, in mauves of moss and daphne-dews, how all so still she lay, neath of the white thorn, child of tree, like some lost happy leaf, like blowing flower stilled, as fain would she anon, for soon again will be, win me, woo me, wed me, ah, weary me! Nya, nya, etc.

Annah the Allmaziful
U, Oh, Ah Ho, ho , ho, etc.
In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Ever-living, the Bringer of Plurabilities, hallowed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run unhemmed, as it is uneven.

Lou Harrison's At the Tomb of Charles Ives pays homage to the great composer, with whom Harrison had worked closely. Many of Ives's published compositions had their introductions and/or endings determined by Harrison. This 4-minute long composition in Just Intonation paints a picture of heavenly tribute. Rather than specify the exact frequency of an individual note, Harrison chose to measure the space (vector) between notes. Ives had only one reference to Just Intonation in his corpus. In the section "When the Heavens Meet the Firmament" in the Universe Symphony, Ives scored for a Just Intonation "machine" amid quartertone tuned strings. The harps and the kanon were built by Skip La Plante.

Giacinto Scelsi's Ko-Lho is for clarinet and flute, although the sound is a melding of the two usually distinctive timbres into something unique. Like most of Scelsi's titles, there is no obvious meaning to the title, making for a more abstract interpretation. There is, however, allusion to Asian aesthetics in the music. The piece is in a clear 2 movements, as there is a break in between them. Scelsi used notated quartertones, glissandi, and coloring directions such as "bright" and "dark" to bring greater timbral vitality to his music.

Scelsi, a Roman nobleman of the 20th Century, sometimes called the "Italian Ives," was famous for his privacy. He did not allow any photographs to be taken of him. After he died, Europeans wondered loudly whether or not he actually wrote his own compositions. The now available plethora of compositions that clearly have his compositional voice makes any possible derision as to their authorship moot.

Iannis Xenakis' Anaktoria was premiered in New York with this performance. It makes extensive use of quartertones, thirdtones and glissandi. It was to describe his handling of sound masses that Xenakis introduced the term "stochastic music" (a word derived from the Greek "stochos" meaning "aim" or "conjecture"). The term stochastic applies to situations in which the number of elements is very large, so that the behavior of individuals cannot be determined, though the behavior of the whole collection can be. Jan Maguire, a French journalist, described Xenakis' method in the following way: "instead of thinking in terms of harmony, as musicians have for many centuries, Xenakis thinks in terms of sound entities which possess the characteristics of pitch, intensity and duration as associated to each other by and within time." The result of this thinking is evident in Anaktoria when the separate voices cannot be discerned, but the shape of the sound mass which they generate is clear.

Xenakis wrote of Anaktoria (which means "Beautiful, Like a Palace" in Greek): "It was a very beautiful girl from Lesbos that Sappho fell for. The piece is dedicated to Love in all its forms: carnal, spiritual, logical..." Eight instrumentalists, the "Octuor de Paris, " fed up with traditional concerts and publics, decided to bring an unusual style of music to unusual places and so asked Xenakis to write them a new work. After consulting each musician of the Octet one by one, listening to both the possibilities and impossibilities of each instrument Xenakis wrote Anaktoria, using these possibilities and impossibilities. Ana is high, Ktor is a construction; Anaktor is a palace; Anaktoria is the name of the wife of a Lesbos worthy, the woman Sappho fell in love with. And ANAKTORIA sounds good, has an archaic resonance, the resonance of a beautiful girl from the past, (translated by Edward Craxton). Xenakis, born in Romania in 1922 of Greek parentage, studied engineering in Athens, and after moving to Paris, architecture with Corbusier and composition with Olivier Messiaen. Essential to Xenakis' philosophy is the following admonition: "We must open our eyes and try to throw ridges towards other cultures, as well as to the immediate future of musical thought before dying suffocated by electronic techniques, applied either on the instrumental level or on the level of computer compositions."

Charles Ives's String Quartet #2 has three movements: Discussions, Arguments, and The Call of the Mountains. The intent is to have a group of 4 people that interact with each other, using music as the metaphor. While Ives's music can be very dissonant in equal temperament, it was discovered by Johnny Reinhard that there was a different intent, ideally, in producing the intonation. This performance by the Flux Quartet makes use of extended Pythagorean tuning, giving 21 specific notes. The intonation changes dramatically the impact the music has on a listener and we are pleased to present the first such recording for commercial release.

Harry Partch's 2 Settings from Joyce's 'Finnegan's Wake' was written New York City in 1944. It was dedicated to a Mr. John McKinney, Jr., was written for soprano Ethel Luening, and is in two sections - Isobel and Annah the Allmaziful. The text is drawn from James Joyce's famous work of 1939. The first movement is written for either a flageolet or 2 flutes, tuned differently. The second movement is a more standard Just Intonation and the two flutes play in the same tuning. This performance from 3/20/92 features 2 Kithara players, one moving the bars and the other strumming, due to the rare virtuosic writing for the instrument of 72 strings.

Julián Carrillo PRELUDIO A COLON
Meredith Borden, soprano
Dan Auerbach and Tina Cho, violins
Anastasia Solberg, viola
Dave Eggar, cello
Andrew Bolotowsky, flute
Wim Hoogewerf, quartertone guitar
Skip La Plante, sixteenthtone harp
Johnny Reinhard, conductor

Chris Washburne, alto trombone
David Lynch and Rosemary Birardi, psalteries
Carole Weber, kanon
Henry Lowengard, hammered dulcimer
Mayumi Tsuda, harp
Mark Feldman, Gabriela Klassen and Annemarie Wiesner, violins
Martha Mooke, viola
Jodi Beder, cello
Skip La Plante, percussion
Johnny Reinhard, conductor

Giacinto Scelsi KO-LHO
Andrew Bolotowsky, flute
Michiyo Suzuki, clarinet

Iannis Xenakis ANAKTORIA
Harold Seletsky, clarinet
April Chapman, bassoon
Tom Varner, horn
Laura Seaton and David Soldier, violins
Kenneth Edwards, viola
Mary Wooten, cello
Jay Elfenbein, double bass
Johnny Reinhard, conductor

Charles Ives STRING QUARTET No. 2
1. Discussions
2. Arguments
3. The Call of the Mountains
Tom Chiu and Conrad Harris, violins
Max Mandel, viola
Dave Eggar, cello

1. Isobel
2. Annah the Allmaziful
Meredith Borden, soprano
Andrew Bolotowsky and Susan Friedlander, flutes
Skip La Plante and Carole Webber, kithara



to write a review

Tamara Turner, CD Baby

"Chamber" features some of the most distinctive gems in the repertoire of contemporary classical music of the 20th century. While microtonal music is, more often than not, an acquired taste, the superb performances bring these notable works to life with engaging intensity. Including cornerstone works by the notable Julian Carrillo, Lou Harrison, Iannis Xenakis and Charles Ives, the album pays honorable tribute to the pioneering talent and bravery of such bold composers. CD Baby is proud and honored to house and provide an album of such merit.

Christopher John Smith

This is an excellent disc, a must not just for the microtonal specialist but for anyone interested in 20th-century music. The Ives quartet receives a superb performance from members of the Flux Quartet; the restoration of Ives' intended enharmonic intonation is effective and revelatory. The Scelsi performance is one of the finest I have heard of his work, revealing the transcendant dimensions of depth and color latent in his sometimes elusive scores. The historic Carrillo and rare Harrison, Xenakis and Partch pieces maintain the high level of interest. All around, a triumph of programming and performance.

Benoît Rouits

microtonality: so emotive
An excellent refreshing "bouquet" of yet gentle microtonal pieces for small ensemble, with performers revealing an intimate hidden emotion beneath these apparently astonishing scales.
Sometimes, microtonal melodies appears to my ears as both far forgotten ancient music and fully contemporary music, leading my mind to wide dreams and pleasures.

jean-pierre demers

It's an absolute work buy this ensemble