Musicophilia Daily

[Audio] – Brian Eno – “French Catalogues (Variations on Pachelbel’s Canon in D Maj., II)” (1975)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on May 21, 2009

Brian Eno – “French Catalogues (Variations on Pachelbel’s Canon in D Maj., II)” (1975)

It’s the second, non-titular side of Eno’s ‘Discreet Music’ that has always affected me more deeply, and fascinated me most.  Taking a classical work the beauty of which can sometimes be forgotten because of over- and misuse, Eno applies ostensibly cerebral experimentation, altering component elements of the score via mathematical formula.  But the results, while perhaps momentarily disorientating, and intellectually engaging, are remarkably visceral; perhaps by breaking down our overfamiliar expectations the “experiment” create a heightened awareness of the existing beauty, while adding new beauty.  That’s always been the trick of Eno, blurring the lines between the brain and the body, a “non-musician” getting in there and going at it without being in the least bit “punk” about it.  But his variations on Pachelbel’s Canon in D are underrated pieces in his well-earned reputation.  [The many sides of Eno are explored through similarly varied mixes at Musicophilia.]


[Audio] – Iannis Xenakis – “Mélanges” (1979)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on May 15, 2009

Iannis Xenakis – “Mélanges” (1979)

As an architect, Xenakis is a sworn enemy of mine, a direct disciple of Jenneret-Gris (aka “Le Corbusier”).  Fortunately, unlike the avant-garde Modernists in architecture, their musical equivalents didn’t try to  literally destroy what came before (or at least they didn’t succeed).  Indeed, this percussion work at times recalls Indonesian gamelan; at other times it brings to mind the push-and-pull of the rhythm elements of Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 4.  Also unlike the blank, indifferent banality of post-war avant-garde architecture, this music is highly visceral, abstract as its highly dynamic progress may be.  [Xenakis is incorporated into several experimental-but-visceral mixes at Musicophilia.]

[Audio] – Robert Schumann – String Quartet A Major, O41 N03 “Adagio Motto” (1842)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on May 8, 2009

Robert Schumann – String Quartet A Major, O41 N03 “Adagio Motto” (1842)

I’ve heard Schumann described as “weepy,” and I guess this piece wouldn’t dissuade anyone who saw that as a pejorative.  But I find the interplay of this chamber orchestra considerably more emotionally diverse than mere maudlin.  On the whole, melancholy is central; but there are moments of elevation, joy, expectation, perhaps hints of anger, and the piece shifts subtly and nimbly between them in a way that rings true and avoids sentimentalism.

[Audio] – Maurice Ravel – “Sonatine 1: Modere” (1905)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on March 30, 2009


Maurice Ravel – “Sonatine 1: Modere” (1905)

Though I know little about classical music broadly speaking, I know I’m a sucker for the impressionistic, painterly styles of compositional music from around the turn of the 1900s: Satie, Debussy, Ravel.  This is one of my favorites, though I have little language to describe it properly.  It is delicate but not slight, rhythmically adventurous without being mathematical, virtuosic without being flashy, dynamic and sensitive.  If pressed, though, I’d simply call it beautiful.  [Ravel can be heard here and here in two of my favorite mixes at Musicophilia.]

[Audio] – Antonio Vivaldi – “Double Concerto, Largo, G Minor” (1780s)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on March 5, 2009


Antonio Vivaldi – “Double Concerto, Largo, G Minor” (1780s)

I know fairly little about pre-20th Century Classical music–it seems to me the journey of a lifetime, so I’m not rushed.  I do know, though, that my ears gravitate toward chamber music, string-based sounds, the less bombastic and portentous, more melancholic and contemplative end of the spectrum.  And from that range, this is one of the most devastatingly beautiful pieces I know. [This Vivaldi is featured in a “duet” with an instrumental percussive piece by Bjork in this short mix at Musicophilia.]