STAFF PICKS: Friday Faves

Second Inversion hosts share a favorite selection from their weekly playlist. Tune in on Friday, May 12 to hear these pieces and plenty of other new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre!

Missy Mazzoli: “Orizzonte” (Cantaloupe Music)
Performed by Lisa Moore

Missy Mazzoli’s “Orizzonte”—Italian for “horizon”—features gently undulating sine waves to create an audible landscape, over which pianist Lisa Moore plays a hypnotic line of understated landmarks.

During a residency at a squat in Amsterdam, the piano on which Mazzoli worked had been left to the elements for a year as part of an art installation, so some of the keys didn’t work. She wrote “Orizzonte” for that piano. The piece includes no bar lines, so the rhythm changes with each performance. It’s the perfect music for refocusing your mind as you watch power lines rise and fall through your car window. – Brendan Howe


Richard Carrick: “Sub-merge” (New World Records)
Performed by Richard Carrick with DZ4 Wind Quartet

Have you ever wondered what a wind quartet would sound like underwater? Richard Carrick did.

His two-part “Sub-merge” is written to sound like an ensemble under the ocean, illustrated through sinuous sonic distortions and contorted musical textures. Scored for winds and piano, at times you can actually hear the individual instruments being pushed and pulled away from one another in the currents, creating rich harmonies and microtonal echoes that sparkle like a sunken treasure.
 Maggie Molloy

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 12pm hour today to hear this piece.


Max Richter: Sleep: Path 5 (delta) (Deutsche Grammophon)

This Max Richter piece reminded me of the cravings for still, peace, and introspection which often seem to come as an involuntary reaction to prolonged stress and business.  In this track, I hear both the defensive, convalescent retreat and the hopeful, rejuvenating centering that come with sleep, often in the same night.  Taking in this small portion of the piece makes me want to investigate the larger (8 hours!) work, perhaps overnight.   Perhaps I should “sleep on it.” – Seth Tompkins

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 4pm hour today to hear this piece.


Allen Vizzutti: Snow Scenes for Trumpet and Orchestra (De Haske Records)
Performed with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jan De Haan

Vibrant and jazzy, Allen Vizzutti’s Snow Scenes for Trumpet and Orchestra is another effortless performance by this master trumpeter. Vizzutti, who has performed on hundreds of motion picture soundtracks and TV shows (as well as with Sinatra, Streisand, Prince, and on and on…), is a bonafide savant when it comes to the trumpet. Don’t believe it? Let countless YouTube videos of Vizzutti performing while rotating the trumpet, or playing it upside down, or just teaching “trumpet clinics,” make the case.  His talent is stupefying.
Rachele Hales

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 6pm hour today to hear this piece.


Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Memorial (Soundbrush Records)
Performed by the Canticum Novum Youth Choir

Here is a stunning work of music that cannot be ignored. Ellen Taafe Zwilich’s Memorial for the Victims of the Sandy Hook Massacre is scored for a regular SATB chorus that begins singing the Requiem aeternam text, and is then joined by a children’s choir with a heartbreaking task: reciting the names of the young victims of the school shooting.

Subject matter aside, the music is fascinatingly beautiful, with shifting colors and long, drawn-out suspensions. There is an enchanting interplay in the voices that only serves to heighten the power of Zwilich’s reaction to this tragedy, and makes this short work a must-hear.  – Geoffrey Larson

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 9pm hour today to hear this piece.

STAFF PICKS: Friday Faves

Second Inversion hosts and community members share a favorite selection from this Friday’s playlist and a few other gems, too. Tune in at the indicated times below on Friday, April 29 to hear these pieces. In the meantime, you’ll hear other great new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre 24/7!

Nina Simone: Stars from Little Girl Blue (Naive Records)

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Elton John named one of his pianos after her,  Beyoncé cited her as a strong musical influence, and in 2014 cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton released an entire album dedicated to offering Nina Simone the voice of her cello. That album is Little Girl Blue, and we’re featuring one of the pieces from said album that I admire most: “Stars.” The bare texture of “Stars” gives it a sober atmosphere, yet it is a passionate piece that keeps building up. – Rachele Hales

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 8am hour today to hear this recording.


Donnacha Dennehy: Stainless Staining from Stainless Staining; Lisa Moore, piano (Cantaloupe Music)

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This is a busy time of year. Personally, I have lately been in the mood to just keep my head down and focus on the tasks at hand. The vacations and summer plans are all arranged, but right now, there’s work to be done. My pick for this week is music that supports such a mindset: Donnacha Dennehy’s Stainless Staining. The intricate rhythmic modulations and evolving motives here are the perfect soundtrack for taking care of business. This is not surprising, given the cinematic qualities that are present in this work; at points, this piece sounds like a film score in search of a film. The sustained intensity to which this piece builds is somewhat unexpected given its minimalistic and relatively relaxed opening, but it is ultimately quite pleasing. Also notable is the wide variety of sounds that Moore draws out of the piano; these sounds and their flow into and out of each other are truly beguiling. Have that third cup of coffee and enjoy the ride! – Seth Tompkins

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 10am hour today to hear an excerpt from this recording.


Brian Eno and Icebreaker: Stars from Apollo (Cantaloupe Music)

apollocoverdigitalhiresMusic can take you anywhere in the world—from the shores of Spain to the Steppes of Central Asia, from the romantic forests of France to the regal palaces of Russia. But music also has the power to take you far beyond this world—out into the dark mysteries and uncharted territories of the universe.

Brian Eno’s Apollo takes you to the furthest reaches of outer space through a series of ambient and atmospheric pieces performed by the 12-piece contemporary music group Icebreaker. The pieces were originally composed in the 1980s for a feature-length documentary titled For All Mankind, directed by Al Reinert. The original version of the film had no narration, and simply featured 35mm footage of the Apollo moon missions collected together and set to Eno’s music.

But honestly, you don’t have to watch the movie to appreciate the music—it stands on its own. Icebreaker brings sparkle, polish, and an inimitable sense of awe to Eno’s music, highlighting the shimmering timbres, subtle orchestration, and nebulous atmospheres of outer space. We can’t all be astronauts, but this music will definitely have you seeing stars.  – Maggie Molloy

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 5pm hour today to hear an excerpt from this recording.


Ahnnu: Perception (Leaving Records)

LA-based composer Leland “Ahnnu” Jackson artfully dissects the customs of hip-hop for their abstract emotional essence in his 2015 album, Perception. Mixing field recordings with ‘90s mixtape production methods, Ahnnu creates a dusty, distant ventilator hum, which slips into the subconscious unnoticed, rendering the album a soundscape for the id. Ahnnu bypasses the rules and logic of perception and, with surgical precision, stimulates the limbic system in a considerable number of ways – the neck-prickling, nervous, noir energy of Informant’s modulated synths to the nostalgic, reflective, vinyl textures of Anneal. Given hip-hop’s well established extroversion, Ahnnu’s ambitious project taking the art form to conceptual introversion yields highly intriguing results. – Brendan Howe

Staff & Community Picks: July 15

A weekly rundown of the music our staff and listeners are loving lately! Are you interested in contributing some thoughts on your favorite new music albums? Drop us a line!

download (20)I recently rediscovered one of my (now) favorite piano pieces. I’m not even sure where to begin, it is almost unbelievably good. Stainless Staining by Donnacha Dennehy is the kind of piece that I can just put on repeat and let its relentless, perpetual, rhythmic drive push and pull me through my day, as it becomes a kind of soundtrack to my waking life. There are actually two tracks on this jaw-dropping EP release from Lisa Moore, but I can barely tell you anything about the second track, Reservoir, because I never seem to get to it with track 1 on endless repeat. — by James Holt

 

path-of-miracles-cd-coverEvery year, more than 100,000 people make the 500-mile pilgrimage from St Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Not all of them are Catholic, and not all of them are looking for a spiritual experience; some just crave adventure. You don’t have to be religious, or even spiritual, to find adventure in Joby Talbot’s “Path of Miracles,” an hour-long piece dedicated to the famous pilgrimage. The seventeen-part harmony, set to text that’s in turns religious, historical, and poetic, is indescribably beautiful. Talbot’s piece is the choral interpretation of a month-long journey filled with excitement, doubt, revelation, fear, and triumph. – by Jill Kimball

 

Instrumental CoverIt’s just not every day that you hear a beatboxing flutist, and beyond that, one who can play circles around some of the best classically trained flutists in the world! Greg Pattillo, joined by cellist Eric Stephenson and bassist Peter Seymour are PROJECT Trio and make music so much fun by breathing, bowing, and plucking new life into classical favorites (Brahms Hungarian Dance No.5 and the Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saens) and writing original tunes for their unusual trio combination, with titles on this disc such as Djangish, BRB, and 99 Mondays. – by Maggie Stapleton