kronos quartet

Recent content on Elsewhere by Graham Reid tagged as kronos quartet.

Philip Glass: Music from the film The Illusionist (Elite)

Philip Glass: Music from the film The Illusionist (Elite)

A lot of soundtracks don't stand up outside of the movie, but Glass' distinctive orchestrations, melodic repetitions and tension-release style work for me (almost) every time, and they certainly do for this film by writer/director Neil Burger. Given the dramatic suspense and subject matter in the film (magic. mystery, love) this soundtrack...

Zbigniew Preisner: Silence, Night and Dreams (EMI)

Zbigniew Preisner: Silence, Night and Dreams (EMI)

Composer Preisner is best known for his dramatic soundtrack work -- but this gentle exploration of Biblical texts owes more to austere and evocative meditative music, which makes that album title utterly apt. The title track and a couple of others feature the pure and unwavering vocals of the young soprano Tom Cully from Libera (who looks...

HENRYK GORECKI, THE SORROWFUL SYMPHONY: Capturing the spirit of the age, and marketing

HENRYK GORECKI, THE SORROWFUL SYMPHONY: Capturing the spirit of the age, and marketing

When Billboard magazine – the bible of the international music industry – put classical music on its cover in September '92 with the heading “It’s Cool Again!” there was only one mention of Polish composer Henryk Gorecki in the 18-page insert supplement. And that reference was only to say that despite a stagnant...

THE KRONOS QUARTET COMES TO TOWN (1988): The Talking Heads of the classical world

THE KRONOS QUARTET COMES TO TOWN (1988): The Talking Heads of the classical world

When David Harrington hit the stage it was with a lot of style. Wearing a lurex T-shirt, leather pants and ankle boots, and a tight black jacket he looked every inch the lean and rangy musician blowing into town for a couple of concerts. Beside him was the group, also all in stylish black attire. And they were greeted with rapturous...

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

When the recording of Robert Moran’s new opera was released in '94 there was an almost predictable ripple of controversy in the more staid sections of the classical world. And not because this dark, disconcerting piece offered no conventional narrative structure, that one of the performers was proto-punk Iggy Pop (who spoke his part...

Tagaq: Sinaa (Jericho Beach)

Tagaq: Sinaa (Jericho Beach)

This remarkable Inuit throat singer and avant-vocalist came to my attention in Vancouver when I was reading a lengthy article about John Coltrane in a newspaper (my kinda paper) and she was profiled on the opposite page. The lines which leaped out were about her and her grandmother killing whales with their bare hands. At first I took her to...

STEVE REICH INTERVIEWED (1990): The maximal minimalist

STEVE REICH INTERVIEWED (1990): The maximal minimalist

American composer Steve Reich finishes telling of his new work – an enormous three-years-in-the making multi-media project – and then reflects on the austerity of his early music which enraged audiences two decades ago. “Yeah, it’s easy to see backwards and how all these new things came from that early stuff –...

Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch/Warners)

Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch/Warners)

For more than 30 years the Kronos Quartet have been innovators, rarely looking back or playing pieces more than a few times, always on the lookout for contemporary material and daring projects. They have recorded with John Zorn and Allen Ginsberg, played material by Jimi Hendrix, Terry Riley, the remarkable Inuit singer Tagaq,...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Jon Hassell: Last Night the Moon Came (ECM/Ode)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Jon Hassell: Last Night the Moon Came (ECM/Ode)

By sheer coincidence, this new album by ambient trumpeter Jon Hassell (full title "Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street" from a poem by Rumi) arrived just as I was posting his 1981 release Dream Theory in Malaya as an Essential Elsewhere album. And it is pleasing to report that when it comes to his seductive,...

Jon Hassell: Dream Theory in Malaya (1981)

Jon Hassell: Dream Theory in Malaya (1981)

When I imported this album in 1981 it was on the basis of faith: faith that the Melody Maker writer who had hailed it was on the money, that Brian Eno who appeared as a collaborator and on whose EG Music imprint it appeared was right, that it would be as good as their previous collaboration, and that it would arrive intact. My faith was...

Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

There are few things more depressing than observing a revolution become a style (or the Beatles’ Revolution become a Nike ad). Or to witness innovation morph into cliché. When director Godfrey Reggio’s innovative film Koyaanisqatsi appeared in the early Eighties it had an immediate impact on popular music and film culture....

JACK BODY INTERVIEWED (2001): From street to string section

JACK BODY INTERVIEWED (2001): From street to string section

The music skitters off the disc as the Greek fiddle player takes to the tune at alarming speed, the notes slewing into each other. The piece is Horos Serra, recorded for a 1973 collection, and it captivated Wellington composer Jack Body so much that he transcribed it. No mean feat, given the density and difficulty of the piece which lasts a...

Various Artists: s3d (ear and eye) Atoll CD/DVD

Various Artists: s3d (ear and eye) Atoll CD/DVD

In 1996 Ellipsis Arts in the US released a CD and book package entitled Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments. It was compiled by Bart Hopkin who had edited the journal Experimental Musical Instruments for over a decade at that point. The foreward was written by Tom Waits who had begun his career-changing...

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: The Road (Mute)

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: The Road (Mute)

The most difficult test for any film score is if it works in the absence of images, and even more so if it does when the listener hasn't seen the movie. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have had a long association (Bad Seeds, the booze-rock blues-rock Grinderman) and here on the score to the forthcoming film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's dark...

Portico Quartet: Isla (Real World/Southbound)

Portico Quartet: Isla (Real World/Southbound)

This second album by the British quartet confirms why they are one of the most interesting things on the British improv/jazz scene: and not because they are fiery adrenalin-infused post-bop players. Quite the opposite in fact. This London-based outfit (who were nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize for their debut album Knee Deep in the North...

Eden Mulholland: Music for Dance (Isaac)

Eden Mulholland: Music for Dance (Isaac)

Probably this shouldn't work. Music for dance pieces have to be special to exist without the moving images -- and yet in theory they should be able to do exactly that. These do. Eden Mulholland has written for numerous New Zealand dance productions and is the singer-songwriter in the rock band Motorcade, but here he collects 23 discreet,...

GLASS, A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS, a documentary by SCOTT HICKS (Madman DVD)

GLASS, A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS, a documentary by SCOTT HICKS (Madman DVD)

In his insightful, provocative and usefully gossipy book The Rest is Noise (2007), the writer and critic Alex Ross took a free-wheeling survey of 20th century classical music and addressed why the damn stuff had become so difficult for "modern" audiences. As with jazz -- which lost its populist mandate when free form arrived and...

Steve Reich: It's Gonna Rain (1965)

Steve Reich: It's Gonna Rain (1965)

Sampling, found sound, loops and tape manipulation are commonplace these days -- but back in '65 this piece by minimalist Steve Reich (interviewed here) anticipated a whole style of experimental music. And as with John Lennon -- who allegedly put the tape of the Beatles' b-side Rain backwards into his home player and loved the strange sound...

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

Choreographer Robert Wilson is one of those rare individuals who can dress a stage to look like a private dream inspired by the stillness of a Rene Magritte paiting or a mad cabaret populated by frogs and floating chairs. Either way, at a glance you can spot a Wilson design. They are idiosyncratic, unique, often visionary, sometimes...

Neil Cowley Trio: Radio Silence (HideInside/Southbound)

Neil Cowley Trio: Radio Silence (HideInside/Southbound)

British jazz pianist Cowley and his trio seem to blow hot and cold: their '06 album Displaced was terrific (see here), but on their Loud Louder Stop of last year (here) they resorted to repetitive rock-like riffery as if to distance themselves from the "jazz" world. There is more hard hammering riffery on parts of this new album but...

MICHAEL NYMAN INTERVIEWED (1993): Play us a film, piano man

MICHAEL NYMAN INTERVIEWED (1993): Play us a film, piano man

For director Jane Campion to have as noted a composer as Michael Nyman to score the soundtrack for her film The Piano was as simple as a phone call. From his home in Toulouse, Nyman -- whose extensive career is best known for his soundtracks to Peter Greenaway films – acknowledges that he knew Campion’s previous films...

Arthur Russell: Another Thought (1985)

Arthur Russell: Another Thought (1985)

Curiously, it has only been in recent years that the British music press "discovered" Arthur Russell. But maybe not so curious: Russell died of Aids-related illnesses in '92 and although he left behind literally many hundreds of reels of recordings (everything from disco through experimental pop to Russell singing with just his cello...

POINT MUSIC (1992-2002): A decade of delivering new music

POINT MUSIC (1992-2002): A decade of delivering new music

In many ways Rory Johnston looked exactly what he was, the vice-president of A&R (artists and repertoire) of a contemporary classical music label. It was there in the high, broad forehead and clear eyes, in the modulated speech and the vocabulary which didn't shy from a polysyllable or two. When I met him in the mid Nineties in...

Kronos Quartet: Purple Haze (1986)

Kronos Quartet: Purple Haze (1986)

When the Kronos Quartet closed their first album for the Nonesuch label in '86 with this brittle version of Jimi Hendrix's '67 hit even liner note writer Gregory Sandow had to concede that, after a programme of works by Peter Sculthorpe, Aulis Sallinen, Philip Glass and Conlon Nancarrow, it had all the hallmarks of a built-in encore. Known...

HAIL BOP! A PORTRAIT OF JOHN ADAMS, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

HAIL BOP! A PORTRAIT OF JOHN ADAMS, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

Early in this insightful 100 minute portrait of the American composer John Adams by Tony Palmer, Adams cites Milton Babbitt's article Who Cares If You Listen? and being struck by the cavalier attitude of many composers who knew they had no audience and had created a mindset which "basically said 'Screw you'." "I remember...

RATTLE RECORDS AT 20: Decades of delivering

RATTLE RECORDS AT 20: Decades of delivering

Even producer Steve Garden, one of the prime movers behind Auckland's Rattle label, finds it hard to believe it has been 20 years since their first releases. Now with a catalogue of over 30 albums -- which includes those on their Rattle Jazz imprint -- Rattle is a significant player in New Zealand's musical landscape. It has recently...

Dave Lisik: Donated by Cantor Fitzgerald; A Threnody (Rattle)

Dave Lisik: Donated by Cantor Fitzgerald; A Threnody (Rattle)

If you are reading this in New Zealand on September 11, 2011 -- the 10th anniversary of 9/11 -- Canadian-born, Wellington-based composer Dave Lisik will have performed this evocative, hour-long work in Virginia yesterday for re-broadcast on a New York radio station on the 11th as part of the day-long commemorations there. Recorded...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Jonathan Besser: Campursari (Rattle)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Jonathan Besser: Campursari (Rattle)

Since coming to New Zealand more than 30 years ago, the pianist-composer Jonathan Besser has enjoyed a highly successful and diverse career, first with violinist Chris Prosser in the Besser and Prosser duo, with electronic artist Ross Harris in Free Radicals, then his own ensemble and latterly with the small group Bravura. His works have...

DAVE LISIK INTERVIEWED (2011): Ancient, contemporary and to the future

DAVE LISIK INTERVIEWED (2011): Ancient, contemporary and to the future

Even a cursory glance at the website for Canadian-born, American-educated and Wellington-resident composer/musician Dave Lisik is impressive for his work ethic. Aside from noting him being a teacher, trumpeter and theorist, his website lists eight albums under his own name since 2007 and another five where he was producer/director of...

Tom Waits and the Kronos Quartet: Diamond in Your Mind (2007)

Tom Waits and the Kronos Quartet: Diamond in Your Mind (2007)

With a new Tom Waits album Bad As Me due in late October (his first studio album in seven years), it is timely to prime the pump with a little known item From the Vaults. In 2007 at a concert in New York's Avery Fisher Hal in the Lincoln Centre, Waits and the Kronos Quartet joined a line-up which included Anoushka Shankar, the Gyoto Tantric...

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