What is a prelude? There are many conceptions and definitions floating around out there, but the Brothers Balliett define it as a short instrumental work that explores one musical concept or idea. This week's show curates a brand new book of preludes in the tradition of Debussy and Scriabin.
Streams Thursdays at 3 pm and Sundays at 8 pm on Q2 Music
Brad Balliett and Doug Balliett — identical twin composers and performers from Massachusetts — have been performing together and collaborating for nearly thirty years. As bassoonist and double bassist (respectively) they perform as a duo and with groups all around New York, including the new music ensembles Deviant Septet, Metropolis Ensemble, Argento, Signal, and Alarm Will Sound, with chamber ensembles The Declassified and Ensemble ACJW, with symphonies such as Handel & Haydn and the Hartford Symphony, and a host of other diverse ensembles.
Dedicated rappers, the brothers, along with Elliot Cole, make up The Oracle Hysterical and create pioneering hip-hoperas, rap cantatas, poperas, and so forth. Performances of these works have taken them around the world.
The Balliett brothers are fiercely competitive and work tirelessly to one-up each other. This drive creates a self-fueling passion to write the best work, listen to the best music, and learn as much as possible. They are thrilled to be joining Q2 Music's roster of personalities.
The Brothers Balliett have a ten-point Manifesto which will guide this show:
1. We are the Brothers Balliett.
2. We believe that the best music is the music that excites the best curiosity, excitement, passion and conversation.
3. We believe in music that bears repeated listening and offers something new with each visitation.
4. We believe that stretching the ear is a way to stretch the mind.
5. We believe in the continually ceaseless creativity of composers everywhere.
6. We believe that music must reflect the time in which it was written, and that all eras deserve representation.
7. We believe that great nations should strive to attract and support great artists.
8. We believe in absolute artistic freedom, unfettered by trend or dogma.
9. We believe that the power of ideas, creativity, and personality can shape a city's character.
10. We believe in the groove.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Did you ever notice just how high Italian composers write? From Puccini to Scelsi to Berio and everywhere in between, the Italians seem to love the highest range on each instrument, and as Oliver Knussen as pointed out, each generation seems to push the limits a little bit higher.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Why is Michael Nyman so awesome? Is it because he writes whatever he wants, unfettered by trend or dogma? Is it because he chooses beautiful harmonies, but is always searching for that new chord? Or is it just that his music is so damn groovy? Whatever it is it all adds up to be just to the tastes of the Brothers Balliett.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Ah, the sweet mid-February – a time when love blooms, greeting card companies experience a windfall, and congress is in full swing. Today at 3 pm, join the Brothers Balliett for presidential homages from Jennifer Higdon, Nico Muhly and Milton Babbitt as well an opera selection about a great first lady.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Leonard Bernstein once wrote that the songs of the Beatles could easily stand next to the best songs of Schumann and Schubert. The Brothers Balliett listen Beatles covers and homages from Frederic Rzewski, John Cage and Alarm Will Sound.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Classical composer have long incorporated elements from the world of jazz – it's been going on since Ravel and Stravinsky, with perennial additions from composers like Mark-Anthony Turnage and Michael Daugherty. This week, the Brothers Balliett listen to jazzy takes on Faure, Stravinksky and Rachmaninov.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
This week, the Brothers Balliett are joined in the studio by composer, Rome Prize-winner and Guggenheim Fellow Harold Meltzer. Listen Thursday at 3 pm.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Listeners, there will come a time when you meet a composer or new music enthusiast with a little bit of attitude – an attitude that suggests that the spiky, abrasive, modernist language that we all know and love is the only true lingua franca of new music, and that those who write tonal music do so naively, without considering the weight of history that tonal music carries. (Consider Alex Temple's recent discussion of this topic on New Music Box)
Thursday, January 09, 2014
This week, the Brothers Balliett take a listen to one an oft-misunderstood instrument: the harpischord. Listen at 3 pm for performances by 17th century composer Froberger, songstress Joanna Newsome and Czeck composer Viktor Kalabis.
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Today at 3 pm, The Brothers Balliett take a look at some of their favorite releases from 2013, including music from Bang on a Can, International Contemporary Ensemble's Rebekah Heller, David Fulmer and more.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Special for the holiday season, this week The Brothers Balliett offer music designed to accompany the obligatory fire-staring that is so much a part of this time of year. This music is designed to help you zone in, zone out, forget the world and focus on the fire.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Charles Wuorinen befriended Edgard Varèse and Igor Stravinky in his youth and has collaborated with the likes of Salman Rushdie and Annie Proulx. Today at 3 pm he joins the Brothers Balliett for an interview and listening session.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
If there's one thing that the Brothers Balliett have learned from Rothko, it's that monochromaticism, in art OR music, is not necessarily a bad or boring thing. This week we explore ensembles built entirely of one sound color. Listen Thursday at 3 pm.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Does an aural representation of geography exist, or does "landscape" take on a new meaning when applied to music? Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett explore landscape music by John Cage, Harrison Birtwistle and Brian Fernyhough.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Thanksgiving isn't just about tryptophan-induced comas – it's also about cultures meeting and deep grooves. This week, in a special Thanksgiving edition, the Brothers Balliett honor that early American meeting of cultures with three pieces that exemplify cross-cultural connections.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Today at 3 pm, the Brothers Balliett talk to composer and Guggenheim recipient Alex Mincek, who's collaborated with Yarn/Wire, JACK Quartet and Wet Ink among others.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
This week, the Brothers gaze into the universe of contemporary music's rising stars. Listen at 3 pm for music by Stuart Breczinski, Carson Cooman, Jacob Gotlib and Lansing McLoskey.
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Last January, the Brothers Balliett presented the Grown-Person's Guide, examining the orchestra one section at a time. By popular request, this week, they add more recent and usual instruments to their rundown. Featuring the ondes martenot, barrel organ and a music box ensemble. Listen today at 3 pm.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
This Halloween, the Brothers Balliett serve up a cauldron of bone-chilling works by living (un-dead) composers. Listen at 3 pm for hair-raising Ondes Martinot features by Etienne Rolin and Lindsay Cooper alongside uneasy music by John Harbison and Robert Moran.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
This week the Brothers Balliett celebrate Q2 Music's Fall Pledge Drive with a cross section of the hottest young New York ensembles, from Goya-inspired works to collaborations among the most prominent New York composers. Listen today at 3 pm.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
This week, the Brothers are joined in the studio by composer Ray Lustig, a composer who is in constant dialogue with the past while also drawing on concepts of modern disease and internet latency. Listen today at 3 pm.