Turn (Back) on the White Lights

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This week Hammered! takes its programmatic cue from the probing musical curiosity of pianist Alexei Lubimov and begins Monday with a recital recorded last year live at Lincoln Center's inaugural White Light Festival, which is currently midway through another illuminating installation of performances for its 2011 festival.

Lubimov's haunting performance last year features a set of unlikely but beautifully interactive composers ranging from Valentin Silvestrov to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose Fantasia in F-sharp minor, no joke, sounds supremely freaky next to Tigran Mansurian’s Nostalgia.

The rest of the week’s program revels in Monday's acoustic and conceptual resonance, riffing on Lubimov’s intermingling of new and old with introspective works by Alfred Schnittke, John Cage and Eleanor Sandresky alongside short pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leoš Janáček and Franz Schubert (trust me). 

In addition to juxtaposing "new" and "old" pieces by separate composers, the central works on this week’s program are by single composers fusing material from both sides of the categorical dividing line, in some cases erasing it completely. Think: "is that a quotation from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in John Corigliano's Fantasia On An Ostinato" or, "is that a modernized Mozart paraphrase in George Tsontakis's Ghost Variations," (yes to both) and you'll have a good idea of what to expect.

What you might not expect are performances of Charles Ives's Concord Sonata (with its disfigured quotations from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony), George Crumb's Little Suite for Christmas (cue surreal setting of the 16th century "Coventry Carol"), and Philip Lasser's Twelve Variations on a Chorale by J.S. Bach (good guess!).

Whatever the repertoire, this week promises to be a vivid, sometimes creepy, frequently touching combination of works you never knew you always wanted to hear together.

Monday Playlist | Stream Above On-Demand Starting Monday

Alexei Lubimov, piano - live from the 2010 White Light Festival

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Fantasia In F-sharp Minor
John Cage: In A Landscape
Tigran Mansurian: Nostalgia
Franz Liszt: La lugubre gondola
Georgs Pelecis: Suite No.3
Galina Ustvolskaya: Sonata No.6
Valentin Silvestrov: Der Bote (The Messenger)