The Witching Hour

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

This week, Terrance McKnight spins Sebastian Currier's epic work for violin and harp, Night Time. The piece whirls around five movements: Dusk, Sleepless, Vespers, Nightwind, and Starlight. Acting as both a travel agent and guide, Currier delivers a kind of twilight tourism for the ears.

In the first movement, Dusk, the witching hour is conjured by some harp-plucked polyrhythms and lyrical vibrato. By way of pizzicatos and muted chords, the second movement, Sleepless, conveys a languid sleep trot. Vespers suggests a deep self-contemplation through some introverted violin melodies. With frenzied passages, Nightwind, the fourth movement, finally gives way to one's final acceptance of slumber. Though placid on the surface, Starlight's fierce undertones convey the visceral dreams that humans often experience in the last stages of sleep cycle.

Even though the piece is only played by two performers--Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harpist of the Berlin Philharmonic, and violinist Jean-Claude Velin--Night Time could easily compete with dynamism of a full orchestra.

Also: music by J.S. Bach, Meredith Monk, Mulgrew Miller, and Nino Rota.

Playlist:

Last Hymn
Paola Prestini
Yuri Yamashita, vibraphone; Paola Prestini, prerecorded electronics
WNYC Archives

Prelude and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 539
Johann Sebastian Bach
arranged by Alexander Fyodorovich Goedicke
Hamish Milne, piano
Hyperion

City Called Heaven
Angela Brown/Tyron Cooper
Angela Brown, soprano; Joseph Joubert, piano; Tyron Cooper, guitar
Albany

"O Wisdom"
Arvo Part
Versija Chamber Choir (Latvia)
Juris Vaivods, conductor
Jade

Last Song
Meredith Monk
Meredith Monk, voice and piano
ECM

Mood Swings
Paul Moravec
Trio Solisti
Naxos

Night Time
Sebastian Currier
Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp; Jean-Claude Velin, violin
Koch

Blues in the PM's
Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller, piano; Niels-Henning ├śrsted Pedersen, bass
Bang & Olufsen

Short Ride in a Fast Machine
John Adams
New York Philharmonic
Kurt Masur, conductor
NYP

Trumpet Sonata
Daniel Schnyder
Michael Philip Mossman, trumpet; Simon Nabatov, piano
Koch

Fifteen Piano Preludes "Quinze preludes"
Nino Rota
Danielle Laval, piano
Valois

Piano Trio Elegiaque No. 1 in G Minor
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Kempf Trio
BIS

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Comments [2]

Martin Moser from New York, NY

Last night, 3/17/12, at approx. 10:15, I happened to hear what is in my opinion one of THE VERY WORST pieces of music I've ever come across. Bear in mind that I am a retired musician, music educator, professor, etc., with a B.A. and an M.A. and a lifetime love of virtually all forms of music. I refer to a work whose title and composer I failed to discern, which was broadcast from about 10:15 to almost 11:00. Try as I might, I couldn't identify either the title or the composer via your online pages.
I've been a long-time enthusiastic listener and contributor to WQXR, and hope to remain so; therefore, please let me know the name and composer of that dreadful work, and please never program it again! Thank you

Mar. 18 2012 11:16 AM
kayk from New Jersey

Pieces like "Last Song" make me wish I could get a refund on my contribution. Off to WCBS-FM for the remainder of the evening....

Mar. 17 2012 10:29 PM

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