This week on The New Canon, we spin our Album of the Week, John Luther Adams's Songbirdsongs, in its entirety. Minted for Mode Records by the Callithumpian Consort, it's the first time that this first work of the Luther Adams catalog is heard on CD.
But what unifies our favorite Alaskan composer's birdcalls with the rest of the new works we hear this week is a tendency to indulge. Timbres fade into oblivion, prismatic melodies are explored without concern for the clock, whether it's a new recording that lasts 40 minutes or four minutes. As my yoga teacher is fond of saying, it's one thing to come into a challenging pose, but it's another thing entirely to breathe in that pose. And do these works breathe. They live in luxurious spaces.
We hear that with two new works off of violinist Cornelius Dufallo's new disc for Innova, Journaling, which coincides with Dufallo's announcement that he'll be departing mainstay string quartet Ethel to focus on his solo career (highlighted here). We'll also turn to the newest Wolfgang Rihm compendium on Harmonia Mundi, namely his sparse and striking Astralis. Some relevant revisits to Einojuhani Rautavaara and Eric Whitacre round out two hours of sonic sublimation.