Music For A Summer Evening
Piano (and Piano-Plus) Music for the Dog Days of Summer
Monday, July 16, 2012
Nothing accompanies a sweated-through T-shirt and an oppressively humid summer evening like George Crumb, right? Get your dog day's musical antidote all week on Hammered! with summertime music not written by George Gershwin.
Music For A Summer Evening (Makrokosmos Book III), Crumb's 1974 masterwork for two amplified pianos and two percussion, is a staple of the piano / percussion repertoire and remains one of Crumb's most magical, vivid works.
The 30-minute work piggybacks on the instrumentation of the Sonata for two pianos and percussion by Bela Bartok, whose Out Of Doors suite we also hear, but extravagantly expands on its sound world. In the work's fourth movement, "Music of the Starry Night", for example, the piano strings are covered with sheets of paper and produce a surrealistic distortion of the piano tone when the keys are struck. Elsewhere in the piece, keys are muted, tam-tams are bowed and strings are strummed, all combining to form one of the twentieth century's most otherworldly sonic landscapes.
The Crumb carries the bulk of Monday's programatic weight but there's much else to hear this week. Tune in for a smattering of music by Olivier Messiaen, replete with desert landscapes and chatty summer birds; solo piano works by, among others, Peteris Vasks (Seasons, introduced by the composer) and Arlene Sierra; and on Wednesday experience the craggy John Luther Adams superwork, Among Red Mountains.
What's your summertime musical antidote?