The music of composer Ingram Marshall exists at the blurred intersection of the electronic and the acoustic, making for otherworldly soundscapes that defy easy categorization. His works have been performed by such noted ensembles as Kronos Quartet, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Theater of Voices. He is currently on faculty at the Yale School of Music.
Marshall writes of his edition of this week's Mixtapes:
I thought at first to call my mixtape “Slow and Quiet,” but while that does describe much of the music, it's a bit of a cop-out because each piece has its own raison d’etre. For example, the slow movement of the Ravel never ceases to transport me; its so-perfect choice of notes is just right. But why I don’t know. Suffice it to say, as my friend Louis Andriessen once wrote, that it's just beautiful and that’s all that needs to be said. But it should be shouted!
The same could be said of Dave Stovall’s music — his Buoys seem to have floated up to the surface of some Ravellian sea.
Two of my favorite songs by Schubert and Mahler are here because of memories associated with them that persist. "An der Mond" is of course a nocturnal lied, but I first heard it on a bright desert morning in Arizona driving up into the mountains, and it was a long time before I realized that I had gotten it wrong. Would Franz have minded?
Saxophones are not my favorite instruments and the idea of a sax quartet is not a good one in my view, but Martin’s Everything Must Go slow movement just kills me, every time I hear it, and has changed my mind about those hopelessly hybrid instruments.
Charlemagne’s music you can dip into at random and enjoy even though he has overall structure in mind, and it’s not really slow and quiet; and it reminds me of our time in Java and Bali together. And of course that reminds me of Puspåwårnå which has all the enchantment of the old school of Javanese music heard outdoors under pendopos. It's a music that defines its own space.
Rakastava or “The Lovers” is a curious short piece and deserves to be heard more. I’m just fond of it; that’s all.
As for John Adams’s Violin Concerto (the "Chaconne"), would you believe that it’s based on the Pachelbel Canon? Out of the banal can come sublimity.
Martin Bresnick - Everything Must Go, Mvt. 3 (Prism Sax Qurtet)
Maurice Ravel - Piano Concerto in G, Mvt II (City Of Birmingham Symphony; Simon Rattle, conductor; Cecile Ousset, piano)
Ketawang - Puspåwårnå (from Nonesuch Explorer Series: Java Court Gamelan)
Jean Sibelius - Rakastava, Op. 14 (London Symphony Orchestra; Sir Colin Davis, conductor)
Franz Schubert - “An den Mond” (D 259) (Matthias Goerne, baritone; Andreas Haefliger, piano)
John Adams - Violin Concerto, Mvt II (London Symphony Orchestra; Kent Nagano, conductor; Gidon Kremer, violin)
David Stovall - Buoys (from “Dave Is In A Meeting”)
Gustav Mahler - Rückert Lieder: "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" (Hallé Orchestra; Jon Barbarolli, conductor; soloist Janet Baker)
Charlemagne Palestine - Strumming for Bosendorfer Piano (excerpt)