The Witching Hour

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

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 Ørsted 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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