This week's episode of The New Canon features Carnatic-inspired music by Olivier Messiaen, Brian Harnetty's musical ruminations on Sun Ra and stunning arrangements for string quartet by Stefano Scodanibbio.
Our album of the week is "Harawi," Olivier Messiaen's haunting song cycle based on the Tristan myth. Soprano Tony Arnold sings with clarity and warmth, and pianist Jacob Greenberg gives an exciting performance of Messiaen's intricate rhythms and kaleidescopic harmonies. The album also features Messiaen's piano solo from the same period, Canteyodjaya. Stream the whole thing all this week.
Composer Brian Harnetty dove into the Sun Ra/El Saturn audio archive and emerged with "The Star-Faced One," an album that layers archival recordings of Sun Ra's rehearsals, studio sessions and interviews with Harnetty's own original chamber music. Released on Atavistic, the album features performances from Harnetty on keyboards, Jeremy Woodruff, saxophone and flute, Fred Lonberg-holm, cello, Jeff Kimmel, bass clarinet, and Aaron Butler, vibraphone.
"Reinventions," a new album on ECM New Series featuring Quartetto Prometeo, features a series of captivating arrangements by bassist and composer Stefano Scodanibbio. His string quartet re-imaginings of "Contrapunctus" from Bach's Art of the Fugue, Mexican folk songs and Spanish guitar music make stunning use of harmonics, special timbres, and slow tempos, opening up new worlds of sound in familiar tunes.