Expert Witness Comment of the Week

Trio da Kali & Kronos Quartet

I’ve been kicking myself for weeks since I’ve been too tangled up in non-writerly matters to get a review done for this standout. It’s the second classical-strings-fusion miracle this year, following Carl Craig’s Versus. The secret in both cases, I would say, is tweak and practice tweak and practice. Ten years to perfect the Craig. And Trio de Kali and Kronos have been working out the kinks in live performances since 2014.

(Final?) Followup on Carl Craig’s “Versus”

Checked out Debussy done by Les Siecles, directed by Francois-Xavier Roth. Because I wanted to hear something else by the ensemble that worked on Versus. Turns out much like the more familiar numbers on the Francesco Tristano piano-duets album: smart and lots of fun, but I can live without. With the added limitation that I don’t hear anything more in Versus after hearing this. Just (“just”) a sprightly modern classical ensemble.

Looks like that’s a wrap.

Followup on Carl Craig’s “Versus”

Scandale

Tristano is one of the prime collaborators on Craig’s techno-classical fusion marvel. This is a set of piano duets from 2014 (don’t these two look like they’re straight from central casting?). It features three familiar works arranged for piano duet by the composers: “Le Sacre du printempts” by Stravinski, “The Story of the Kalendar Prince” by Rimsky-Korsakov and “La Valse” by Ravel. These are lots of fun, but I could live without them. What you have to hear is Tristano’s original, “A soft shell groove.”

The revelation is his phrasing, structures, sequences that seem to conclude but perfectly not quite. In short, his musical language, which you then can go back and discern most vividly on the Versus tracks. Tristano’s skill at immersing himself in Craig’s work seems even more remarkable to me now.

 

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today #58

Julius Eastman, Unjust Malaise (2005)

Just getting into this, but man oh freakin’ man, Eastman is undeniably as fascinating and inventive as Alex Ross and NY Times’s Woolfe proclaim (though it’s interesting they differ about “Feminine,” which is not on the Unjust Malaise overview).

Anyway, the most gripping and overwhelming new classical composer I’ve heard in I don’t know how many years. A must.