Soir d’Hiver: The Spectacular Modernist Christmas SPECTACULAR!

nolde_adoration-of-the-magi
The Adoration of the Magi, by Emil Nolde (1933)

We’re back with our tenth episode. Musicologist Jill Rogers (University College Cork) joins host Matthew Friedman for a holiday special exploring how modernist and avant-garde composers have marked Christmas in their music since the early 20th century. Whether mobilizing patriotic sentiment in 1914, or trying to find a space for the sacred in the rubble of war, and the shadow of the Holocaust, modernist and avant-garde composers of the 20th century reflected the often dark, always complicated spirit of their times, while marking a season of contemplation and the promise of redemption.

This episode features music by Claude Debussy, Nadia Boulanger, Benjamin Britten, Krzysztof Penderecki, Francis Poulenc, and Peter Maxwell Davies.

Avant-Garde Holiday SPECTACULAR!

xmas-tree

After a much-longer than expected hiatus, No Sounds Are Forbidden will return on 18 December for a very special Avant-Garde Holiday Spectacular that will be, well… spectacular! With special guest Dr. Jill Rogers of University College Cork, Matthew Friedman will explore how the most adventurous composers of the 20th and 21st centuries celebrated the holidays or, often enough, didn’t. Tune in on H-Net and iTunes to hear great holiday music by Krzysztof Penderecki, Olivier Messiaen, John Adams, Sir Peter Maxwell  Davies, and much more! We’re not kidding.

 

Summer Hiatus

With summer coming to an end, and the new academic term in the offing, I will be taking a short break in the last few days of Summer. No Sounds Are Forbidden will return in September with new episodes, including a look at the postwar European avant-garde’s efforts to wrestle with the Holocaust, and reinvent European music, the controversial “return to tonality” of the 1970s, and the often surprising conversation between avant-gatrde art music and jazz.

Fall will also bring a new No Sounds Are Forbidden ffeature — the Avant-Garde Minute — to YouTube.

So stay tuned! And to keep up to date on all the exciting development in the Autumn 2016 season of No Sounds Are Forbidden, just follow this blog.

See you in September.

The Death of Europa: The Rise and Fall of the Inter-War Avant-Garde

The infamous "bathroom scene" from the premiere of Paul Hindemith's opera Hin und Zurück at the Kroll Opera in Berlin, in 1929.
The infamous “bathroom scene” from the premiere of Paul Hindemith’s opera Hin und Zurück at the Kroll Opera in Berlin, in 1929.

Click play for the ninth episode of No Sounds Are Forbidden. Host Matthew Friedman explores the adventurous, and often chaotic street-level avant-garde of Central Europe between the World Wars. In Berlin, Prague, and Vienna, radical composers, writers, and critics promoted a new vision of European culture that rejected the “immutable truths” of the Anciens Regimes. For a brief moment in the 1920s and 1930s, Central Europe’s opera houses and cabarets swung to the pulsing rhythms of unrestrained experimentation, revolution, and jazz. But the rise of the Third Reich, and the Nazis’ campaign to cleanse Europe of “Bolshevism, modernism, and Judaism,” snuffed out avant-garde music and art — and the artists who created it, in exile, and in the camps.

This episode features music by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, Stefan Wolpe, Paul Hindemith, Ernst Krenek, Viktor Ullmann, and Erwin Schulhoff.

In Phase/Out of Phase: The Radical Simplicity of Minimalism

Steve Reich performs at the Whitney Museum in 1969.
Steve Reich performs at the Whitney Museum in 1969.

Click play for the eighth episode of No Sounds Are Forbidden. Host Matthew Friedman explores the American avant-garde’s turn to minimalism in the late 1960s and 1970s. Launched as a critique of modernist intentionality, and the complexity of 20th century music, minimalist pioneers like Terry Riley and Steve Reich drew on diverse sources, from Asian and African music, and earlier experiments by the European avant-garde, to the ideas of the hippie counterculture, in order to craft a musical aesthetic that was, itself, the process of making music. And in the process, they innovated the inevitable soundtrack of post-industrial, networked society.

This episode features music by Riley, Reich, Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, John Adams, Ravi Shankar, Erik Satie, and Gabriel Faure.

Music of Changes: Cage, Chance Operations, and Indeterminacy

The New York School in 1962: Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, John Cage, David Tudor, and Morton Feldman.
The “New York School” in 1962: Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, John Cage, David Tudor, and Morton Feldman.

Click play for the seventh episode of No Sounds Are Forbidden. Host Matthew Friedman explores the profound impact of the work and ideas of John Cage on the American avant-garde. Seeking to liberate sound from the restraints of conventional music, Cage introduced new compositional practice based on chance, and nurtured a generation of composers whose music was in a state of continual change.

This episode features an interview with the composer Christain Wolff, and music by Cage, Wolff, Henry Cowell, Morton Feldman, and Sonic Youth.

You can download Karlheinz Essl’s Fontana Mixer, a generative sound environment based on Cage’s Fontana Mix here.

Synthetic Sound: The Second Electronic Music Revolution

Click play for the sixth episode of No Sounds Are Forbidden. Host Matthew Friedman explores sound synthesis, and how the invention of the electronic synthesizer inspired avant-garde composers, and transformed how listeners listened to music. This episode features music by Milton Babbitt, Morton Subotnick, Charles Wuorinen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Raymond Scott, Gershon Kingsley, Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

buchla
The Buchla synthesizer.

Episode 6 Playlist: Synthetic Sound

rcaExcerpts, Narrated by John Preston
The Sounds and Music Of The RCA Electronic Music Synthesizer, RCA Victor Red Seal ‎– LM-1922

herrmann_daayBernard Hermann, Prelude and Outer Space
The Day the Earth Stood Still Soundtrack, Twentieth Century Fox Film Scores ‎– 07822 11010

rockmore_thereminHeitor Villa Lobos, Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Clara Rockmore (Theremin)
Clara Rockmore’s Lost Theremin Album, Bridge Records ‎– BRIDGE-9208

rcaJohann Sebastian Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C-minor BWV 847
The Sounds and Music Of The RCA Electronic Music Synthesizer, RCA Victor Red Seal ‎– LM-1922

CPEMC1Milton Babbitt, Composition for Synthesizer
Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, Columbia Masterworks ‎– MS 6566

subotnick_silverapplesMorton Subotnick, Silver Apples of the Moon
Silver Apples of The Moon, Nonesuch ‎– H-71174

wuorinen_leptonCharles Wuorinen, Time’s Encomium
Lepton, Tzadik ‎– TZ 7077

Raymond_scottRaymond Scott, Powerhouse
The Music of Raymond Scott: Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights, Columbia ‎– CK 53028

carlos_bachJohann Sebastian Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C-minor BWV 847, Wendy Carlos
Switched-On Bach, Columbia Masterworks ‎– MS 7194

zodiacMort Garson, Aries – The Fire Fighter
Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds, Elektra ‎– EKS-74009

stockhausenKarlheinz Stockhausen, Wach
Stockhausen: Spiral I & II, Pole, Wach, Japan, Zykus, Tierkreis, In Freundschaf, EMI Classics ‎– 50999 6 95598 2

tangerine_phaedraTangerine Dream, Phaedra
Phaedra, Virgin ‎– VR 13-108

eno_ambient1Brian Eno, 2/2
Ambient 1: Music for Airports, Polydor ‎– AMB 001

Space Explorations: Avant-Garde Music in Three Dimensions

Click play for the fifth episode of No Sounds Are Forbidden. Host Matthew Friedman explores how avant-garde composers rediscovered the spatial nature of sound in the 20th century, and explored the three-dimensional implications of their music. This episode features music by Charles Ives, Erik Satie, Edgard Varese, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, David Tudor, and Henry Brant, as well as Giovanni Gabrielli, and Georg Philipp Telemann.

phillips pavillion
The Phillips pavilion at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. Designed by Le Corbusier, with Iannis Xenakis. The interior space resonated with Edgard Varese’s Poeme Electronique.

Episode 5 Playlist: Space Explorations

gabrieliGiovanni Gabrieli, Magnificat a 14, Taverner Choir, London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, Andrew Parrott
Giovanni: Symphoniae Sacrae II, L’Oiseau-Lyre ‎– 475 9113

 

telemann_tafelmusikGeorg Philipp Telemann, Tafelmusik – Tafelmusik Suite In E Major, Rondeau, Musica Antiqua Koln, Reinhard Goebel
Tafelmusik, Archiv Produktion ‎– 427 619-2 AH4

 

ives_vareseCharles Ives, The Unanswered Question, The Cleveland Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnanyi
Varèse: Ameriques; Ives: Symphony No 4, The Unanswered Question, Decca ‎– 443 172-2

 

satie_essentialErik Satie, Tenture de cabinet préfectoral, Ensemble Erwartung
Essential Satie, EMI Classics ‎– 6 78153 2

 

varese_albumEdgard Varese, Poeme Electronique
Music of Edgard Varese, CBS Masterworks ‎– MP 38773

 

variations ivJohn Cage, Variations IV
Variations IV, Everest ‎– Everest 3132

 

stockhausenKarlheinz Stockhausen, Pole
Stockhausen: Spiral I & II, Pole, Wach, Japan, Zykus, Tierkreis, In Freundschaf, EMI Classics ‎– 50999 6 95598 2

 

tudor_rainforestDavid Tudor, Rainforest IV
Rainforest Versions 1 & 4, Mode – Mode 64

 

feldman_rothkoMorton Feldman, Music for the Rothko Chapel¸ Klangforum Wien
Orchestral & Chamber Works, Col Legno ‎– WWE 1CD 20506

 

henry_brantHenry Brant, Wind, Water, Clouds & Fire, Present Music, Kevin Stalheim
Henry Brant Collection Vol 3, Innova – 411