Archive for May, 2011

New Staff!

by: Colin Oettle

Please welcome our newest writer, Jake DeBacher. Jake is a composer hailing from the Midwest who will be providing The Sound Post with an insider’s view on contemporary music and the people who write it. We look forward to reading more of his work!

Open Goldberg Variations: Bach for Everyone

Links, Video Inside

by: Colin Oettle

In what will hopefully become a trend in the industry, a team of musicians has recently undertaken a project to create a new, free edition of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The project, called Open Goldberg Variations, hopes to make Bach’s masterwork available to the public by releasing both a score and recording in the public domain—that is, without copyright. The name “Open Goldberg Variations” comes from the “open source” ideology of the tech world. Just as open-source software makes the code for its programs available to the public, Open Goldberg Variations plans to create an edition of the Goldbergs that will be available for anyone to download, view, or edit without the copyright restrictions enforced by conventional publishers.

While creating a copyright-free release of both a score and recording is already exciting, the philosophy behind the project encompasses a bigger issue than simply “free Bach.” It represents a movement away from expensive, designer editions of works which amateur, or even some professional musicians, might be less inclined to purchase. This could potentially curb the frequently discouraging discovery that a desired work is either scarce, unaffordable, or both. However, like many benevolent efforts, the project must first raise enough funds to pay expenses prior to the release. View Full Article »

Album Review: Grá agus Bás

by: Jake DeBacher

It’s not often these days that I am grabbed immediately by modern classical works. But Donnacha Dennehy’s latest release, Grá agus Bás, stands as a firm exception. Of course, there are plenty of pieces I enjoy from an intellectual standpoint, like Steve Reich’s Four Organs. I find that as the piece evolves, so does my understanding of it. But unlike Dennehy’s work, there isn’t anything about it that really strikes me in the first few seconds.

Dennehy’s titular piece is a twenty-five minute odyssey that grabs the listener and maintains that grip right to the end. Its sonic landscapes are a barren depiction of Dennehy’s native Ireland, and they are reminiscent of the spectral works of Murail and Grisey particularly in orchestration. The piece opens with Irish folk singer Iarla Ó Lionáird and develops slowly but gorgeously. While the presence of minimalist traditions is undeniable, so is Dennehy’s transcendence of the genre’s limitations. The strings provide a rippling sound which allows Ó Lionáird’s voice, punctuated by the winds, percussion, and the perhaps unexpected electric guitar, to soar.
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