Monday, 25 September 2017

Kim Kashkashian, Sarah Rothenberg, Houston Chamber Choir - Rothko Chapel (2015)

This album came up in the comments a short while back, so as promised, here it is.  Asked to curate a programme of music for a 40th anniversary concert at Rothko Chapel in 2011, Sarah Rothenberg, pianist and leader of the Da Camera organisation for chamber music in Houston, TX, chose to frame Morton Feldman's unique Rothko-inspired work with pieces by John Cage and Erik Satie.

The connection, Rothenberg explains in her lengthy liner note to this collection of 2012-13 recordings of the pieces in the programme, was that the three composers 'form a triumvirate of original creators who were each closely tied to the visual art of their time'.  And besides that, on this ECM New Series CD the programme just sounds great as a flowing, 70-minute immersion in some unique, inspired music.
Feldman's Rothko Chapel, written in tribute to the painter's great work just after his death, is the obvious opener to this collection.  Its sombre, eerie choral drift, piano backdrop and viola lead remain the perfect musical expression of Rothko's diffuse hints of colour on black backgrounds that graced the inner walls of the Houston chapel.

The remainder of the programme alternates between Rothenberg on solo piano playing inspired choices from Satie's Gnossiennes and Ogives, and the Houston Chamber Choir performing works by John Cage.  I hadn't heard any choral work by Cage prior to this disc, and the pieces here, Four², ear for EAR and Five, sit really well with the main Feldman work.  The programme closes with one of Cage's finest piano pieces, In A Landscape.

mega / zippy

6 comments:

  1. Interesting they chose the Ogives. That's the one most people leave out. It's my favorite. But I'm also of the staunch position that any Satie piano recording that's not Reinbert De Leeuw is automatically in the second division.

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    1. Interesting! I'm a Pascal Rogé diehard when it comes to Satie - possibly just due to familiarity - but willing to be persuaded by De Leeuw... mental note made.

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  2. Thanks for the ECM selections; I have a nice collection but can't $ the whole immense catalogue. I'd suggest the self titled album from Mette Henriette. Cheers -Myke C

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    1. Cheers Myke, haven't heard that one yet (didn't have the £ for the double-CD) but reviews were encouraging, she seems like an original voice.

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  3. Kashkashian=mark of quality. Feldman=the man (well, one of them..) Thanks very much for this.

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  4. Like the other dudes said. $$$. I don't have it either. You are a lifesaver.

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