Of the Ether

Of the Ether

This is really out there

Thom Yorke

Too many notes
‘A majority of living composers get so few opportunities to write for orchestra that it more or less suits them to behave as if the orchestra is another museum piece of no contemporary relevance,’ wrote John McLachlan (see last issue).Elliott Carter, who is 100 years old this year, might agree. He was interviewed in New Music Connoisseur: ‘I think orchestra music is tiresome to write. It’s too much orchestra. It takes too many notes. It’s too large a problem, and then you don’t get good rehearsals. You don’t get enough rehearsals, except occasionally, and you get a public that is not terribly interested in contemporary music.’ www.bit.ly/39KtTz

Protest songs
A modern day protest song? (see page 57) ‘We think the same things at the same time, there are so many of us, So you can’t count,’ sings Thom Yorke. ‘Harrowdown Hill’ is about biological warfare expert David Kelly, who committed suicide in 2003. ‘Don’t walk the plank like I did. You will be dispensed with when inconvenient.’ Video by Chel White of Bent Image Lab. www.bit.ly/SM5ee 

Gavin and Grappelli
Yehudi Menuhin is not the only violin master that Frankie Gavin has performed with (see Ciaran Carson’s article on p. 20). He also performed and recorded with Stéphane Grappelli in the early 1990s, and their live rendition of the Quiet Man favourite ‘The Kerry Dances’, gives further credence to what Carson writes about old tunes. www.bit.ly/GL89y

Sleeping Pill
Jonathan Pieslak (see page 34) has made audio files of his interviews with American soldiers available on his website. Sergeant Ron Botelho is interviewed: ‘I listen to a lot of jazz and classical music. That’s what helped me along. In fact, that was my sleeping pill. I must have bought seven or eight hundred CDs while I was in Iraq.’ www.bit.ly/13Seka

Jumper on the line
‘See my jumper, Lord / hanging on the line,’ sings R.L. Burnside (see page 40), sitting on the porch, while a boy plays with a broken bicycle in the dust and Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics) makes some awkward poses. From Stewart’s 1991 documentary, Deep Blues, which was filmed in Tennessee and Mississipi. www.bit.ly/OIuMO

Minimalist alliance
‘The best minimalist music does not inspire cautious appraisal or cold analysis, but wide-eyed wonder,’ writes Kyle Gann on his blog, PostClassic, after attending the Second International Conference on Minimalist Music in Kansas City. Gann also gives a vivid account of Charlemagne Palestine performing his organ work Schlingen-Blängen: ‘Little by little [he] added notes, held down with little wooden splints, and pulled out additional organ stops to thicken the roar of sound.’ www.bit.ly/1OTfi1

London Jazz Festival
BBC Radio 3 has announced its coverage of the London Jazz Festival which begins on 13 November. Performances by guitarist Bill Frisell, jazz bassist Dave Holland and saxophonist John Surman will feature, as well as I Prefer the Gorgeous Freedom, a new choral work by Gwilym Simcock, and interviews with guitarist John Scofield, pianist Vijay Iyer, vocalists Sheila Jordan and Dame Cleo Laine, and saxophonists Branford Marsalis and John Surman. www.bbc.co.uk/radio3

Published on 1 October 2009

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