An audio-visual experiment

I thought we had something like this here before, but I haven’t been able to find anything in the archives (perhaps I just sent a link in an email the time I’m thinking of). Anyway, I found out about this through Classical Archives (a site I’d recommend in general terms also — perhaps you’d like to have a look around it while you’re at it).

I could just as well give you a link to the Classical Archives (CA) page I found this on, but that would involve first bringing you here and then sending you away again, and I don’t want you all to get any dizzier than you already are. So, this is the intro CA provide to this video —

This latest noteworthy video features two experiments: first, a musical adaptation by the ZRI Ensemble of Johannes Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet in B minor, op. 115; and second, an imaginative visual representation of this performance in real time. ZRI is a London-based quintet dedicated to re-examining the gypsy roots of Brahms’s music by bringing them more explicitly into focus than otherwise heard in the original scores. ZRI stands for Zum Roten Igel (the Red Hedgehog Tavern), a Viennese pub where Brahms came to drink and socialize, and the ensemble consists of clarinet, violin, cello, accordion, and santouri (a type of hammered cymbalom). Their performance of the Andante from Brahms’s Quintet adapts not only the instrumentation but the actual music, as ZRI mixes his original work with improvisation and dances from the Carpathian mountains. Joining this musical performance is a visual “dance” realized by Stephen Malinowski (check out his Youtube channel or his website), where each instrument is rhythmically and melodically represented as it moves from one note to the next (based on a MIDI realization) which quickly becomes hypnotic.

See what you think guys. For the best experience, may I recommend that you view the video full-screen.

Marek Janowski on Regietheater (and his Wagner project)

Long ago, I pinned my colours to Marek Janowski’s mast, and I stick to my opinion that he is one of the greatest living conductors (if you can at all, listen to his recordings of the Brahms symphonies with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra). His latest recording project is tied in to the next big upcoming anniversary (the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth in 2013), and is an ambitious one — performing the ten major Wagner operas and recording the concert performances for Dutch label PentaTone, the first time this has been done with the same Orchestra, Choir and conductor. Maestro Janowski explains in this video interview his thinking about going for concert performances, and his main reason is his dissatisfaction with current opera productions in Germany.

The interview is longish (about 50 minutes), but some at least of you may find it worth persevering with.