Thursday, June 01, 2006

Culture: LA Phil goes iTunes!

The LA Phil under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen have been innovative in their programs. They have done it again by breaking new ground on the technological front with a three-way collaboration with Apple iTunes and Deutsche Grammophon.

The most recent concert I attended was being recorded because that week was the world premier of 11 Gates by Anders Hillborg. The LA Phil played the work three times (Thursday, Friday and Sunday) and between those three live performances, the recording engineers will select the best one to be released June 6, 2006. This will be the fourth such release in this new venture.

I think 11 Gates has the potential to make the playlist of symphonies. I places considerable demands on the performers and most of all, unlike some new symphonic works, it is not too hard on the ears. The work gets its title from the composer's thoughts about the way he structured it. In his own words:
The title Eleven Gates refers to the idea that the piece falls into 11 sections, each section being entered through its Gate either abruptly or by a slowly merging transition from the preceding one. I amused myself with giving each sound-world that the Gates lead into titles with a more or less surrealistic touch:

1. Drifting into D major.
2. Suddenly in the Room with Chattering Mirrors (Bar 28)
3. D-major Still Life (Bar 101)
4. Confused Dialogues with Woodpecker (Bar 113)
5. Suddenly in the Room with Floating Mirrors (Bar 169)
6. Into the Great Wide Open (Bar 188)
7. Meadow of Sadsongs (Bar 289)
8. Toy Pianos on the Surface of the Sea. (Bar 329)
9. String Quartet Spiraling to the Seafloor (Bar 346)
10. Seafloor Meditation (Whispering Mirrors at the Seafloor) (Bar 359)
11. Waves, Pulse, and Elastic Seabirds (Bar 374)
Indeed, the work left me thinking: I suppose this is what an audio acid trip is like without the bad side-effects?! DREAMSCAPES!?

The music is quite pleasant and interesting in variety unlike some other modern orchestral music that invokes the fingernail scratching the chalkboard response!

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