Sunday, January 24, 2010

White Music/ Gray Mushroom

I sat in a cold, dimly lit Anglican church last night and listened to 500 year old music by Taverner, Jenkins and Tallis sung by the Yale Schola Canotorun.My favorite was the Western Wind Mass by John Taverner.There is very little harmonic tension in this music, it all flows along so perfectly. I think of it as "white" music because there is little timbral coloring. Its like a black and white print; there is shading and it can be subtle but color?--no.
The purity of the voices served the music very well and I have to say Simon Carrington, the guest conductor, who was the director of this ensemble the last five years or so, really accomplished something at Yale.(Full disclosure:Simon conducted my "Savage Altars" with the group last year, smashingly well).

Speaking of choral music, I heard a little bit of Valentine Silvestrov's "The Creed"(on ECM records) sung by the Kiev Chamber Choir on NPR All Things Considerd (they actually are still reviewing classical CDs!) He uses the natural resonance and echos of what must be a large cathedral in a very remarkable, compositional way. He blends the harmonies by using the slow decaying residues. Its a technique of which I am jealous!BTW,on the same program there's also a rather nice review of my new CD here.

But what's with the mushroom above partnering with Simon C? Well, I was blathering on about the grisette (amanita vaginata) in my last post but I forgot to illustrate it. But I realize no that it's not really such beautiful mushroom afterall--I mean, it does have a sort of slender elegance but I think its cousin, the cocora, lovelier.

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