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Program 642: Saxophones (and strings)

KALW Broadcast Date: March 5, 2021 | Host: Mark Abramson

The composers covered in this week’s program are not often heard together on the radio, but I promise there is some logic to it. We’ll start by listening to some of Anthony Braxton’s work – compositions, improvisations, and works that combine the two. Plus we’ll play a live track by Braxton and his ensemble – his interpretation of a classic Charlie Parker tune. Next we’ll listen to the first half of the first chapter in Matana Roberts‘ Coin Coin series of albums, a mix of abstractly intellectual compositional techniques with raw emotional storytelling used to channel and communicate the African-American experience. Then we’ll listen to three tracks from a 2020 album by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider called “Healing Modes.” The album uses String Quartet No. 15 in A-minor by Ludwig van Beethoven as a frame of reference for 5 commissioned pieces by new composers. We’ll hear a piece by Matana Roberts, then the first movement of Beethoven’s quartet, then another work by Indian-American composer Reena Esmail. And we’ll end our evening with one last work by Reena Esmail for solo violin.

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: Composition No. 85
Composers: Anthony Braxton
Performers: Anthony Braxton, sopranino saxophone; Andrew Voigt, alto saxophone
Recording Title: Kol Nidre (1990)
Record Label: Sound Aspects Records
Catalog Number: SAS CD 031


Title: Composition No. 284, part 2; Composition No. 363h (+339, 366e) (excerpt)
Composer: Anthony Braxton
Recording Title: Past, Present, Future: Selections from the Tri-Centric Foundation Archives Volume 2 (2011)
Record Label: Tricentric Foundation
Catalog Number: NBH050


Title: Composition No. 23B
Composer: Anthony Braxton
Recording Title: Composition, Improvisation, Synthesis: Selections from The Tri-Centric Foundation Archives Volume 1 (2011)
Record Label: Tricentric Foundation
Catalog Number: NBH010


Title: Composition No. 17
Composer: Anthony Braxton
Performers: Robert Schumann String Quartet – Michael Geiser, violin; Chiharu Yuuki, violin; Jürgen Weber, viola; Wolfgang Mehlhorn, cello
Recording Title: Anthony Braxton with Robert Schumann String Quartet (2020)
Record Label: Tricentric Foundation
Catalogue Number:


Title: Rise, Pop Piti, Song for Eulalie, Kersaia, Libation for Mr. Brown-Bid ‘Em In
Composer: Matana Roberts
Performers: Matana Roberts: reeds/voice; Gitanjali Jain: voice; David Ryshpan: piano/organ; Nicolas Caloia: cello; Ellwood Epps: trumpet; Brian Lipson: bass trumpet; Fred Bazil: tenor sax; Jason Sharp: baritone sax; Hraïr Hratchian: doudouk; Xarah Dion: prepared guitar; Marie Davidson: violin; Josh Zubot: violin; Lisa Gamble: musical saw; Thierry Amar: bass; Jonah Fortune: bass; David Payant: drums/vibes
Recording Title: Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres (2011)
Record Label: CST Records
Catalogue Number: CST079


Titles: Borderlands, String Quartet No. 15 in A minor (1st movement), Zeher (Poison)
Composers: Matana Roberts, Ludwig van Beethoven, Reena Esmail
Performer: Brooklyn Rider
Recording Title: Healing Modes (2020)
Record Label: In A Circle Records
Catalogue Number: ICR014


Title: Darshan
Composer: Reena Esmail
Performer: Vijay Gupta, solo violin
Recording Title: While You Sleep (2008)
Record Label: Self released
Catalogue Number:

Illustration from Der Struwwelpeter 1876Liam Herb with Ellen Arkbro at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2019)
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