Since January 2005, Music From Other Minds has presented new and unusual music by innovative composers and performers from around the world. Produced weekly for KALW 91.7 FM San Francisco by Charles Amirkhanian and the Other Minds staff, and aired at 8pm every Sunday, Music From Other Minds aims to open up radio listeners to experimental classical work by living and recent composers. We bring you the latest in contemporary music from around the world, and some glimpses into the past, to give a context for today’s music.
Next: Program 698
KALW Broadcast: May 29, 2022
Host: Ed Herrmann
Host: Ed Herrmann
On June 6 the Norwegian composer Øyvind Torvund visits the Bay Area for a performance of his The Exotica Album, a sophisticated parody/tribute combining elements of “exotic lounge music” from the 1950s with early electronic modernism. In anticipation of this momentous event Ed Herrmann presents music by Øyvind Torvund along with highlights from music that inspired him, including Les Baxter and Martin Denny. In addition to excerpts from The Exotica Album, we’ll hear Torvund’s untitled school performed by Yarn/Wire; and the Norwegian ensemble asamisimasa performing Torvund’s Neon Forest Space. The program also includes selections by Hans Reichel, Bart Hopkin, Mauricio Kagel, Tom Djll, Spike Jones, and Edvard Grieg.
Program 697: Late-Soviet Composers
On this Music from Other Minds, a program of music by composers from the former Soviet Union from the mid 1970s to early 1990s that looks outward, away from the country’s administrative center, engaging with influences at the edges of the Soviet East and South, or looking toward Western Europe. Including works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Alfred Schnittke, Edison Denisov, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, Astraea, and Valentin Silvestrov.
Program 696: Pushing Pianos
On this Music from Other Minds, Liam Herb plays two long-form pieces for piano: Hanna Kulenty‘s Piano Concerto No. 3 (2003) and William Duckworth‘s pioneering post-minimalist work The Time Curve Preludes.
Also on the program, music by Robert Ashley, Ruth Crawford, and Clara Ionnatta.
Program 695: Christopher Luna-Mega
This week on Music from Other Minds, composer Christopher Luna-Mega talks with host Ed Herrmann about his use of nature as a musical model and source of inspiration, and the specific approaches used in each of the pieces on his new record, Time’s Arrow. Luna-Mega has developed a compositional process he calls “environmental sonic translation,” in which nature sounds are recorded, transcribed, and converted into musical scores for acoustic and electronic instruments. In this practice nature provides guidance for both the structure and details of the music, as well as a spiritual foundation. The program also includes Night Music, a composition for woodwinds performed by Splinter Reeds.
Program 694: Frederic Rzewski
A May Day tribute to the late American composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski, whose work often included political and social themes. The first hour of the program is devoted to a single piece – The People United Will Never Be Defeated! – a set of 36 piano variations based on the song “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” by Sergio Ortega. The second hour includes two pieces Rzewski composed for the ensemble Zeitgeist: Spots and The Lost Melody; Whimwhams for string quartet and marimba, performed by the Eclipse Quartet and William Winant; and an example of an unusual form that Rzewski explored, pieces for piano in which the pianist speaks a text.
Program 693: Forgetting and Remembering in Anatolia
On this Music from Other Minds, a program about memory and forgetting in Turkey. The program features music which brings forth suppressed memories of the country’s present and historical Armenian, Greek, Assyrian, and Kurdish populations. Featuring music by Diamanda Galás, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Tigran Mansurian, Turgut Erçetin, Yiğit Kolat, and Marc Sinan.
Program 692: Harrison : Gamelan
Tonight’s program starts with a short recording of the Gamelan music played in the royal courts of Java. Hopefully a fitting way to set the mood for our theme, the Gamelan and percussion music of one of our great contemporary American composers, Lou Harrison. Many of Harrison’s gamelan pieces used instruments he co-designed and built with his life partner, William Colvig. One of these was called “Gamelan Si Betty,” named in honor of the art and music patron Betty Freeman. We’ll play a number of the works Harrison wrote for gamelan and solo instruments, and also some of his work for percussion ensembles, which feature the use of unorthodox percussion instruments such as automobile brake drums.
Program 691: Beats By Baumbusch
This program features a new release from Other Minds, “Effigy” by Brian Baumbusch, with two pieces that reflect Baumbusch’s interest in world music and complex rhythms. Kings was written in 2017 to commemorate Lou Harrison’s centennial. Isotropes was composed in 2020 and explores seemingly impossible rhythms. We’ll also hear Don Freund’s Ukrainian Fantasy, with solo violin and pre-recorded Ukrainian folk music; Holographic Universe for solo violin and orchestra by Gloria Coates; and Jennifer Koh performing Kaija Saariaho’s violin concerto Graal Théâtre. A tribute to pianola virtuoso Rex Lawson rounds out the show. We’ll hear Lawson’s performance of Les Noces by Stravinsky – an alternate version composed by Stravinsky himself.
Program 690: Steve Reich
Tonight’s broadcast will present a rare tape preserved in the Other Minds Archives: a concert of Reich’s music recorded at the opening of the Art Museum of the University of California, Berkeley in November 1970. The recording was originally aired on KPFA, Pacifica Radio, in 1970, and the announcer was Richard Friedman, who also hosted Music from Other Minds for many years. These were four early works by Steve Reich: Four Organs (1970), My Name Is (1967), Piano Phase (1967), and Phase Patterns (1970). After the archival tape, we’ll listen to one of Reich’s most well-loved works, Music for 18 Musicians (1976), the ECM Records version, released in 1978.
Program 689: Musical Maverick Mix
On this Music from Other Minds, Liam Herb plays electronic works by John McGuire and Maggi Payne, a piano concerto by Beth Anderson, an electroacoustic portrait by Phillip Bimstein, a solo cello work by Éliane Radigue, and dances for violins and rattle by Peter Garland in celebration of his 70th Birthday.
Program 688: Julia Wolfe's Appalachian Roots
Julia Wolfe grew up in Pennsylvania and has a love for Appalachian music and folklore. Steel Hammer draws on the music of Appalachia and emphasizes the differences in the various John Henry stories. There are many different versions of the story, but John Henry is always a steel driving man, and meets his death with a hammer in his hand. Steel Hammer is performed by vocalists Trio Mediaeval and the Bang on a Can All Stars. We’ll also hear excerpts from Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and Ken Thomson’s Perpetual for bass clarinet and string quartet performed the JACK Quartet and Ken Thomson.