Playlist – Kit Downes

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Kit Downes to Arcana’s playlist section.

In the space of just under 40 minutes Kit introduces us to some fascinating sound worlds that will doubtless be new to a lot of listeners out there. They certainly were to me!

Philipp Gropper‘s Philm begins the sequence with the dappled shades of Sun Ship, Pt. 2 from the 2017 album of the same name. We move from there to the ghostly outlines of Lucy Railton‘s For J.R., with its combination of solemn organ and slightly warped field recordings. Disasterpeace‘s otherworldly Vignette: Visions is next, followed by an excerpt from Messiaen‘s La Nativité du Seigneur, Desseins eternels (Eternal Purposes), played here by Kevin Bowyer.

Shimmering textures abound in Stian WesterhusDon’t Tell Me This Is Home, then the mellow, minimalist overtones of Robert Stillman‘s Ruthie In May bring some Autumnal colours to the mix. Garoto‘s Improviso at once sounds older, a lovely interlude of South American guitar, before Jan Johansson shifts the attention to the piano for his Baroque-like Leksands skänklåt. Finally an excerpt from this year’s Mokum in Hi-Fi album, Palace, bring saxophone and guitar together from Ben van Gelder and Reinier Baas.

Our thanks to Kit for opening our ears! Listen on Spotify below…

Playlist – Julia Kent: Cello Mix

It gives us great pleasure to welcome cellist and composer Julia Kent for the provision of a cello-themed playlist for Arcana:

In just over an hour of music she demonstrates a wonderful scope of modern ways of writing for the instrument. These range from the Cello Sonata of David Baker, which appeared on Sony Classical’s Black Composer series in the 1970s (for review on Arcana shortly), to music from Lori Goldston, Peter Gregson, Jo Quail and Resina.

In the course of an hour the cello moves between music of grace (Helen Money, Simon McCorry) and outright menace (Okkyung Lee, Philip Sheppard), not stopping at the same place or mood twice – and on occasion bringing other instruments on board. As a lapsed cellist myself I can declare myself astonished at the breadth of writing there is for the instrument currently.

Sit back and enjoy the cello’s versatility in an hour which I guarantee will take you to several special places!

Happy 70th birthday to Christopher Rouse

Christopher Rouse is 70 today!

The American composer, although enthusiastically championed by Marion Alsop, has not yet enjoyed the exposure his music deserves.

His studies with George Crumb and Karel Husa, not to mention a thorough grounding in rock music history, have led rise to a fiercely individual voice in American music, one that is notable for its bold writing for orchestra.

Rouse has surely written some of the loudest modern music there is, and yet he does so with a sensitivity and intensity few of his piers can match. Listen to the playlist below and see if you agree:

Music for Burns Night

Here is an Arcana playlist for Burns Night! Made up of Scottish classical music and settings of the poet, it is a mixture of vocal and instrumental music that will hopefully give an idea of the breadth of responses to Robert Burns and his poetry – not to mention his own songwriting. Make sure you serve with haggis, neaps and tatties, and a warming whisky…