Music & Vision's monthly column -
GORDON RUMSON writes:
Mats Wendt: Eddan: The Invincible Sword of the ElvSmith
Sometimes one finds magic. I did when I went to this site. Within a few
seconds of the first sounds I knew I was in the world created by a real
composer. Atmospheric but constructed with inner steel, Mats Wendt is clearly
doing something special: music of mystery, enchantment and great beauty.
Here is something extraordinary. I can't say I've listened to all 158 sections
(which starts at number five because the first four are not complete yet)
of this Norse cosmological 'suite' and without a menu for all of the sections
I'm a little mystified at where it's going. The site itself is graphic intensive
and not terribly intuitive (some menus are hidden behind the graphics, and
there's little way to know which ones) but the music makes it worthwhile.
Angela Lear: Concert Pianist
Chopin is at the core of the repertoire for the piano. His music, while
almost exclusively for that instrument yet reaches to cosmic realms. He
is one of the greatest masters of music. UK pianist Angela Lear has spent
30 years in a study of Chopin and the results of her endeavors are available
on CD and at this web site, where thankfully, we can hear entire selections.
Her performance of the famous Nocturne in E flat is fascinating for the
embellishments (all authentic) that she adds. I listened to the Scherzo
in C sharp minor with a knowing ear (as this used to be in my repertoire)
and I can tell you she plays it very well. Steely octaves and glittering
passage work, Angela Lear can clearly play the piano at a very high level.
Keep an eye on Music & Vision because I plan to write about her
latest CD. But in the meantime check out her site and listen to Chopin in
the hands of an excellent pianist, musician and scholar.
Centre for Microtonal Music
The piano, that blessed instrument, has brought us music of the highest
inspiration. It has also set a pattern before us of five black and seven
white notes not to be argued with. Those are the pitches and that's what
music is made of. Well, not really. There's a huge amount of music in the
cracks, in between the notes of the piano, as anyone familiar with Arabic,
East Indian or real Blues can tell you. But Western Art Music has not really
thought about those cracks for at least 150 years. We listeners believe
in Equal Temperament (a musical form of political equal representation and
achieved at virtually the same time, interestingly enough).
This site is devoted to all the other myriads of musics that are not
based on Equal Temperament. The site has sound and MIDI files so you can
hear and get used to the alternatives. A quick scan will reveal just how
many options there are. I was interested to discover that that quintessential
American hobo Harry Partch has an English Society! Heavens, what are the
ways of the world....?!!! The people who do this sort of thing are amazing.
Their knowledge base is vast and their intellectual acumen prodigious. In
all likelihood some were headbangers who failed lamentably at school. Too
bad for the education system. These people are brilliant. The music is interesting,
engaging and frequently very beautiful, in a non-Equal-Temperament sort
The sites that have no names...Thankfully
I surf, I search, I listen. I follow links, I follow odd clues. I take
chances. Sometimes I find music like Mats Wendt. Sometimes I find...something
else. I will not now or ever name names or list sites. Don't ask me backchannel.
I won't tell what horrors I have heard, what frightful music, what dreadful
performances and insipid music making.
The web allows anyone to put up for the world to hear, anything at all.
Some of the dross is immensely profitable (pornographic sites are virtually
the only e-businesses that make money) and some are not. It's just dross.
It is sad testimony to read of an MP3 site with $12.00 in earnings only
to listen and be surprised that anyone paid that much.
After this all I can say is beware: do not put anything on the web unless
you are sure that it is the best that you can do, drawn from the very fibers
of your nerves and the marrow of your bones. Put all vanity aside and relentlessly
pursue the ideal. You may catch it, you may not, but if you do not follow
that fleeing goddess then oblivion awaits. I wish oblivion on no one. And
I'm going to practice, practice and practice...
All best wishes to all for artistic success, Gordon Rumson
Copyright © 2 April 2001 Gordon Rumson,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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