Listening for England

June 17, 2007

The best thing about being free throughout the day is the opportunity to spend some quality time listening with care to music. The pile of stuff here that I’ve not played at all remains pretty high, and the list of CDs that I’ve given no more than a cursory spin twice as high again, so plenty of raw material to keep me going. I keep a written list of music that I really want to dig out of the shelves and play again too, a list I add to every so often when something jogs my memory of a great disc. My ambition by the end of next week is to be able to make a start on that list.
Over the last three days my poor CD deck has been red hot as I’ve revelled in the peace and quiet of an empty house. Being around during the day has meant I’ve been able to stretch the speakers more, as its hard for me to play music at high volume in the evenings here. I’ve found myself playing music in patterns. There has been four, maybe five CDs that I have played over and over, they just haven’t gone back into their cases. I’ve tended to play these discs in alternation with new releases from the “Must listen to” pile. So a few really great pieces of music that have captivated me of late have been played a lot; Keith Rowe’s The Room, The Shostakovich 14 and 15th quartet disc, The David Tudor compilation on Editions RZ (the second disc in particular) and a couple of Bach 2CD sets; The Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo by Gidon Kremer and Six suites for solo cello played by Janos Starker, which is a wonderfully vibrant, alive piece of music sent to me by a man in the know.

In between these “bookend” recordings have been some good, and some not so good first listens. Of the music that has stood out the Korber/Weber/Yamauchi on For4ears, the Phono_Phono on Absinth, Nate Woolley’s 3″ The Boxer for solo trumpet and the very very wonderful new disc by Klaus Lang on Edition RZ can all be included. Right now the Korean trio of Ryu Hankil, Jin Sangtae and Choi Joonyong’s release on The Manual Records is sounding pretty good too, rattling its way around the room.

The best thing about all of this is just the fact I have the time to not only listen, but listen carfeully… and oh boy I’m enjoying it!

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