On Sacred Ground

I’ll be up late writing a paper on the significance of the compositional chronology of the last section of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor,* but I wanted to link to a release of the premiere performance of On Sacred Ground, The Bad Plus’ reworking of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Pianist Ethan Iverson is a beast on the recording, and his blog post on his creative process is a must-read. I’m also grateful to him for pointing to pianist Serhiy Salov’s album The Sacred Spring of Slavs. The album contains Salov’s own transcription of the Rite for solo piano as well as a suite of character pieces by the Ukrainian composer Igor Shamo. The transcription is rough and edgy, while at the same time showing off near-superhuman piano technique (there were several times where I had to repeat a section to try and figure out how he was producing these sounds with only two hands), and the Shamo pieces are strong in their own right, a combination of the folk melodies of Stravinsky/Bartók and the atmospheric washes of color of Debussy.
*Don’t worry–I’m putting myself to sleep.

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