This Week’s Tracks from Soundcloud

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I shall have to see whether a Soundcloud round-⁠up will continue to be offered with regularity every Sunday, as by doing so it may become a bit too much of a routine; but for today I come with some pieces of contemporary classical music, variously experimental, minimal, and ethnic in their inspiration and execution.

To begin with, a young composer from Ankara currently residing in Boston after completing a course of advanced instruction in the United States, Utar Dündarartun, whose professional life is conducted under the simpler moniker Utar Artun, has shared on his Soundcloud page an exercise on an unusual instrument: the sixteen-⁠tone piano invented by the Mexican composer Julián Carrillo in the middle of the last century and then realised, in the shape of an upright, in collaboration with the manufacturer Sauter. Although, to be sure, this model is relatively rare, rarer still is a grand piano built along the same lines, and of these one is found at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, where Artun shared his microtonal expertise in a series of workshops and seminars dedicated to Carrillo’s invention two years ago. There, with an “Experimental Improvisation on Carrillo’s 1/16 Tone Grand Piano,” he demonstrated something of what this unusual instrument can do.

Today’s second track is a recent work of a South African composer currently pursuing an advanced degree at the University of Stellenbosch, Arthur Feder. This is a tripartite piece for violin, cello, and piano, called simply “Song, Prayer and Dance,” and in it jazzy syncopations, minimalist motifs, and even possibly the instrumental recreation of passages from a libretto, are all blended finely together. The composer notes that the work has been inspired by the traditional music of his own country, and of this influence a foreign listener may have a sense from time to time, most obviously perhaps in the measured pizzicati that help to confer a shape upon the middle of the first part.

The last of the regular three tracks is entitled “Un·fath·om·a·ble,” an electronic organ and piano work by Yezekiel Raz, a classically-⁠trained pianist as well as a composer in Tel Aviv who has devoted himself to electronica for the past fifteen years, specialising in the Ableton Live system. This work too is tripartite, although each of the three parts is shorter in duration than the one which preceded it; it sounds as though the content is reprised twice, compressed into a narrower form with every iteration and being made accordingly more taut: upon this composition whose first mood is akin to a dirge, there is thus impressed during its middle and, even more, towards its end an oppressive aural sensation of something that will soon be impending.

Appended to this evening’s line-⁠up, included as a bonus, I’d also like to offer an older work by another Israeli pianist and devotee of electronic music, the Jerusalem composer Raviv Gazit. With a playful-⁠evocative sense of humour that’s not merely titular but which also echoes again in the music itself, he’s called it, simply and self-⁠referentially, “I Swallowed a Piano.”