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  • LIFESTYLE

    Ligeti revisited

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 08/05/2012

    » Gyorgy Ligeti was displeased when Stanley Kubrick used some of his music on the soundtrack of his 1967 sci-fi classic, 2001, A Space Odyssey. The movie and the soundtrack album that was issued at the time of the film's release, which contained excerpts from pieces by Ligeti, were both big hits and Ligeti achieved a popularity and, most likely, a bank-account boost of the kind few avant-garde composers can dream of. But on the other hand it is true that, whatever the composer's actual intentions may have been, no one who has seen the film will be able to hear Ligeti's Atmospheres without thinking of the film's hallucinatory imagining of the surface of Jupiter, or his Lux Aeterna without memories surfacing of Kubrick's lunar shuttle skimming over craters and peaks.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Duo revel in dreamlike freedom

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 05/06/2012

    » One of the most striking things about this programme of short, largely improvised pieces by violinist Hilary Hahn and German composer-pianist Volker Bertelmann (who performs under the name Hauschka) is the strength of the creative rapport between the two musicians.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Serious about noodles

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 01/06/2012

    » The sensibilities of the committed noodle connoisseur are very finely calibrated.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Bartok and other download delights

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 10/04/2012

    » Anyone who has tried to shop for classical discs recently here in Bangkok is aware of the toll that downloading has taken on the CD industry. But even with many CD and DVD companies going into defensive mode and encoding their discs in SACD or other multichannel formats that cannot, as far as I know, be easily accessed in download form, nothing is going to reverse this trend any time soon.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Know the score

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 28/02/2012

    » For whatever irrational reason, classical music listeners often think of film scores as a somewhat suspect genre. Discs of movie music won't be prominent in their collections. This prejudice doesn't hold true for movie music written by major composers _ people familiar with Prokofiev's scores for Alexander Nevsky or Lieutenant Kije must greatly outnumber those who have seen the films _ but many otherwise alert listeners are often oblivious, consciously, at least, to the artistic accomplishment represented by a good film score.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Sonorous reinterpreted

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 13/03/2012

    » Sir Colin Davis' new, live recording of The Planets makes its mark right away with the very fast, mean and lean approach he chooses for "Mars, the Bringer of War". Has any other conductor pushed the piece this hard since Steinberg recorded it with the Boston Symphony for DG back in the early 1970s, and took a lot of critical heat as a result?

  • LIFESTYLE

    A vant-garde showcase

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 27/03/2012

    » Every year since 1921, listeners interested in the directions that contemporary music is taking have descended upon the southwest German town of Donaueschingen to catch up with the latest at the Donaueschinger Musiktage, the oldest modern music festival in the world. Most of the world's leading modernist composers have had a work premiered or performed there, and in recent years there have been commercial recordings to allow listeners who can't attend the festival to get an earful of the latest.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Another version the three Bs

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 24/01/2012

    » In a note accompanying this recording, conductor Alan Gilbert refers to the programme as "our version of The Three Bs" _ with Berg replacing Beethoven _ and describes it as a "serious" and "sad". It spans three centuries and encompasses music dissimilar enough in style to make it challenging to the audience, whose ears will have to do quite a lot of style-sensitivity gear-changing.

  • LIFESTYLE

    A Baroque favourite

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 07/02/2012

    » J.S. Bach's six Brandenburgs are right up there with Vivaldi's The Four Seasons as some of the most popular works in the Baroque repertoire, but they are so musically rich that most listeners never tire of them. If you collect recordings of music by Bach, you probably have at least one set of Brandenburgs already, but this new release, in sparkling Blu-ray audio, is worth considering even if you already own several.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Indulging a personal vision

    Life, Ung-Aang Talay, Published on 06/01/2012

    » Like almost all of Terrence Malick's earlier films, The Tree of Life, the latest, most personal, and most extreme of them, has divided critics and audiences. One of the most frequent charges made against it by its detractors has been that it is "self-indulgent".

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