Wintermusik

Can you believe it’s nearly winter. How time flies by. So, whilst we’re on the cusp of ever darker and colder evenings it seemed fitting to revisit one of my favourite winter albums, which is called (rather fittingly) Wintermusik. It’s by the contemporary composer Nils Frahm. The songs were originally a Christmas present for friends but it was then put out in a limited edition on CD. It’s a beautiful record –  uplifting, yet with a tinge of sorrow. And it’s perfect for a Sunday evening as the dark creeps in and the temperature drops. Here is one of the 3 tracks. It is well worth finding a copy if you can – there are 5 copies left on amazon at the time of writing this, which you can find by clicking: here

Frahm has also just released a new album called Felt, which The Hype Machine is streaming in its entirety. It ‘s much more minimalistic than Wintermusik but there are some lovely moments. I can’t seem to embed the stream here but you can find it by clicking:
The Hype Machine – Nils Frahm: Felt

Keith Jarrett – The Köln Concert

Classic jazz. The term makes me shiver. There are a few recordings that don’t – Kind of Blue and pretty much anything by Coltrane. But for me, the best of them all and one that deserves that you leave any preconceptions about jazz (nice) at the door is a live recording of a concert that the performer didn’t even want to play. And yet, when he did, something miraculous happened.

Keith Jarrett arrived in Cologne tired and exhausted and suffering from chronic back pain to play a solo piano concert at the city’s main opera house. When he arrived he found that the piano wasn’t the concert grand he expected but a substandard, ill-tuned baby grand meant only for rehearsals. There was no substitute. Initially he refused to play but 1,400 people were coming to see him perform only a few hours after his arrival. It was too late to cancel. So, at 11.30pm (an unusually late hour because the only time the house could give him was after that evening’s regular opera performance) he took to the stage. And, against all reasonable expectations, created a masterpiece.

His concert, broken down into four sections on the album and performed in two acts, was almost entirely improvised. Improvisational jazz can be a thing of squirm-inducing horror – self-indulgent noodling and interminable scales that go on for hour after mind-breaking hour. But not here. This was almost revolutionary improvisation at the time (1975) – quiet, lyrical spontaneity with breathtaking harmonic invention. His whoops and sighs which accompany his extraordinary playing only add to the sheer brilliance of the recording. It is an extraordinary record and one of the few concerts I dearly wish I could have experienced firsthand.

Here is Act I:

 

It is well worth seeking out your own copy to hear the concert in its entirety. Jazz will never seem quite the same again…

Corduroy Road

So here’s another little bit of pianistic loveliness by Goldmund (who you might remember from a few weeks ago on here.) This was his debut album on the Type A record label and is almost impossible to find on CD (so if anyone out there knows how I can get hold of a copy – drop me a line!) Hope you enjoy it.

The Malady of Elegance

I found another gorgeous album by an artist I hadn’t heard of before this week – a musician called Keith Kenniff who records under a variety of pseudonyms including ‘Goldmund’ and ‘Helios.’ The album below (embedding a whole album here – if it works!) is his second under the name Goldmund for the Type A record label. It’s a lovely piece of work – beautifully meditative and brilliantly recorded (I love the fact that you can hear the subtle beat of the piano pedals and the hammers striking the strings before the note sounds – it makes you feel as though you’re in the room.) The second track, ‘In A Notebook’ is just sublime and it’s one I’m finding myself returning to late in the evening many times.

Normally I’d post this kind of music on a Friday evening for chilling to at the end of a busy week but I’m off tomorrow so here it is a day early. It’s getting kind of reflective in here music-wise so my next music post will be something a little more up-tempo. Hope you enjoy this little slice of pianistic heaven as much as I did – especially ‘In A Notebook.’ Let me know what you think…

You can buy the album on CD here: http://bit.ly/7y5ySb