November 25, 2013
The intrepid champions of new music from around the world bring a lullaby, some rare blues and a recent work by The National’s Bryce Dessner
Aheym (Yiddish for “homeward”) was written for Kronos by Bryce Dessner; a member of the Brooklyn rock band The National, he studied composition at Yale. The music thrives on nervous energy, pulsating with strumming and spiccato (bouncing the bow on strings) while building to a tremendous fever.
00:00: Bryce Dessner: Aheym
10:00: Lullaby. A traditional song with Afro-Persian roots.
14:30: Last Kind Words. A little-known blues song from around 1930, recorded by singer and guitarist Geeshie Wiley.
David Harrington violin
Hohn Sherba violin
Hank Dutt viola
Sunny Yang cello
How To CAT-Scan (And Hot-Rod) A Stradivarius
November 09, 2008
“It turns out that things that work very well are also very beautiful,” Zygmuntowicz says. “It is sort of an ancient design concept that goes back to Pythagoras — that the universe is designed in … an aesthetic, rational way. That still seems to hold up in the case of the violin.”
Mr. BOYD: The Willemotte, in general, has this wide array of colors. It’s like playing on a rainbow, and the de Gesu just has that kind of punch that I think a lot of fiddle players really gravitate towards. they know that when they play this fiddle, it’s going to soar to the back of the hall, which I think has a lot to do with why they’re rather in some ways more coveted.
It’s not often talked about. I think Guarneris are even more coveted than Strads for that reason.
They’re darker, huskier and they think they’re going to straight to the back of the hall, though I’ve always leaned towards the colors and the slightly more silvery qualities of the Strad.
Mr. ZYGMUNTOWICZ: Now, I mean, I quite agree with his assessment.
The problem is, you know, humans, we use words to describe things which are very inexact and they don’t mean the same thing to you.
HANSEN: Well, how do you measure a rainbow?
How do you measure a punch?
Mr. ZYGMUNTOWICZ: Well, everyone’s got their own language.
So, now I can take this thing to fiddles and do a quick sound analysis on them, and we’ll just see visually, you know, we’ve heard them now.