Saturday, October 27, 2012

Conlon Nancarrow at 100: Chronological Collection

"Conlon Nancarrow was an iconoclastic American composer who wrote in an utterly new way using new instrumental resources. While isolated from the main currents of music, he was virtually ignored by the public and his colleagues until the 1970s. In the 1980s composer György Ligeti said Nancarrow was writing 'the best music by any living composer.'

Nancarrow is primarily known for his 50 studies for player piano, which combine a quasi-improvisatory likening to jazz pianists Art Tatum and Earl Hines, with dazzling rhythmic complexity rendered at tempos that exceed the capabilities of human performers. Nancarrow adopted the player piano as his instrument of choice because of its ability to exactingly reproduce his complex rhythmic layers -- sometimes up to 12 layers simultaneously -- and because of his relative isolation from performers while in Mexico. Nancarrow obtained a player piano in the 1940s and began laboriously hand-punching each note onto a piano roll, ultimately producing completed compositions." - AllMusic

This playlist is a collection of all available works of Nancarrow, sorted in chronological order. It also features various arrangements of the Studies for Player Piano, from Alarm Will Sound, Icebreaker, Bang On A Can, Ensemble Modern, Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo, Martin Schlumpf, Jason Moran, Absolute Ensemble, and Thomas Adès.

Get this collection in one Spotify playlist: Conlon Nancarrow - Chronological Collection (141 tracks, total time: 8 hours). Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. More links: work list, official site, Other Minds, and mini site by Kyle Gann.