Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I had some correspondence with John Tilbury a couple weeks back during which he asked if I'd heard his recording of Samuel Beckett on Matchless. I not only hadn't but was only dimly aware of its existence at all. I think I knew, a few years ago, that something of the sort was in the offing, but its actual publication utterly eluded me; very annoying. Admittedly, I don't regularly peruse the Matchless website and I haven't read WIRE for a few years now so, presuming it was reviewed therein, I would have missed that. Still, I would've supposed that I'd've seen a bit of discussion about it here or there and I haven't (it was issued in 2005). Googling about, I couldn't even find a write-up around (I may easily have missed some). Weird.

In any case, I ordered it straightaway and received it this past Friday. Two listens and I think it's absolutely fantastic. I'm by no stretch any kind of authority on Beckett performances (he does Cascando and Rough for Radio 1 (the former with Sebastian Lexer, the latter with Lexer, Christina Jones and Prevost) but I thought both renditions here were stunning and quite moving. I see a few are available at UbuWeb which I'll try to give a listen to later on.

Why so little discussion about this though? Curious to get people's opinions on where this fits in with other interpretations as well as recommendations in that direction.

New Listening:

Seth Nehil - Amnemonic Site (Alluvial)


Richard Pinnell said...

Brian if you don't review something at Bagatellen, noone discusses it! Its your fault!

Its a great album though as I told you recently.I am no expert either in these things, my experience of Beckett being via the written page and one solitary theatre visit.

I have a recording somewhere of a half hour long BBC radio programme called Tilbury as Music, Beckett as Music, that I need to listen to again, but features assorted pieces and an interview that is spliced up and looped here and there to make a piece of art in itself.

Been a while since I heard it, but I remember it annoying me somewhat on last listen, I'll dig it and out do you a copy.

Brian Olewnick said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've read most of Beckett in print, though a long time ago. It's something I've been meaning to do again and this'll probably spur me towards that end.

I guess some of the most prominent musical interpretations have been done by Michael Mantler, notably "No Answer" from around '73 with Jack Bruce, Don Cherry, Carla Bley and himself. I like that pretty much, though I don't think it's in the same league as Tilbury.

Thanks for the burn offer; I'd be happy to hear that. You can include it with the MIMEO package you'll send out to writers in, what, a year or so? ;-)

Robert said...

Jeez Brian, way to catch up ;) That album was definitely discussed plenty among the various IHM venues. I have a bootleg performance of Cascando that I had for probably a year before the album came out. Additionally I got to see Tilbury perform the piece in Vancouver in Jan 2006 which I wrote up here (and had originally posted on IHM).

Anyway I agree that it is a very good piece though I'd avoid superlatives beyond that. I'd rather hear Tilbury play Feldman, Cardew, Wolff, Cage, AMMMusic, in duos with Mr. Rowe and so on.

I also have that Tilbury as Music) program and it is terrible, absolutely terrible. It has this horrible editing, in an attempt to turn a simple interview into something arty. Repeated bits, cut in pasted with performance, it is just so poorly done.

Robert said...

You can include it with the MIMEO package you'll send out to writers in, what, a year or so? ;-)

I hear its now being planned as a companion CD for your biography. So as soon as that wraps up....

Brian Olewnick said...

Robert, I just searched IHM on "cascando" and found your thread on the workshop (which I remember) that included a performance of same, but didn't see anything on the Matchless recording. Maybe I missed it.

The only other hit was the Live Gigs thread which I declined to sift through.

Anyway, given the amount of general commentary on other recent Tilbury-involved releases (Barcelona, the thing with Schmickler, various AMM projects, etc.) I remain surprised at the paucity of talk about this. Perhaps it's simply not everyone's spread of Marmite.

I'll probably work up something for Bags within a couple of weeks.

Robert said...

Yes not much turning up on the IHM search. However among the "various IHM venues" we do have a chatroom...

BTW to make your searches easier, check the Display results as: box to Posts and then your results will return the first couple of lines of the actual posts as opposed to just the thread. A lot easier for pulling results out of those mammoth threads.

Brian Olewnick said...

Yeah, I stay out of chat rooms as a rule.

Though I did peek in at a bit of Marmite discussion the other day at Jon's.