Episode #2892

Things With Strings

« previous episode | next episode »

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For this edition of New Sounds, hear new music for strings. There’s music from Russian composer Anton Batagov, Estonian composer Arvo Part, and Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson, and Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Andrew Bird. The deluxe edition of Bird’s latest effort, “Noble Beast” is packaged with a companion album of adventurous instrumentals called “Useless Creatures.” We’ll hear selections from this companion record, built mainly around the sounds of Bird's looped violin, although sometimes he harnesses the space of his barn and several amplifiers for drone-like ambience. At other times Bird collaborates with other musicians, like upright bass player Todd Sickafoose and drummer Glenn Kotche, as on “The Carrion Suite,” and occasionally he incorporates the West African rhythms that drive his songs with words (“Banking on a Myth”, “Dear Dirty”) on tracks like “Hot Math.” All this and more.

PROGRAM # 2892 Things with Strings (First aired on Tues 1-27-09)





Andrew Bird

Noble Beast

Nomenclature, excerpt [1:30]

Fat Possum Records 1124**,*
OR download from

Andrew Bird

Noble Beast / Useless Creatures (Deluxe Edition)

You Woke Me Up! [7:30]

Fat Possum Records #11240 (ONLY available on Deluxe edition CD or 2LP set Noble Beast/Useless Creatures)*

Johann Johannsson


Eg atti graa aesku [5:00] Odi et Amo [3:30]

Touch Music #52

Arvo Pärt

Tabula Rasa

Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten [5:00]

ECM #1275**

Andrew Bird

Noble Beast / Useless Creatures (Deluxe Edition)

Carrion Suite [8:00]

See above.

Anton Batagov


Tetractys, excerpt [17:00]

Long Arms #04064

Comments [1]

Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Strings sections in opera that before Verdi and Wagner had not such dramatic usage, AFTER Wagner's almost sole orchestration of most of the beginning of the "Lohengrin" Acts 1 and 3 Preludes became the interpreter
of the drama and its textual subtext commentary. Lohengrin's magical knightly persona is leading motive accurately represented. Verdi, likewise, in his Preludes to Acts 1 and 3 of "La Traviata" sets a template for the malady and sensitivity of the opera's heroine Violetta, who was, indeed a famous Parisian courtesan, of a different name, who tragically died young. As an opera composer myself; "Shakespeare" & "The Political Shakespeare," and a Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, I fully employ the strings musically and dramatically.

Apr. 02 2010 08:42 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.