New York Music Daily

Global Music With a New York Edge

Tag: classical music

Somber Arvo Part Choral and Orchestral Music for Somber Times

Whether Russian orchestras actually play Shostakovich better, or French organists are best suited to perform the work of Louis Vierne, are debatable questions. What was indisputable last night was how vastly attuned the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra were to their countryman Arvo Part’s somber, rapturous mysticism. It’s impossible to think of a more apt program for a New York series called Sacred Music in a Sacred Space.

The concert was a confluence of unlikely serendipities. Beyond the rare opportunity to witness these two legendary ensembles together on American soil, the material on the bill was what many consider to be peak-era Part. Everything dated from1990 and later, with one of the arrangements a 2018 North American premiere. Better yet, the composer himself had suggested the inclusion of his soberly crescendoing, cell-like 2006 string orchestra piece, Fur Lennart in Memoria.

On a macro level, the performance was as meticulously serious as its overall gloom was pervasive and relentless. In particular, conductor Tonu Kaljuste made masterful use of the innumerable spaces that punctuated these works, leting the natural reverb of the high-ceilinged Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola resonate as profoundly as the music itself.

The ensembles only missed the big American costume-party holiday by a couple of weeks. To be fair, the only point where the sound reached fullscale horror was in the stalking pulse, gothic chromatics and brief series of muted, shrieking motives in the concluding suite, Adam’s Lament. The message, here as elsewhere, seemed to be that no human alone should have to bear the burden of being cast out of paradise, all alone in a hostile world.

The rest of the program was every bit as troubled and serious. Even celeste player Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann’s graceful comet-trail phrases and bittersweet starriness tended to simply mingle with the otherwise rather stygian, even creepy tones of Salve Regina. Mysterious bass drones anchored alternately moody and robust accents and call-and-response from the choir throughout an understatedly dynamic take of Part’s Berliner Messe, the oldest piece they performed. The string orchestra brought a gorgeous, Gorecki-like, hypnotically circling ambience to Silouan’s Song, rising to a windswept ethereality. And the Prayer, from Part’s Kanon Pokajanen suite, perfectly synopsized the concert’s slow, steady, spacious majesty, artfully developed variations on simple, emphatic phrases and lustrous contrast between highs and lows from both the singers and the strings.

The two ensembles are currently on US tour; the next stop is Nov 14 at 7:30 PM at Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St. in Stanford, California; you can get in for $32, less if you’re a student. After more lighthearted holiday fare next month, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space’s programming keeps the intensity high with a performance by longtime St. Ignatius organist Renee-Anne Louprette with uilleann piper Ivan Goff on Jan 20 at 3 PM; tix are $25.


What a Thrill: Tan Dun Conducts Tan Dun at Lincoln Center

That this past evening’s Lincoln Center performance of Tan Dun’s Cello Concerto wasn’t upstaged by the Orchestra Now‘s colorful, majestically dynamic, cinematic version of Respighi’s The Pines of Rome speaks equally to the quality of the composition and the musicians playing it. Having a composer on the podium isn’t necessarily a good idea, since many lack the ability to communicate exactly what they want in a split-second. But Tan Dun was confident and assured, building a vigorous repartee with the ensemble throughout a bill that reflected the diverse and often perverse challenges that even the most seasoned players can be forced to take in stride.

The Cello Concerto is one of four, each written for a different solo instrument, utilizing the same orchestral backdrop. This one is a real showstopper, a frequently microtonal work (especially at the end) that required all sorts of daunting extended technique not only from cellist Jing Zhao but the entire orchestra. The Asian influence was most strongly evident throughout a long series of strangely cantabile glissandos, and swoops and dives, front and center in bright stereo from various sections and soloists, percussion included. From a vast, overcast, enveloping slow build, through thickets of agitation, thorny pizzicato and more than one interlude that was essentially cello metal, the group seemed to be having a blast with it. Even the two trick codas as the end were as seamless as trick codas can be.

The other Tan Dun piece on the bill, his Passaglia, is one in the most formal sense of the word: varations on a simple, catchy bass figure. It’s an etude, an opportunity for young musicians not only to take turns in brief, emphatic solos, but also to tackle the many unusual challenges (many would say indignities) that orchestral musicians these days are called on to pull off. In this case, that included singing n unison, chanting, stomping or clapping out a beat…and using their phones. This deep-jungle theme and permutations briefly employs a sample of birdsong which the audience were also encouraged to download and play on cue. As expected, that interlude was rather ragged and took twice as long as the composer had intended. Even so, Tan Dun’s relentless, puckish sense of humor and peek-a-boo motives won everyone over.

Respighi’s tour of Roman activity beneath and around the conifers was as vivid as it possibly could have been, enhanced by the composer’s original instructions to position brass above and to the side. Introducing the piece, violinist Diego Gabete-Rodriguez reminded that Respighi had studied with Rimsky-Korsakov, which came through mightily in the clarity of individual voices over fluttering and then lush strings, delicate accents popping up everywhere when least expected. The kids playing a frenetic game of hide-and-seek in the Villa Borghese; the somber catacomb milieu of the second movement; the glistening nocturne of the third; the concluding ominous buildup to what seems like inevitable war (remember, this was written under the Mussolini regime); and final triumphant scene were each in sharp focus.

The orchestra opened with Smetana’s The Moldau, which, paired alongside Tan Dun’s nonstop excitement seemed tired and dated. The musical equivalent of a first-class minor-league team, the Orchestra Now’s mission is to give up-and-coming players a chance to show off their stuff in the real-live situations that they will undoubtedly encounter as professional orchestral musicians. The Czech composer’s water music is a perennially popular curtain-riser, one unfortunately too often paired with a piece as jarringly different as the rest of this bill was. To be able to leap that stylistic chasm could mean a thumbs-up from a hiring committee; in this case, the group seemed to be holding their energy, and emotional commitment, in reserve for the fireworks afterward.

The Orchestra Now’s next Manhattan concert is Nov 18 at 2 PM at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with works by Chopin and Berlioz; you can get in for $30.

Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for November and December 2018

Daily updates – if you go out a lot, you might want to bookmark this page and check back regularly. If you’re leaving your hood, make sure you check for service changes considering how the trains are at night and on the weekend.

If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is recommended if you like their particular kind of music. Many different styles to choose from.

Showtimes listed here are set times, not the time doors open – if a listing says something like “9ish,” that means it’ll probably start later than advertised. If you see a show listed without the start time, that’s because either the artist, their publicist or the venue in question sent incomplete info – those acts are usually listed last on a particular date.  Always best to check with the venue for the latest information on set times and door charges, since that information is often published here weeks in advance. Weekly events first followed by the daily calendar.

If you see a typo or an extra comma or something like that, remember that while you were out seeing that great free concert that you found out about here, somebody was up late after a long day of work editing and adding listings to this calendar ;)

On select Wednesdays and Sundays, an intimate, growing piano music salon on the Upper West Side featuring iconoclastically insightful, lyrical pianist Nancy Garniez – a cult favorite with an extraordinarily fluid, singing, legato style – exploring the delicious minutiae of works from across the centuries, beverages and lively conversation included! Next performances are 11/8 and 12/5 at 7 PM with special guest violinist Gregor Kitzis playing Mozart, email for details/address

Four nights in November: 11/1 at 10 and, 11/13 ,11/16,and 11/20 at 7 the great unsung NYC hero of darkly purposeful, noir-tinged jazz guitar, Saul Rubin leading his Zebtet at the Fat Cat.

Mondays at 7 PM multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman’s popular western swing band Brain Cloud at Barbes followed at 9:30 PM by a variety of south-of-the-border-style bands playing cumbias, boogaloo, salsa, maybe all of the above.

Mondays at the Jazz Standard it’s all Mingus, whether with the Mingus Orchestra, Big Band or Mingus Dynasty: as jazz goes, it’s arguably the most exhilarating show of the week, every week. The first-rate players always rise to the level of the material. Sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $25 and worth it.

Also Monday and Tuesday nights Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, a boisterous horn-driven 11-piece 1920s/early 30’s band play Iguana, 240 W. 54th St ( Broadway/8th Ave) , 3 sets from 8 to 11, surprisingly cheap $15 cover plus $15 minimum considering what you’re getting. Even before the Flying Neutrinos or the Moonlighters, multi-instrumentalist Giordano was pioneering the oldtimey sound in New York; his long-running residency at the old Cajun on lower 8th Ave. is legendary. He also gets a ton of film work (Giordano wrote the satirical number that Willie Nelson famously sang in Wag the Dog).

Mondays at the Vanguard the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra – composer Jim McNeely’s reliably good big band vehicle – plays 9/11 PM, $30 per set plus drink minimum.

Mondays in November, 10 PM darkly torchy southwestern gothic/Europolitan songwriter/guitarist Miwa Gemini at LIC Bar

Mondays in November, 10 PM noir guitar legend Jim Campilongo leads his trio at the big room at the Rockwood, $10

Mondays in November, Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play Union Pool in Williamsburg, two sets starting at 10:30 PM. The Rev. is one of the great keyboardists around, equally thrilling on organ or electric piano, an expert at Billy Preston style funk, honkytonk, gospel and blues. He writes very funny, very politically astute, sexy original songs and is one of the most charismatic, intense live performers of our time. It’s a crazy dance party. Paula Henderson from Burnt Sugar is the lead soloist on baritone sax, with frequent special guests.

Tuesdays in November, clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party  at 9 PM at Barbes (check the club calendar). Get there as soon as you can as they’re very popular. $10 cover.

Wednesdays in November, 8 PM the Binky Griptite Orchestra (formerly Sharon Jones’ brilliant oldschool soul backing band) at Threes Brewing Outpost, 113 Franklin St (Greenpoint/Kent Aves) in Greenpoint, free

Thursdays at 8 in November the Brooklyn Raga Massive – a rotating cast of A-list Indian, jazz and rock musicians who love to jam out classic Indian themes from over the centuries to the present day – play the Jalopy, $15 adv tix at the bar at the main space. Tons of special guests followed by a wild raga jam!

Fridays and Saturdays at 5 PM adventurous indie classical string quartet Ethel plus frequent special guests playing a mix of classical and more contemporary material at the balcony bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, free w/museum adm

Fridays at 7:30 PM Ken Fowser leads his band at the Django. Jukebox jazz in a JD Allen vein but not as dark and more straight-ahead/groove-oriented: as postbop party music goes, nobody’s writing better than this guy right now.

Free classical concerts on Saturdays at 4 PM in October at Bargemusic;  usually solo piano or small chamber ensembles. If you get lucky, you’ll catch pyrotechnic violinist/music director Mark Peskanov and/or the many members of his circle. Early arrival advised.

Saturdays at 6 PM in November klezmer-jazz piano icon Anthony Coleman at Barbes

Sundays in November, at sometime past noon at Hank’s, Nashville gothic crooner Sean Kershaw‘s legendary honkytonk brunch is back; special guests from his wide circle of NYC Americana acts keep the afternoon going until about 7. It’s just like 1999 again -at least until the bar closes sometime this year.

Sundays in November, 6 PM Red Molly’s irrepressible Americana multi-instrumentalist Molly Venter at the small room at the Rockwood

11/1, 7 PM Bellucci Band – Gordan Spasovski on piano, Kiril Tufekcievski on bass and Blagoja Antovski on drums play new material as well as music by McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and others at Gallery MC, 549 W 52nd St., 8th Fl

11/1, 7 PM poignant, nuanced jazz singer Amy Cervini leads her quintet at 55 Bar

11/1, 7:30 PM drummer Fernando Garcia’s bomba jazz quintet followed by tenor saxophonist Slovenian saxophonist Jan Kus’ Slavo Rican Assembly at Drom, $15 adv tix rec

 11/1, 8 PM free jazz trumpet maven Nate Wooley plays Annea Lockwood’s first trumpet piece), followed by the U.S. premiere of Library on Lightning by Ashley Fure performed by Rebekah Heller, Brandon Lopez, and Wooley. The evening also features Felipe Lara’s recent composition Metafagote performed by  Heller, and, lastly, the world premiere of the duo rendition of Wadada Leo Smith’s Red Autumn Gold, performed by Wooley himself at Issue Project Room, $15/$12 stud/srs

11/1-4, 8/10:30 PM luminously tuneful latin jazz pianist Michel Camilo leads a trio at the Blue Note, $30 standing room avail

11/1, 8:30 PM entrancing Indian carnatic violinist Megumi at Brooklyn Raga Massive’s weekly shindig at the Jalopy, $15

11/1, 8:30 PM hard-charging oldschool soul/funk/rock singer Bette Smith and band at Bar Lunatico

11/1, 8 PM New York’s most charismatic, darkly compelling lyrical songwriter/storyteller/keyboard genius Rachelle Garniez followed by cutting-edge guitarist Sean Moran’s Very Good (understatement!) octet at Barbes

11/2. 6:30 PM terse, tuneful Americana singer Jenna Smith followed by ferocious bass improviser James Ilgenfritz’s Anagram Ensemble at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, $15/$10 stud 

11/2, 9ish sardonically relevant guitar-fueled female-fronted Americana punks Spanking Charlene  at Coney Island Baby, $10

11/2-3, 9:30/midnight the Tiger Lillies play their latest noir cabaret extravaganza Devil’s Fairground at Joe’s Pub, $30

11/2, 10 PM awesomely slinky downtempo/cumbia/psychedelic salsa dura band La Mecanica Popular at Barbes

11/3, drinks and kettle corn at 2, concert at 2:30 PM, Sandbox Percussion with special guest vocalist Eliza Bagg play the world premiere of Alex Weiser’s sepulchral “With GentleFfingers”,  as well as György Ligeti’s rarely performed triptych “Síppal, dobbal, nádihegedűvel” at the DiMenna Center, $20 

11/3, 4 PM cinematic, psychedelic quirk-pop keyboardist Michael Hearst presents “Curious, Unusual and Extraordinary” songs from his many bands followed at 6 by klezmer-jazz piano icon Anthony Coleman solo, at 8 by the brilliantly tuneful new project of trumpeter Ben Holmes, drummer Jeff Davis and pianist Carmen Staaf and then at 10 by epic ranchera/bolero brass crew Banda de los Muertos at Barbes

11/3, 4 PM starkly acidic guitarist Ryan Ferreira followed by adventurous bassist Eivind Opsvik followed byatmospheric, cinematic drummer/composer Tim Kuhl – sort of a more straightforwardly trippy version of John Hollenbeck – with his band at Pete’s. The amazing Miriam Elhajli – who switches effortlessly from Venezuelan-influenced folk to classic Appalachian sounds – plays at 10 afterward

11/3, 5 PM the Latin American Chamber Players perform works by Puerto Rican composers Jack Delano, Sonia Morales, Robert Sierra and others at Scholes St. Studios, $10

11/3, 6 PM charmingly inscrutable Parisienne chanteuse Chloe & the French Heart Jazz Band at Club Bonafide. She’s also here on 11/9 and 11/24

11/3, 7 PMdark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra bues. They’re also here on 11/17

11/3, 7:30 PM multi-generational sarod dynasty: Maestro Amjad Ali Khan with Ayaan Ali Bangash and Amaan Ali Bangash at Symphony Space, $30 tix avail

11/3, 7:30 PM pianist Paul Lewis plays works by Brahms, Beethoven and Haydn at Irving Auditorium, Irving Pl/17th St., $16

11/3, 7 PM the debut of NYC’s latest new music group, Wavefield Ensembl eplaying auspicious premieres by Abbasi, Cheah, Helgeson plus Boulez’s monumental Dérive 2 for 11 players, at the Mana Contemporary, 888 Newark Ave. Jersey City, Path train to Journal Square

11/3, 7 PM violinist Karen Bentley Pollick plays edgy Romany-inspired airs by Enescu, similar works by Mark Kopytman,a hauntingly kinetic Middle Eastern piece by Yitzhak Yedid, Selim Göncü’s The Art of Zapping,  – “a dramatic depiction of our relationship with remote controls” – plus works by Hsueh-Yung Shen and Ivan Sokolov at Spectrum, $15

11/3, 7 PM wildly popular bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding and Williaim Parker lead their respective ensembles at Lehman Stages/Lovinger Theatre, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West in the Bronx, 4 to Bedford Pk. Blvd, $25

11/3, 8 PM the String Trio of NY improvise with guitarist Alejandro Florez and  pianist Ricardo Gallo at Soup & Sound , 292 Lefferts Ave( b/n Nostrand & Rogers), 2nd floor, Lefferts Gardens, 2 to Sterling St, $20 sug don includes soup

11/3, 8 PM guitar/dulcimer folk duo Ivy & Miranda followed by the eclectic, more globally-influenced Magpie at the People’s Voice Cafe, sugg don, $20, “more if you choose; less if you can’t; no one turned away.” 

11/3, 8 PM innovative postbop pianist Glenn Zaleski leads his trio at the Cell Theatre, $15

11/3, 9 PM Unsteady Freddie‘s monthly surf rock extravaganza at Otto’s begins at 9 PM with LI cover band Shecky & the Twangtones, at 10 the heavier, fierier Tsunami of Sound, at 11 the swirly, hard-hitting, reverb-iced Strange but Surf and at midnight a rare NYC appearance by Indiana’s darkly purist the Katatonics 

11/3, 9 PM hypnotic, stark indie cassical/Americana guitar/violin duo Damsel followed byten-piece country/carnivalesque/acoustic rock powerhouse M Shanghai String Band at the Jalopy, $!0

11/3, 9:30 PM haunting noir cabaret pioneer Little Annie & Botanica piano mastermind Paul Wallfisch at Pangea, $20.

11/3, 10:30 PM classic Persian favorites from 60s and 70s with A Muslim and a Mexican at Drom, $20

11/3 1 AM (actually wee hours of 11/4) feral tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt  leads the jam at Smalls. Could be off the hook

11/4-8 a celebration of Frederic Rzewski’s music at Spectrum, $20 ($40 four-day pass available). Too many good musicians to list: the full lineup is here. Choice pick: pianist Corey Hamm tackling The People United Will Never Be Defeated at 5:30 on 11/4

11/4, 4 PM the An Die Musik quintet play works by Beethoven, Britten and others at Merkin Concert Hall, $16

11/4. 4 PM violinist Rolf Schulte and pianist Aaron Likness perform a program of Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library, free, no under-sixes.

11/4, 4 PM the Parthenia Viol Consort with special guests New World Recorders (Gwyn Roberts, Héloïse Degrugillier, Rainer Beckmann and Tricia van Oers) “offer canzonas, ricercars, fantasias, motets and polychoral masterpieces from Italy and England by William Byrd, Peter Phillips, John Ward, Thomas Simpson, Thomas Tomkins, Henry Purcell, Andrea Gabrieli, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Giovanni Priuli, Giovanni Battista Grillo, and Adrian Willaert” at Corpus Christi Church, 529 W 121st St, $25

11/4, 6 PM wryly retro, period-perfect classic 60s style female-fronted honkytonk band the Bourbon Express at at Hank’s

11/4, 6 PM iconic LES improvisers: Radio I-Ching in duo form with sax/guitar duels between Andy Haas and Don Fiorino followed at 7 by drummer Dave Grollman and guitarist Lucas Brode at Downtown Music Gallery

11/4, 7 PM violinist Benjamin Sung plays solo works by Berio, Sciarrino, Kubik and others at Scholes St. Studio

11/4, 7:30 PM Turkish saz virtuoso Ozan Aksoy plays the album release show for his new one at Drom, free

11/4, 7:30 PM a rare performance of legendary Cambodian musicians and their descendants – flute player, activist, and founder of Cambodian Living Arts Arn Chorn-Pond, alongside Seyma Trhosn, Master Mann Men, his daughter Mao Men, and Savang Toch playing music forbidden during the Pol Pot era at City Winery, $25 standing room avail 

11/4, 8 PM western swing band Brain Cloud ‘s irrepressible, tapdancing frontwoman Tamar Korn and her band followed by pyrotechnic klezmer clarinetist and Dave Tarras protege Michael Winograd’s klezmer band in the upstairs room at at Threes Brewing, 333 Douglass St. in Gowanus

11/4, 8 PM Helix with Michel van der Aa’s Hysteresis with Maureen Hurd (clarinet soloist) play works by Wolfe, Glass, Thordvaldsdottier and many others at the Poisson Rouge, $20 av tix rec

11/4, 9 PM bouzouki virtuoso Michael Paouris – who plays everything from rembetiko to Turkish music to Vivaldi – with his band at Drom, $10 adv tix rex

11/4, 7 PM haunting, cinematic lapsteel genius Myk Freedman leads his band followed at 9 by Romany jazz guitarist Sara L’Abriola. She’s also here on 11/11

11/4, 10:30 PM catchy soul-jazz trombonist David Gibson leads his quintet at Smalls

11/5, 7:30 a panel discussion with violist/impresario Nadia Sirota; bassoonist/International Contemporary Ensemble co-artistic director Rebekah Heller; and NY Philharmonic Artistic Planning veep Isaac Thompson weighing in on the precarious state of new music in New York City and its future at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/, 8:30 PM Middle Eastern inspired bassist Omer Avital leads a quartet at Bar Lunatico

11/5, 9:30ish Dilemastronauta Y Los Sabrosos Cosmicos with members of M.A.K.U and Combo Chimbita play space cumbia and tropical stoner sounds at Barbes. They’re also at the big room at the Rockwood on11/21 at 11:30

11/5, 10 PM fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel & the Two Cent Band at Skinny Dennis. He’s also here on 11/11 at 9

11/6 half past noon Dutch organist Stefan Donner plays a program TBA at Church of the Transfiguration on E 29th just off 5th Ave

11/6, 7 PM melodic rising star bassist Endea Owens leads her group at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, $10

11/6, 7 PM bassist Max Johnson presents a new trio made up of Matt Nelson (Battle Trance) on tenor saxophone and Brian Chase on drums followed by clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Barbes

11/6, 7:30 PM the deservedly acclaimed Brooklyn Youth Chorus sing the album release show for their new one Silent Voices with works by works by Caroline Shaw, Shara Nova, Toshi Reagon, Jeff Beal, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, Kamala Sankaram at the Poisson Rouge, $25 adv tix rec

11/6, 7:30 PM the Silesian String Quartet play a rare all-Polish program of works by Szymanowski, Lutosławski, Bacewicz and Penderecki at the Morgan Library, $35

11/6, 8 PM colorful, paradigm-shifting Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man and the Taipai Chinese Orchestra play US premieres of works by Chen Shi-Si, Qu Wenjun, Cheng Kuang-Chih and Bao Yuan-Kai at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, $25 tix avail

11/6, 8:15 PM ambitious, tuneful trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson leads a sextet with Immanuel Wilkins ontenor at the Jazz Gallery, $15. They’re back here on 11/29

11/6, 10:30 PM charismatic, adventurous postbop/avant garde trombonist/crooner Frank Lacy leads his sextet at at Smalls . They’re also here on 11/20

11/7. noon latin drum maven Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Ache outdoors at 2 Gateway Plaza at NJPAC in Newark, free

11/7, 1 PM  eclectic, paradigm-shifting B3 jazz organist Brian Charette at St. Peter’s Church, 54th/Lex

11/7, 7 PM the Publiquartet play works by innovative steel pan composer Andy Akiho, feat. the composer and Ian Rosenbaum on percussion at National Sawdust, $30 adv tix rec

11/7, 7 PM the Mivos Quartetplay Stefano Gervasoni: Clamour (NY premiere); Simone Movio: Zahir Ia (NY premiere commission); Zosha Di Castri: String Quartet no. 1; and works by Ivan Fedele at the Italian Academy at Columbia, 1161 Amsterdam Ave south of 118th, free

11/7, 7 PM the hard-swing, retro Young Lions Jazz Orchestra led by composer/conductor Kira Daglio Fine at Shapeshifter Lab, $10 

11/7, 7:30 PM catchy oldschool roots reggae with a fearlessly populist Senegalese feel from Meta & the Cornerstones at the Poisson Rouge, $12 adv tix rwedc

11/7-8, 7:30 PM, repeating on 11/9 at 8 the NY Philharmonic play Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony plus two works by Schubert: his youthful Fifth Symphony and a “joyous, charming mini-cantata,” featuring Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill and soprano Miah Persson at Avery Fisher Hall, $34 tix avail

11/7, 7:30 PM perennially edgy, relevant pianist Myra Melford’s lush, enigmatic Snowy Egret ensemble at Dizzy’s Club, $30

11/7, 7:30 PM edgy, eclectic pan-Mediterranean art-rock/latin/chanson ensemble Banda Magda   at Bric Arts, free w/rsvp 

11/7, 8 PM klezmer clarinet/mandolin wizard Andy Statman at Barbes, $10

]11/7, 8 PM Dervisi feat. guitar god Steve Antonakos play “exotic Greek gangsta blues”  at Troost

11/7-8, 8 PM Mahan Esfahani plays two harpsichord recitals from J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier at the Miller Theatre, $30 tix avail

11/7, 8 PM violinists Laurra Pereira and Sara Salomon play works by Grieg, Lutoslawski, Stravinsky & Poulenc at the New School’s Steifel Hall, 4th Fl, 55 W 13th St, free

11/8. 7 PM intriguing songwriter Ella Dawn Jenkins, aka EllaHarp – a concert harpist who sings and plays stark, rustic original fingerstyle blues and Gaelic-influenced songs – at the Bitter End, $10 

11/8, 7:30 PM Anthony Arnove – Howard Zinn’s collaborator for the Voices of a People’s History of the United States anthology emcees a night of Zinn-inspired readings and music from amazing Punjabi soul crooner Zeshan B with actors Brian Jones, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Okieriete Onaodowan, Eisa Davis, Wallace Shawn, Staceyann Chin, Leta Renée-Alan, at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/8, 7:30/9:30 PM mighty latin big band jazz: saxophonist Felipe Salles‘ 22-piece Interconnections Ensemble play his works The Lullaby Project at the Jazz Gallery, $15

11/8, 7:30 PM southern gothic banjo player Amythyst Kiah at Symphony Space $30/$20 30 and under

11/8 7:30 PM daunting postbop technique and dynamic tunesmithing from saxophonist Carl Bartlett Jr,  leading his quartet at Smalls

11/8, 8 PM legends from the zeros: singer/guitarist Genie Morrow’s super-catchy, erudite powerpop band Sputnik at Hank’s, $8

11/8, 8 PM plush, balmy, oldtimey uke swing band Daria Grace & the Pre-War Ponies followed by busker legends the Xylopholks in their furry suits at Barbes

11/8, 8 PM nuanced, fearlessly populist Malagasy chanteuse Razia Said at Shrine

11/8, 8:30 PM fearlessly political New York postbop improv magic: noir inspired multi-sax legend Roy Nathanson and pianist Arturo O’Farrill at Bar Lunatico

11/8, 9 PM cutting-edge conversational improvisation: Steve Swell – trombone; Robert Boston – elec.piano; Thomas Helton – bass; Michael Evans – drums at the old Nublu

11/8, 10 PM pyrotechnic clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski’s ferociously kinetic NY Gypsy All-Stars at at the third stage at the Rockwood, $12

11/9, 7/9:30 PM amazing Chicago blues guitarist and organist Lucky Peterson & the Organization featuring soul singer Tamara Tremell at Birdland, $20 at the bar

11/9-10, 7:30/9:30 PM iconic microtonal saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh plays four sets with four different players on retuned microtonal piano: Kris Davis, Peter Apfelbaum, Diane Moser and Tyshawn Sorey at the Jazz Gallery, $25. Could be the NYC jazz event of the year. 

11/9, 8 PM playfully lyrical, fearlessly political superduo Kill Henry Sugar – guitar/banjo mastermind Erik Della Penna and drummer Dean Sharenow – at Barbes

11/9, 8 PM the noirish, cinematic American Modern Ensemble play new works by Robert Paterson, Jonathan Posthuma, Joseph Rebman, Ari Sussman and others at Subculture, $20

11/9, 8 PM Music from China play new works for traditional and western instruments by Zhou Tian, Zhou Long, Yang Yong, Wang Amao and Wang Guowei at  Symphony Space, $18

11/9, 8 PM the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra play Rachmaninoff’s  Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tschaikovsky;’s Pathetique Symphony at Symphony Space, $25

11/9, 8 PM pensive, lyrical, minimalistically psychedelic neosoul with Kadhja Bonet backed by a live band and choir at National Sawdust, $22 adv tix rec, 

 11/9, 8:30 PM intense, soaring harmonium player/singer Elana Low – a more organic, trancey version of Marissa Nadler, maybe –  at Sidewalk

11/9-10, 8:30 PM wryly psychedelic cinematic Italophile instrumentalists Tredici Bacci at the Stone at the New School, $20

11/9, 9 PM the Jack Quartet play “a New York premiere by Portuguese composer Andreia Pinto Correia inspired by Hart Crane’s poem “The Bridge,” launches this evening of music drawn from the last 50 years of string quartet repertoire. Sabrina Schroeder’s elusive Slip Trains, comprised largely of harmonic tones and glissandi, precedes the skittering, jagged figures and eerie, time-stopping allure of Zosha di Castri’s first string quartet. Finally, György Ligeti’s second string quartet” at the 92nd St. Y, $25

11/9, 9ish colorful, Bowie-esque female-fronted glamrockers the Manimals at Hank’s

11/9, 9 PM Brandi & the Alexanders play oldschool-style soul ballads at the small room at the Rockwood

11/9, 9 PM alto saxophonist Alison Shearer and her edgy, cinematic soul/groove/funk band at Radegast Hall. They’re also here on the 26th 

11/9, 9:30 PM psychedelic art-rockers Swarmius play from their magic realist opera El Colibrí Magicó (The Magic Hummingbird) – A California Story, set in modern day San Diego & Tijuana, “an explosive cultural confrontation between protagonists of the contemporary US/Mexican border: coyotes, border guards, refugees, vigilantes, in violence and transcendence, with mystical intervention from living spirits of the pre-Columbian past” at the Cutting Room, $20

11/9-10, 10:30 PM tuneful, epically-inspired postbop jazz quintet the Flail at Smalls

11/10, 1 PM dazzlingly eclectic chamber pop/latin/classical violinist Concetta Abbate and drummer Ben Engel at Flowers for all Occasions, 1114 De Kalb Ave at Broadway, Bushwick, J/M to Kosciuszko St.

11/10, 4 PM the Erik Satie Quartet – Ron Hay (trombone), Max Seigel (bass trombone), Ben Holmes (trumpet), and Andrew Hadro (bari sax) –reinvent classic and obscure Satie chamber pieces as well as rare compositions by his obscure contemporaries, followed at 6 by klezmer-jazz piano icon Anthony Coleman at by poignant, eclectic, lyrical jazz bassist/composer Pedro Giraudo leading his Tango Quartet, and at 10 by hard-hitting, brass-fueled newschool latin soul/boogaloo dance band Spanglish Fly at Barbes

11/10, 5 PM wildly diverse violinist Skye Steele leads his band playing “A People’s History of the Violin: at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, $15

11/10, 7 PM the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra play film music by Benjamin Wallfisch, Waxman, Rota, and Rózsa at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, $20 tix avail

11/10, 7:30 PM low-register reed connoisseur Josh Sinton leads his Predicate Trio with cellist Chris Hoffman and drummer Tom Rainey, followed by alto/tenor saxophonist & bass clarinetist Avram Fefer leading a trio with bassist Sean Conly and drummer Michael Wimberly at Greenwich House Music School., $15/$12 stud/srs

11/10, 7:30 PM the Dover String Quartet play works by Dvorak, Porat and Beethoven at Irving Auditorium, Irving Pl/17th St., $16

11/10 7:30 PM Swedish pianist Per Tengstrand and ensemble play works by Schubert and Beethoven at Scanadinavia House, $25. They’re back here on 11/29.

11/10, 8 PM hilariously epic all-female Japanese metal band Necronomidol headline this year’s Asian music Festival at Trans-Pecos, $20. Darkly torchy southwestern gothic/Europolitan songwriter/guitarist Miwa Gemini plays at around 4 

11/10, 8 PM revisit the glory days of something approximating working class  power with the NYC Labor Chorus at the People’s Voice Cafe, sugg don, $20, “more if you choose; less if you can’t; no one turned away.”  

11/10, 8 PM Dutch early music choir Cappella Pratensis sing works by Josquin des Pres and those whom he influenced (and those who stole from him) at Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 145 W 46th St,  $30 tix avail

11/10, 8 PM hilarious female-fronted AC/DC cover band Big Balls, the similarly hilarious, smartly political faux-French retro 60s psych-pop band les Sans Culottes and wickedly catchy Americana/paisley underground rockers Girls on Grass at Freddy’s

11/10, 8 PM eclectic Mediterranean/tango/Romany band Dodo Orchestra at Club Bonafide, , $20

11/10, 8 PM  haunting, Lynchian songstress Ajda the Turkish Queen with her band followed by wryly surreal noir parlor pop duo the Dream Eaters at Pete’s

11/10, 9 PM Lizzie & the Makers at the small room at the Rockwood. Snarling twin-guitar psychedelic rockers steeped in oldschool soul and blues, backing one of the most powerful, riveting singers on the planet. DAMN, can this woman wail.

11/10, 10 PM this woman can wail too – and write the most excoriatingly brilliant lyrics of any songwriter in town. Hannah Fairchild with her ferocious noir cabaret/punk trio Hannah vs. the Many at the Way Station

11/11, 2 PM the Oratorio Society of NY play Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, plus conductor Kent Tritle leads the 200-voice chorus, soloists, and orchestra in Górecki’s Euntes ibant et flebant followed by Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, $25 tix avail

11/11, 3 PM Nanci Belmont, bassoon; Yumi Oshima, viola; Elizabeth Dorman, pianoplay works by Gubaidulina, Hersant, Saint-Saens and Spisak at Concerts on the Slope, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 139 St. John’s Place downhill from 7th Ave, sugg don

11/11, 4 PM a Joan Tower 80th bday celebration with works by Tower, Jennifer Higdon, Tania Leon and Julia Wolfe – Cha for saxophone quartet played by the PRISM Quartet. Jasper Quartet, Lysander Trio Cassatt Quartet and the ageless Ursula Oppens on piano at National Sawdust, $30 adv tix rec

11/11, 4 PM up-and-coming early music ensemble Juilliard415  with Alfredo Bernardini play music by Vivaldi, his friends and enemies at Corpus Christi Church, 529 W 121St St, $10 tix avail  

11/11, 7 PM in reverse order: the punkmetal Municipal Waste, the more hardcore Toxic Holocaust and the excellently tuneful, ornate, Iron Maiden-ish Haunt at Warsaw, $22 adv tix rec

11/11, 7 PM amazing acoustic blues guitar virtuoso Terry Robb – who can do oldtime ragtimey stuff as well as his own edgy new material – at the third stage at the Rockwood, $15

11/11, 8 PM the Royal Arctic Institute – who veer between surfy rock instrumentals and darker, quieter, more noir and jazz-tinged themes – at Bowery Electric, $10

11/11, 8 PM the ageless Richard Thompson – who may be the greatest rock songwriter AND best rock guitarist ever – and his electric trio at the Town Hall, $35 tix avail

11/11, 8:30 PM C&W wildman Zane Campbell – who arguably invented what would become alt-country back in the 80s – followed by  sizzling electric bluegrass and C&W with Demolition String Band at the Treehouse at 2A

11/11, 9 PM lush, dynamic female-fronted art-rockers Arc Iris play the album release show for their new one at Rough Trade, $12

11/12, 7 PM Argentine pianist Agustin Muriago performs Spanish music including works by Albéniz, Granados, Falla, Mompou, and Halffter, plus Spanish-inspired material by Debussy, Chabrier, Lecuona, and Moszkowski at the Yamaha Piano Salon, 689 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Fl, free admission – RSVP required

11/12, 8/10:30 PM classy, cinematic NZ jazz pianist Alan Broadbent leads a trio at Mezzrow, $20

11/12, 9:30 PM the NYC Gaita Club – a Bulla en el Barrio spinoff – play rustically pounding Afro-Colombian trance-dance music at Barbes

11/13, 6 PM haunting Turkish folk crooner Ahmet Erdogdular and his Ensemble at St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia, 116th/Amsterdam, free

11/13, 7 PM rapturous Afro-Peruvian/classical pianist/singer Chi-Chi Glass followed by clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Barbes

11/13, 7 PM the Argus Quartet play works by Haydn, Juri Seo, Christopher Theofadinis, Ted Hearne and Leos Janacek’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters” at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, $25

11/13, 8:30ish stark southwestern gothic jangle and clang with And the Wiremen at Troost

11/13-17, 8:30 PM unstoppably edgy, deservedly iconic, fearlessly political downtown guitarist Marc Ribot plays mostly solo at the Stone at the New School, $20

11/13, 9:15 PM the darkly eclectic, enigmatic Lorraine Leckie  – equally adept at Slavic and Americana noir, psychedelia and dark cabaret –  at the big room at the Rockwood, $10

11/13, 9:30 PM the Bronx Conexion play their mighty salsa big band jazz at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe

11/14, 6 PM Indian santoorist Vinay Desai at the  Rubin Museum of Art, free w/museum adm

11/14-17, 7:30 PM adventurous indie classical string quartet Ethel play an original, phantasmagorical score inspired by the now-shuttered Ringling Bros/Barnum & Bailey Circus at BAM, $25

11/14, 8 PM the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens joined by her sister Lalenja Harrington on spoken word and vocals, plus tap artist Robyn Watson, “paying homage to Nina Simone, Fanny Lou Hamer, Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Waters, and more women of color who have made contributions to our musical canon” at Symphony Space, $30 adv tix avail for  age 30 and under

11/14, 8 PM the Glissandos –  Marius Pibarot ( of Collectif Medz Bazar) and Duncan Wickel – play oldtime Americana with fiddle and cello at Barbes

11/14, 8:30 PM the SR9 Trio play music of Borodin, de Falla, Bartok, Caron Darras and more at Greenwich House Music School, free

11/4, 8:30 PM wickedly catchy parlor pop and klezmer-inspired art-rock songwriter Sharon Goldman at the third stage at the Rockwood $10

11/14, 9 PM dynamic, subtle all-female klezmer band Tsibele and the excoriatingly lyrical, fearlessly anti-fascist Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird  at Littlefield, $20

11/14, 9 PM enigmatic, pensively tuneful rainy-day indie folk with Tara Jane O’Neil at Secret Project Robot, $10

11/14, 9:30 PM edgy Middle Eastern-inspired alto saxophonist Uri Gurvich with pianist Leo Genovese, bassist Edward Perez, and drummer Francisco Mela at Dizzy’s Club, $30

11/15, 6 PM soaringly tuneful pan-Asian violinist Meg Okura goes slumming at Silvana

11/15, 6 PM the Alexander String Quartet & special guests play works by Brahms, Kreisler, Gershwin and others at the Baruch College auditorium, free, rsvp req 

11/15, 7 PM perennially tuneful, lyrical piano improviser/composer Kris Davis  leads a trio with David Leon – saxophone; Tomas Fujiwara – drums at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, $10. They’re at the Jazz Gallery on 11/20 with sets at 7:30/9:30 PM for five bucks more

11/15, 7:30 PM haunting Elliott Smith-esque rockers No-No Boy play their song cycle about Japanese Americans in US prison camps during WWII at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/15, 7;30/9:30 PM pianist Gabriel Zucker leads a killer quartet with Adam O’Farrill – trumpet; Eric Trudel – saxophone; Tyshawn Sorey – drums at the Jazz Gallery, $15

11/15, 8 PM an all-Du Yun concert featuring the charismatic singer/composer with International Contemporary Ensemble at the Miller Theatre, $20 tix avail

11/15, 8 PM crystalline-voiced noir Americana songwriter Jessie Kilguss   at Hank’s $8

11/15, 8 PM experimental Scottish bagpipe improviser David Watson at the Old Stone House in Park Slope, $10

11/15, 8 PM the Toomai String Quintet  with special guest vocalist Miss Yaya play tangos and classic works by pan-latin composers followed at 10 by Quatre Vingt Neuf (French for 89, a revolutionary date in case you missed it) playing New Orleans brass music at Barbes

11/13, 8:30 PM Dervisi feat. guitar god Steve Antonakos play “exotic Greek gangsta blues” at Espresso 77, 35-57 77th Street (just off of 37th Ave), Jackson Heights

11/16, 7 PM “an eye-popping cast of celebrated performers gathers together to highlight and celebrate the extraordinary songwriting talents of Coney Island native Carol Lipnik for this one night only special event.” She’s best known as NYC’s best singer, with an eye-popping four-octave range, but she’s also a darkly brilliant art-rock songwriter. “Confirmed performers include the iconic downtown performance artist John Kelly; celebrated monologist and playwright David Cale; opera diva Lauren Flanigan; charismatic accordionist/chanteuse Rachelle Garniez and bright new star on the downtown scene, Silver Wallace.” at Joe’s Pub, $20

11/16, 7 PM high-voltage avant garde cellist Jeffrey Ziegler plays an electroacoustic show with music inspired by famous figures in science, including Foday Musa Suso’s piece about George Washington Carver; Felipe Pérez Santiago saluting astronomer Jill Tarter; Maja Ratkje’s homage to chemist Signe Kjelstrup; Sarah Lipstate’s salute to Marie Curie; Paola Prestini’s work inspired by climatologist Andrew Kruczkiewicz plus pieces by Graham Reynolds at National Sawdust, $30 adv tix rec

11/16, 7:30 PM hauntingly tuneful, propulsive Lebanese jazz pianist Tarek Yamani at Aaron Davis Hall, $25. This guy is amazing. 

11/16, 7:30 PM the Choir of Trinity Wall Street sing Rachmaninoff’s haunting All-Night Vigil, a at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown, free. They slayed with this last year.

11/16, 7:30 PM the Ukrainian Village Voices sing haunting, ancient choral music at the Ukrainian Museum, 222 East 6th St,$15/$10 stud/srs

11/16, 7:30 PM new works for string quartet by Valerie Coleman, Jeff Myers, Lawrence Kramer, and Matthew Welch. performed by Quartet Metadata: Lynn Bechtold and Hajnal Pivnick, violins; Carrie Frey, viola; and Jisoo Ok, cello at the 12th floor lounge of Fordham’s Lowenstein Buiding, corner of 60th St. and Columbus Ave, free.

11/16. 8 PM the Tana Quartet play new works for string quartet by Bun Ching Lam,  Voro Garcia, Raphael Cendo, Edwin Hillier, & Yann Robin at Roulette, $20

11/16, 8 PM pianist Jasna Popovic and violinist Kinga Augustin play a program of originals tba at the DiMenna Center, $15

11/16, 8 PM recently revitalized, careeningly explosive ten-piece Balkan brass crew Veveritse at Shrine

11/16-17, 8/10:30 PM tuneful latin jazz pianist Donald Vega leads a trio at Mezzrow, $20 at the bar

11/16, 7:30 PM the Dominican “unicornio de la bachata,” Andre Veloz at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/16, 7:30/9:30 PM ethereal vibraphonist Chris Dingman solo at the Jazz Gallery, $20

 11/16, 8 PM rustic Brazilian jungle guitar-and-accordion sounds with Regional de NY at Barbes

11/16, 9 PM haunting Boston guitar mastermind Thalia Zedek (leader of the late, great Come) at Union Pool, $15

11/16, 10 PM Brooklyn’s hilarious counterpart to Spinal Tap, stoner metal parodists Mighty High at Hank’s, $10

11/16, 10:30 PM Greg Lewis’ brilliant, fearlessly political Organ Monk Trio  at the Fat Cat

11/16, 1 AM (actually wee hours of 11/17)this era’s most intensely powerful tenor saxophonist/composer, JD Allen  leads the jam at Smalls

11/17, 5 PM one of NYC’s great voices in folk noir, Liz Tormes followed at 6 by parlor pop pioneer Alice Bierhorst at Pete’s

11/17, 6 PM klezmer-jazz piano icon Anthony Coleman followed at 8 by intense Balkan chanteuse Jenny Luna‘s haunting, slinky, oud-driven Turkish band Dolunay and then at 10 by psychedelic salsa bandleader Zemog El Galle Bueno at Barbes

11/17, 7:30 PM pianist David Witten plays music of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco at the Italian Academy at Columbia, 1161 Amsterdam Ave south of 118th, free

11/17, 7:30 PM the Chamber Music Society of  Lincoln Center play piano trios by Beethoven, Kodaly and Dvorak at Irving Auditorium, Irving Pl/17th St., $16

11/17, 7:30 PM Balkan accordion paradigm-shifter Merima Kljuco and guitarist Miroslav Tadic play traditional Balkan and classical styles plus original works and arrangements by Erik Satie, Manuel de Falla, and “the mournful music of sevdah—sometimes called ‘Bosnian blues,'” at Symphony Space, $30

11/17, 7:30/9:30 PM this era’s most intensely powerful tenor saxophonist/composer, JD Allen and Group at the Jazz Gallery, $25

11/17, 7:30 PM Four Corners Ensemble – Siyuan Li, Joshua Anderson, Merryl Neille, and Jinn Shin – play premieres of flute concerto “Quongqothwane,” based on South African “Click Song;” clarinet concerto “American Variations,” on an original theme in various American music styles; piano concerto “Canton Snowstorm,” an imagination of a heavy snowstorm in the warmest place in China; and cello concerto “Matilda’s Dream,” a fantasy based on Australian folk song “Waltzing Matilda,” at Arete Gallery, $15

11/17, 8 PM terse, purposeful rising star postbop saxophonist Melissa Aldana  leads her quartet at the Miller Theatre, $20 tix avail

11/17, 8 PM Glenda Del E and the brilliant Ariacne Trujillo (formerly with Pedrito Martinez’s band) reimagine and interpret legendary Cuba pianist Valdés’ music at Drom, $15

11/17, 8 PM pianist Ivan Gusev plays works by  Scarlatti, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Debussy, and Mussorgsky at Weill hall at Carnegie Hall, $20 seats avail

11/17, 9 PM dusky, uneasily jangy, catchy Laurel Canyon psychedelic band the Allah-Las at Pioneer Works, $10

11/17, 9:30 PM elegant, sharply lyrical parlor pop stylist Heather Eatman with her band at Freddy’s

11/18, 2 PM terse, tuneful jazz guitarist Amanda Monaco and her quartet at Flushing Town Hall, $5

11/18, 6 PM NYC’s own rippling, hypnotic, epic Balinese gamelan, Gamelan Dharma Swara at the Fat Cat

11/18, 7 PM sharply lyrical southwestern gothic/Americana songwriter Tom Shaner at LIC Bar

11/18, 7 PM edgy Middle Eastern-tinged cellist Rufus Cappodocia solo at Barbes

11/18, 7:30 PM noir-inspired alto saxophonist/composer Nick Hempton leads his combo at Smalls

11/18. 8 PM cult favorite gonzo pianist Dred Scott leads his trio at Mezzrow, $20

11/18, 8 PM edgy lefty lead guitarist Damian Quinones and his psychedelic latin soul band at Bar Chord

11/18. 8 PM “composer/saxophonist Ross Feller and choreographer/performer Kora Radella present an evening of new work which includes world premiere compositions played by the violin duo String Noise, pianist Adam Tendler, and a saxophone quartet comprised of Johnny Butler, Caroline Davis, Matt Nelson, and Feller. In the same evening of performance, the NYC premieres of the solo Sequinza, danced by Tim Bendernagel, will be met full-force by the duet Force Majeure performed by Pauline Kim Harris of String Noise,” at Roulette, $18 

11/18, 10 PM the Zebulonites play roots reggae at Shrine

11/19 7 PM day one of the Czech PAF Festival at Pioneer Works with the somber minimalism of Slowmotiondancer – Prague-based artist and producer Dominik Gajarský – Jakub Jansa’s cynical, dystopic multimedia production Club of Opportunities and Ink Midget & Isama Zing: Prelude for light and fog,  an audiovisual composition written for eight fog machines and four strobe lights, free w/rsvp 

11/19, 7;30  PM intense alto saxophonist Lucas Pino’s twin-guitar No No Nonet  plays the album release show for his new one at Smalls

11/19. 7:30 PM pianist Sergei Dreznin plays works by Mozart ,Prokofiev, Chopin, Gershwin and others at the Austrian Cultural Center, 11 E 52nd St., free, rsvp req 

11/19 9 PM unpredictably fun, funny psychedelic art-rock band the Academy Blues Project  followed at 10 by darkly torchy southwestern gothic/Europolitan songwriter/guitarist Miwa Gemini at LIC Bar

11/19, 9 PM legendary dual-reedman George Braith – who can play two saxes at once better than most guys can play one – leads his quartet at the Fat Cat

11/19, 9:30 PM ex-Chicha Libre keyboard sorcerer Josh Camp’s wryly psychedelic cumbia/tropicalia/dub band Locobeach at Barbes

11/20, drinks at 5:30 PM, show at 6, flutist Isabel Lepanto Gleicher and ensemble plays works by Hildegard Von Bingen, David Lang, Rzewski and others at the Miller Theatre, free

11/20, 7 PM haunting allster Balkan band Loza featuring Vedran Boshkovski, Adam Good, Seido Salifoski and the great Corinna Snyder on vocals followed byclever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Barbes

11/20, 7:30 PM magically lilting Canary Islands singer Olga Cerpa and her six-piece band at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/20, 7:30 PM the Mannes Orchestra play Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Something for the Dark, Julius Eastman’s Symphony No. 2 (with Luciano Chessa, conductor) and Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Symphony No. 3 at Alice Tully Hall, free, tix avail now

11/20-21, 8 PM bassists Zach Rowdens, Sean Ali, Britton Powell, Greg Chudzik, Nick Dunston, and Vinicius Ciccone Cajado comprise “the largest and loudest ensemble yet, involving six bassists,” performing Leila Bordreuil’s darkly melancholy, ostensibly scathing Piece for Cello and Double Bass Ensemble II, with opening acts by Charmaine Lee on 11/20 and Dylan Scheer on 11/21 at the Kitchen, $15

11/20, 8 PM pianist Andrea Lucchesini plays works by Berio, Scarlatti and Schubert at the Italian Academy at Columbia, 1161 Amsterdam Ave south of 118th, free

11/20-25, 8:30/10:30 PM Jason Moran & the Bandwagon play the music of early Harlem Renaissance ragtime composer James Reese Europe at the Vanguard

11/20. 9 PM Rosie Moore plays solo harp at Arete Gallery, $15

11/20, 10:30 PM brilliant drummer/percussionist Willie Martinez & La Familia Sextet play classic salsa grooves at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, $10

11/20, 10 PM bass sax monster Stefen Zeniuk’s punk mambo crew the NY Fowl Harmonic  followed by the similarly punk Stumblebum Brass Band at Hank’s, $10

11/21, 7:30 PM, repeating 11/22-23 at 8 Emmanuelle Haïm leads the NY Philharmonic playing selections from Handel’s Water Music at Avery Fisher Hall, $34 tix avail

11/21, 8 PM Greek art-rock pianist/crooner Pericles Kanaris and his band at  Drom, $33 adv tix rec

11/23, 9 PM newschool roots reggae crooner Jesse Royal at the Knitting Factory, $20

11/23, 10 PM the world’s creepiest crime jazz/film noir band, Big Lazy at Barbes

11/24, 7:30 PM Glass Farm Ensemble  play an indie classical program titled “Memory & Silence” includingpremieres by Cesar Camarero, Yvonne Troxler and Ian Wilson at Symphony Space, $20

11/24, 8 PM  the haphazardly funny Eastern Blokhedz  – who do psychedelic covers of 60s Russian psychedelic pop songs and specialize in the catalog of legendary Polish singer Edita Piaha – followed at 10 by accordionist/sitarist Kamala Sankaram’s hot surfy Bollywood/cumbia/psychedelic rock project Bombay Rickey – a launching pad for her spellbinding four-octave voice – at Barbes

11/24, 8 PM singer Carolina Oliveros’ mighty 13-piece Afro-Colombian trance/dance choir Bulla en el Barrio; with special guest singer and composer, Darlina Zaenz (daughter of Eloísa Garcés Ladeus, frontwoman of legendary bullerengue group Palmeras de Uraba) at C’Mon Everybody, $10. They’re also at Barbes on 11/26 at 10ish

11/24, 8:30 PM a rare reunion of cult favorite Bay Area jazz group the Munchies with Dred Scott on piano and saxophonist Kenny Brooks at Bar Lunatico

11/24, 9 PM Caz Gardiner and her oldschool rocksteady/ska band at Silvana

11/24, 10 PM boisterously funny oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band  at Skinny Dennis

11/25, 2 PM Distinguished Concerts Orchestra play the 1959 Eugene Goossens orchestral arrangement of Handel’s Messiah at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, $20 tix avail

11/25, 4 PM indie classical allstar quintet Counterinduction  (Miranda Cuckson, violin; Jessica Meyer, viola; Karen Ouzounian, cello; Benjamin Fingland, clarinet; Ning Yu, piano) – play a program TBA at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library, free, no under-sixes.

11/25, 9 PM atmospheric, cinematic drummer/composer Tim Kuhl – sort of a more straightforwardly trippy version of John Hollenbeck – and band play the album release show for their new one at Union Pool, $12

11/25, 9:30 PM Blythe Gruda sings her enigmatic art-rock and parlor pop  at Pete’s

11/26, 7:30 PM feral female-fronted psychedelic cumbia/Afrobeat allstars Combo Chimbita  at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/26, 9 PM darkly psychedelic circus punks Yula & the Extended Family followed by darkly torchy southwestern gothic/Europolitan songwriter/guitarist Miwa Gemini  at LIC Bar

11/26, 9 PM fiery jazz oudist/guitarist Gordon Grdina with Oscar Noriega (alto sax/clarinets); Russ Lossing (piano); Michael Sarin (drums) at the old Nublu

11/27, 7:30 PM the Microscopic Septet co-founder and soprano  sax player Phillip Johnston & the Silent Six at Smalls

11/27, 8 PM powerhouse saxophonists Anna Webber and Angela Morris join forces with their Webber/Morris Big Band playing adventurous 18-piece big band jazz at Roulette, $18

11/27, 8/10:30 PM wow – rapturously eclectic jazz chanteuse Marianne Solivan leads a trio with Leandro Pellegrino (guitar), JD Allen (tenor sax) at Mezzrow, $20

11/27, 9 PM elegant, lyrical, wildly eclectic oldtimey jazz/New England Americana songwriter Caroline Cotter at the small room at the Rockwood

11/28, 6 PM rising star sitarist Anjana Roy with tabla player Polash Gomes at the  Rubin Museum of Art, free w/museum adm

11/28, 7 PM ethereal, raptly haunting singer Sara Serpa delivers a world premiere TBA  at National Sawdust, $25

11/28, 8 PM elegantly angst-fueled, individualistic torchsong/parlor pop piano chanteuse Jeanne Marie Boes at LIC Bar

11/28. 8 PM ambient electroacoustic composer Julia Santoli‘s multimedia, theatrical Siren Sore at Issue Project Room, sug don 

11/28. 8 PM the DaCapo Chamber Players celebrate 20 years of cutting-edge music with works by Musgrave, Harbison and Tower at Merkin Concert Hall, $20

11/28-12/1, 8:30 PM lyrical pianist Angelica Sanchez leads a series of ensembles at the Stone at the New School. Choice pick: 11/29 a duo with  Pheeroan Aklaff (drums)

11/28, 10:30 PM ambitious, smart, noir-inclined tenor saxophonist Patrick Cornelius  leads a n octet at Smallls

11/29, 7:30 PM Time for Three mash up Americana, indie classical and improvisation at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/29, 7:30 PM the guitar duo of Anders Nilsson & Aaron Dugan followed by Nick Millevoi’s Desertion Trio playing their twisted spaghetti western jazz at Greenwich House Music School,. $15/$12 stud/srs

11/29, 7:30 PM the NY Philharmonic play Britten’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s ferocious antiwar Symphony No 7 at Avery Fisher Hall, $30 tix avail

11/29, 7:30 PM intense, pyrotechnic saxophonist Chet Doxas leads his quartet at Smalls

11/29, 7:30 PMmulti-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman’s popular western swing band Brain Cloud at Symphony Space, $30/$20 under 30

11/29 ,7:30 PM Jeff Gavett, baritone and Red Wierenga, piano play a Wolfgang Mitterer world premiere at the Austrian Cultural Center, 11 E 52nd St;, free, rsvp req. 

11/29, 8 PM astonishingly prolific and acerbic guitarist Mary​ ​Halvorson playas solo at Russ & Daughters Cafe, 127 Orchard St, free, wow

11/29, 8 PM Carlo Costa – the world’s most mysterious drummer – plays the album release show for his ghostly new one, Oblio at Jack, $tba

11/29, 8:30 PM haunting, enveloping Indian carnatic string ensemble Akshara at the Jalopy, $15

11/29. 8:30 PM haunting French-Tunisian saxophonist Yacine Boulares’ Ajoyo project with singer Sarah E. Charles at Bar Lunatico

 11/29-30, 8:30 PM slinky, oud-fueled Middle Eastern/Nile Delta dance orchestra Alsarah & the Nubatones at C’Mon Everybody, $11

11/30, 7 PM epic, haunting, searingly lyrical art-rock songwriter and baritone crooner Spottiswoode and band play the album release for their new one at Joe’s Pub, $20

11/30, 7:30 PM pianist Tomer Gewirtzman plays works by Shostakovich, Beethoven, Medtner, Scriabin and Brahms at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, free, tix avail starting 6:30 PM day of show at the box ofc

11/30, 7 PM Talea Ensemble returns to Americas Society with two new works for chamber ensemble: a new electroacoustic piece by Canadian composer David Adamcyk and Kate Soper’ Voices from the Killing Jar for vocals and chamber ensemble at the Americas Society, free, rsvp req 

11/30, 8 PM the NJ Symphony Orchestra with Aaron DIehl on piano play works by Stravinsky, Florence Price, Milhaud and Gershwin at NJPAC in Newark, $20 tix avail

11/30, 8 PM the Nouveau Classical Project play music by Missy Mazzoli, Leaha Villareal, two new commissions by Emily Praetorius and William C. Mason at the Arete Gallery, $20/$15 stud

11/30, 8 PM Ensemble Signal play new Wolfgang Mitterer chamber works at St. Peter’s Church, 54th/Lex, free, rsvp req

11/30, 8 PM the Downtown Voices with Stephen Sands, conductor sing Estonian choral works at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown, free

11/30, 9 PM popular 90s powerpopstress Patti Rothberg at Sidewalk

11/30l 10 PM the intoxicatingly clattering, sintir bass lute fueled Moroccan trance grooves of Innov Gnawa at Barbes

12/2, 2:30 PM erhu player Feifei Yang leads her quartet playing a wild mix of 1930s Shanghai speakeasy tunes, coy classical and cheesy top 40 covers at Flushing Town Hall, $16/$10 stud free for 18 and under

12/4, drinks at 5:30 PM, show at 6, perennially interesting piano/percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire play works by Crumb, Saint-Saens and Tschaikovsky at the Miller Theatre, free

12/6, 6 PM klezmer violinist Jake Shulman-Ment with rippllng tsimbl (Ukrainian Jewish dulcimer) player Pete Rushefsky at Poe Park in the Bronx.

12/6, 10:30 PM long-running phantasmagorical art-rockers/circus punks Devotchka at the Manderley Bar, $27.50

12/8, 8 PM the Barnard-Columbia Chorus’ Holiday Concert with the Symphony of Psalms: Igor Stravinsky, Magnificat: J. S. Bach at Church of the Ascension, 221 W 107th St. 

12/9, 7 PM crystalline-voiced noir Americana songwriter Jessie Kilguss shares a short-set bill with a lot of cult-favorite talent: Dave Derby, Nathan Schram, badass cellist Patricia Santos, first-class Americana crooner Cliff Westfall at Mirror Tea House, 575 Union St., (3rd Ave/Nevins), Gowanus, free

12/12, 7:30 PM the amazing, haunting, otherworldly NY Andalus Ensemble – who play ancient Middle Eastern and North African Jewish sounds from as far back as a thousand years ago  –  at La Nacional, 239 W 14th St, $20/$16 stud/srs

12/15, 3 PM the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra play Marin Alsop’s Gospel Messiah (the Handel epic with an African-American gospel spin) at the United Palace Theatre, 4140 Broadway in Washington Hts, $15 tix avail  

12/21, 2 PM brilliant baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian‘s LSQ at Flushing Town Hall, free

Organist Gail Archer Reinvents a Horror Movie Classic and Unearths Rare Russian Gems

What’s more Halloweenish in 2018 than Russia? Not to invalidate anyone’s suffering, but compared to what Russians have had to deal with under Putin, this country’s had it relatively easy lately. And Russia doesn’t have this November 6 to look forward to.

Musically speaking, what could be more appropriate for this Wednesday’s holiday than a Russian organ music record? It doesn’t hurt that it’s played by one of this era’s most adventurous interpreters of the classical organ repertoire, Gail Archer. Her latest album A Russian Journey is streaming at Spotify.

While there isn’t as vast a tradition of music for the organ in Russia as there is further west, there was a boomlet of composers writing for the instrument beginning in the late 1800s. That’s the formative period Archer starts with, unearthing some majestically tuneful, frequently mysterious material that too seldom gets programmed beyond its home turf.

She gives Cesar Cui’s hypnotic, Asian-tinged Prelude in G Minor a relentless, artfully crescendoing interpretation. His Prelude in A Flat Major comes as a shocking contrast, a starry, steady, mysteriously rising piece with a sobering balance between lows and exuberantly voiced highs, maxing out the organ’s high reed stops. It’s a roller rink at Dr. Zhivago’s grave.

Likewise, Sergei Ljapunow’s enigmatically neoromantic Prelude Pastoral has both steadfastness and swirl, through shadowy counterpoint between the pedals and midrange, bittersweet glitter, and confidently calm exchanges of catchy, allusively carnivalesque riffage between registers. Clearly, this is Baba Yaga country he’s exploring here. Glazunov’s Prelude and Fugue in D Minor is steady, stately and somber, Archer maxing out the silken sheen of the upper registers again as she builds intensity through the hypnotic waltz of the fugue.

Contemporary composer Sergej Slominski’s Toccata has a brightly celebratory French flavor: the work of Eugene Gigout comes to mind. Archer strolls enigmatically through the opening bars of Alexander Schawersaschwili’s Prelude and Fugue, a dynamic piece with acidic sheets of sound, calmly marionettish phrasing and cinematically climbing variations, She winds up the album with a vigorous, epic, yet often remarkably subtle take of Zsigmond Szathmary’s organ arrangement of Moussorgsky’s classic Night on Bald Mountain, which in terms of sheer mystery outdoes most of the orchestral versions used in horror films for the better part of a century.  Rabid members of the organ music underground won’t be the only people who will relish making some new discoveries here.

A Dynamic, Relevant Grand Finale to This Year’s Momenta Festival

Over the past four years, the Momenta Festival has become one of New York’s most exciting annual events. Each member of the irrepressibly daring Momenta Quartet takes his or her turn programming a night. The festival usually ends on violinist Emilie-Anne Gendron’s birthday. This year’s grand finale, Friday night at the Tenri Institute, happened to be cellist Michael Haas’ birthday: he and the group celebrated by going starkly deep into a program centered around Bartok’s harrowing String Quartet No. 4.

. As he explained succinctly before the show, it’s a piece he’d been scheming to play ever since joining the ensemble five years ago.  As was the case last year, admission was free, and there was high-grade craft beer afterward, also courtesy of the hosts. What more could a concertgoer possibly want?

They opened with Eric Nathan’s diptych Four to One, from 2011. Interestingly, this was the only contemporary work on the bill. It set it the bar almost impossibly high for the rest of the evening, notwithstanding the iconic Bartok quartet immediately afterward. Right off the bat, it became a harried, relentless, microtonal rollercoaster ride, the group holding fast to the counterpoint amidst the storm. Violist Stephanie Griffin’s plaintive assertions were particularly striking, as was Gendron’s turn in the rather cruel spotlight over a menacing wash in the second part. Haas’ cello was also stark yet prominent: it’s not hard to see why he’d want to program this. It reminded a lot of Michael Hersch’s recent, troubling microtonal work.

The performance of the Bartok turned out to be one of the very best of many witnessed by this blog or its owner over the past couple of decades. The persistent sense of doom the quartet parsed with razorwire intensity had particular resonance in this post-2016 election era. Menacingly emphatic gestures leapt from the dark interweave of the first movement, danger drawing ever closer. The circle dance in the second was just as macabre, especially with the exchanges of voices between instruments. Haas’ plaintive cavatina, echoed incisively by violinist Alex Shiozaki, brought the longing and if-only atmosphere of the third to a peak: it was impossible not to think of Shostakovich being influenced by this when writing his String Quartet No. 7. Both the savagery and after-the-battle emotional depletion of the final movement were just as indelible a reminder of the perilous consequences of fascism. The more things change…

Augmented by the Argus Quartet – violinists Jason Issokson and Clara Kim, cellist Joann Whang and guest violist Rose Hashimoto – the Momentas wound up the program with a triumphantly anthemic take of Enescu’s Octet for Strings in C Major. The young composer wrote it at nineteen in a rather successful attempt to outdo Mendelssohn at teenage octetry. The main theme has a suspenseful Andalucian feel, which grew to echo the Ravel bolero in places: together, the group reveled in the dramatic foreshadowing, even if it grew facile in places. A more mature composer might have written it half as long, but even so, when the synopsis of the final movement finally circled back, there was no denying how much of a party this merry band had brought.

The Momenta Quartet are currently on tour: their next gig is tomorrow night, Oct 24 at 7:30 PM playing works by Agustin Fernandez, Roberto Sierra, Eric Nathan, and Philip Glass at Santa Teresa Church in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The Argus Quartet’s next New York show is on Nov 13 at 7:30 PM at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, playing an excellent, diverse program including Janacek’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters,” along with works by Haydn, Ted Hearne, Juri Seo and Christopher Theofanidis. Cover is $25/$15 stud.

Classical Accordionist Hanzhi Wang Brings Darkly Dynamic New Nordic Compositions to Carnegie Hall

Hanzhi Wang isn’t the first accordionist to specialize in new classical music, but she is the first-ever squeezebox player to earn inclusion on the Young Concert Artists roster. Even though more composers these days are writing for the accordion, that’s still a pretty big deal. Wang has a magically dynamic album of concise new works by Nordic composers, On the Path to H.C. Andersen, streaming at Spotify. She’s making her Carnegie Hall debut on Oct 22 at 8:30 PM in Zankel Hall, where she’ll be joined by the Zorá String Quartet, playing works by Bach, Gubaidulina, Moszkowski, Piazzolla and Martin Lohse. You can get in for as little as $10. Along with this past summer’s Bryant Park Accordion Festival – and maybe Golden Fest, which always has plenty of accordion music – this is THE big accordion event of the year in New York.

The first composition is Lohse‘s Menuetto, a steady, Philip Glass-ine, austerely waltzing theme punctuated by airy, rather still interludes, growing more uneasy as its distantly baroque-tinged, cell-like variations rise and then recede.

Lohse’s triptych Passing begins with a similarly circling if almost marionettishly pulsing allegro section. The steady, moonlit waltz that follows is deliciously ominous; the concluding variation is 180 degrees the opposite until that same resonance is artfully interpolated amidst the starry, flitting optimism. Wang’s precision, all the way through a persistent strobe effect, is striking.

A final Lohse piece, The Little Match Girl begins with sparse, Ligeti-esque syncopation and expands from there: the central theme reminds of the old English folk tune Scarborough Fair. Wang has gone on record as having a close personal connection to its persistent melancholy since it reminds her of her first solitary days and weeks as a Chinese accordion student abroad for the first time in Denmark.

She negotiates the twisted turns and sudden bursts of Jabberwocky, by Jesper Koch with carnivalesque vigor and finesse. The creepiest number here is Tears, by Bent Lorentzen, building to from ethereal suspense to phantasmagorical Flight of the Bumblebee clusters, murky low atmospherics and poltergeist accents bursting in from the shadows.

Wang concludes the album with Svend Aaquist’s practically fifteen-minute Saga Night, which quickly becomes a dissociatively eerie, rhythmically challenging fugue. A heroic theme is alluded to but never hit head-on; then a variation on the opening quasi-fugue makes an enigmatic return. In a way, it’s practically a synopsis of the album as a whole. While some of these pieces could conceivably be played on organ or by a string ensemble, nothing beats the plaintive lusciousness of Wang’s instrument of choice.

For the sake of continuity, let’s count this as this month’s daily Halloween album, shall we? Most of it is on the dark and brooding side, anyway…

Drifting Through Dystopia and the Classics with Max Richter

This past evening at the Town Hall, pianist/composer Max Richter joined forces with a string quintet subset of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble for a night of elegiacally enveloping, meticulously unfolding themes contemplating the apocalypse and the aftershock of a deadly terrorist attack. To careful listeners, the often hypnotically circling performance was also a guided tour of Richter’s big influences.

The paradigm for composing film music these days is akin to a mathematical proof in reverse, to start from simplest terms and build steadily from there toward whatever drama the script calls for. The sighing two-note riff that Angelo Badalamenti employed to open the Twin Peaks title theme is probably the most effective example. Richter is one of the great masters of that craft, a minimalist who can get maximal if the director needs it.

This was a night of generally very dark music, enhanced by the two cellos – ensemble leader Clarice Jensen and Paul Wianco – alongside violinists Laura Lutzke and Yuki Numata Resnick, and violist Caleb Burhans. The program paired a sonata of sorts, Richter’s 2008 work Infra – arguably the least kinetic ballet score ever written – with theme music from the dystopic sci-fi tv series The Leftovers

The former, a dynamic and often very still piece written to commemorate the July 7, 2005 London tube bombings mashed up Philip Glass and Brian Eno (with a few nods to a Schubert piano trio). The Leftovers score reinvented Bach and also referenced night-sky Beethoven – although the most egregiously clever quote was lifted verbatim from Cesar Franck.

Other than a dissociatively hammering, very effective interlude in the early part of Infra, any third-year piano student could have played Richter’s slow, steady, methodical variations on simple major and minor arpeggios. The brilliance was how judiciously he pieced accidentals into the fabric, from ultraviolet gleam to pitchblende finality. He occasionally switched to electric piano in the music’s starriest moments, particularly during the second half when he used a setting very close to the phantasmic tinkle of a toy piano.

The strings wove Richter’s rises and falls through increasingly complex, Renaissance-inflected counterpoint with similar dexterity. The high point of the night may have been in the early part of Infra, distant comet trails of harmonics sparkling from the strings and anchored by Richter’s simple, emphatic accents and block chords. Jensen’s vigorous propulsion beneath Resnick’s keening flickers brought to life similarly tasty contrasts. When the Leftovers score finally decayed from a dirge to defeated, lingering low-register horizontality, the devastation was visceral.

As vivid as the affinity was between the piano and string section, this was an electroacoustic performance. The lighter, glitchier electronic touches were a minor distraction; the louder ones subsumed the band. Obviously, the economics of touring make it impractical for a group that isn’t funded by all kinds of corporate or nonprofit money to bring along a full choir and low brass section. Considering how much reverb the sound engineer had put on the strings during the second half of the show, witnessing this music stripped to just Richter and the quintet would have been a lot more interesting simply because everybody could have been heard. And these are great musicians. Having to dig in and fight with a recording may have robbed them of the opportunity to play with the extraordinary nuance they’re known for. In those moments, it was impossible to tell.

A Shadowy Treat From Stile Antico

Today’s Halloween album was written to be sung by candlelight while each candle is extinguished one by one, until the singers and audience are left in total darkness. Its title make perfect sense: Tenebrae Responsories.

Tenebrae translates literally from the Latin as “shadows.” but commonly means darkness. Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria published this somber choral suite in 1585. It’s a setting of fire-and-brimstone biblical texts about exile, wartime occupation, betrayal, torture, suicide and a few more upbeat things. At the center of the narrative are the Lamentations of Jeremiah, mourning the loss of Jerusalem in a 6th century BC Babylonian invasion. Stile Antico, the world’s most popular Renaissance choir, have released a characteristically insightful, nuanced recording, streaming at Spotify. Divided up into 22 tracks, this new edit of the suite contains the high points of an epic that by any account must have been strenuous (and often utterly redundant) for the singers in mass to perform at the time it was written.

Since taking Europe by storm in the late zeros, Stile Antico have put out a dozen albums, and tour the world constantly. Through it all, their roster has remained pretty stable. They’re singing a different program – English Elizabethan works by Byrd, Tallis, Lassus and innumerable others – tonight, Oct 13 at 8 PM at a familiar and well-suited haunt, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin at 145 W 46th St. to open this season’s Miller Theatre early music program. You can get into this reverb-rich space for $30.

As with most of the group’s albums, the Tenebrae Responsories were recorded in similar sonics at All Hallows’ Church in the north London neighborhood of Gospel Oak. The beginning of the suite is very spare and austere, far more northern European sounding than you would necessarily expect from a Spanish composer. The voices of the group’s women quickly take centerstage, more or less, in parts originally written for boys.

Counterpoint rises toward proto-operatic bluster and then subsides. Stately tempos juxtapose with moments of more atmospheric resonance. Sparse, hypnotically monkish plainchant interludes from the men meet with steady, pulsing passages from the whole choir. The harmonies grow more lush and ambered as the suite continues. It never reaches grand guignol heights, but that’s the point: the cyclical harmonies and absence of dramatic key changes make it as serious as life and death in the wake of the Spanish Inquisition.

And it’s another notch on the collective scorebooks of sopranos Helen Ashby, Kate Ashby and Rebecca Hickey; altos Emma Ashby, Eleanor Harries and Katie Schofield. tenors Ross Buddie, Andrew Griffiths and Thomas Kelly; and basses Will Dawes, Thomas Flint and Matthew O’Donovan. They’re bolstered here by tenor and former group member Benedict Himas and bass Simon Gallear.

Brilliant Grey-Sky Themes and Savage Irony From Andrew Rosciszewski

Bassist/composer Andrew Rosciszewski’s music vividly evokes his primary influence, Shostakovich, from a persistently grim, grey-sky sensibility to a devious, sometimes cruelly ironic sense of humor. Other obvious touchpoints are the terse minimalism of Gorecki and the phantasmagoria of Stravinsky. Rosciszewski’s richly dynamic new collection of chamber works, Sonic Real Estate, is streaming at Bandcamp. His deft use of false endings is unsurpassed: Beethoven would be jealous.

The album opens with his Piano Trio No. 1. The first movement comes across as a radical deconstruction of the first couple of bars of the famous Mars theme from the Planets, by Gustav Holst, flickers of what was once bellicose drama drifting endlessly through space with a funereal pulse. Cellist Timothy Leonard’s amazingly consistent, loopy phrases contrast with Wen Yi Lo’s stern, fragmentary piano, violinist Izabella Liss Cohen eventually making a similarly somber entrance.

The gleefully creepy Balkan dance of the second movement provides striking contrast. Deep-space belltone gloom introduces a series of hypnotically emphatic, circling phrases straight out of Gorecki’s Third Symphony in the third. The concluding Allegro is a feast of darkly carnivalesque tropes: devilish glissandos, a bit of Bartokian boogie, a Balkan danse macabre with some breathtaking lows from Leonard and a marionetttish strut for a coda.

Leonard and Lo team up for the Pieśń Wdowy for Cello & Piano, a diptych that opens with Rachmaninovian glimmer and angst and swings back into the Balkans – and is that a distortion pedal that Leonard’s playing through?

Music for Three Instruments is a three-part suite, opening with a particularly animated Andante, Tamara Keshecki’s twistedly dancing flute against a backdrop of Joseph d’Auguste’s clarinet and Lucy Corwin’s viola. The sheer desolation of the Russian folk theme afterward and then the animatedly sepulchral conclusion both strongly echo Shostakovich at his darkest and most cynical.

Meg Zervoulis plays the Impromptu for Piano solo, a sly neoromantic parody that drifts off into Philip Glass territory. The title piece is a cinematically suspenseful, occasionally buffoonish, chamber-rock number with the composer on electric bass and Moog pedals alongside percussionist Vincent Livolsi, Leonard, Keshecki and Lo, who switches to synth. In a best-case scenario, this album ought to raise Rosciszewski’s profile beyond cult-favorite status: somebody give this guy a grisly historical epic to score!

Two Michael Hersch Works Top the List of the Most Disturbing Music of 2018

One of the most sepulchral and chilling albums of recent years is the Blair String Quartet’s 2014 recording of Michael Hersch’s Images From a Closed Ward. That one was inspired by Michael Mazur sketches made inside a Rhode Island mental asylum in the early 1960s. The latest recording of Hersch’s characteristically harrowing work is even more so, evoking the fitful last gasps and lingering pain of the final stages of terminal illness. Hersch’s Violin Concerto, performed by soloist Patricia Kopatchinskaja with International Contemporary Ensemble is paired with his End Stages suite, played by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and streaming at New Focus Recordings.

The twisted march that introduces the concerto – arranged with an emphasis on strings rather than a full orchestra – kicks in with a savage downward slash from Kopatchinskaja. Within the first minute, the message is clear: the horror is going to be relentless. The brooding string quartets of Per Norgard are an antecedent. Kopatchinskaja’s role is less traditional soloist than member of the ensemble who gets the most shivery, terror-stricken lines and cruelly demanding cadenzas.

A sense of desperation pervades this piece, foreshadowing the suite to follow. Evil faces from every corner of the sonic picture peek out and then slash at each other, the horns rising over a cruel, emphatic low note from the piano. Astringent microtones linger side by side, a macabre march anchoring the shrieks overhead – not that anyone would want to be anchored in this skin-peeling acidity.

That’s the first movement. In the second, Similar shrieks burst from accordion-like textures throughout as much welcome calm as there is, the occasional piano accent piercing the veil. The third is a vast, spacious, defeated tableau punctuated by funereal piano, a horrified fragment from the strings eventually leading to a horrified quasi-march with a frantic couple of duels amid the string section, then a series of cruelly sarcastic faux-fanfares. The stillness in the fourth remains constant and sadistically icy: Hersch’s orchestration is every bit as inventive as his music is disturbing.

End Stages, which is also a microtonal work, begins with an austere mist punctuated by a sudden evocation of a scream or a brief moment of neoromantic clarity. The rest of the movements, many of them barely a minute or two long, shift from surreal, cinematic, conversational exchanges, to macabre dirges.

Bells and stark string horror permeate the third movement. There could be a death in a sudden pained cadenza here, and also in the grim codas of the fourth and fifth, puncturing their lingering, ghastly suspense. A sadistic parody of churchbells and grey-sky Shostakovian ambience sit side by side with long shrieking motives and every foreshadowing device ever invented, as these tortured voices stare down the end.  This is the best piece of new orchestral music since Julia Wolfe’s Cruel Sister album, which was rated the best record of 2011 here. Look for this one on the best albums of 2018 page here at the end of the year.