Machover’s ‘Chansons d’Amour’ on WHRC

WRHC’s “New and Dangerous Music” program will be airing Tod Machover’s ‘Chansons d’Amour’ Tuesday, July 19, at 10-11PM CST.

NEW!! Audio clips from ‘Chansons d’Amour’:

Buy the CD: ‘Bounce’ (Bridge Records).

Here’s Tod’s comment on this piece:

‘Chansons d’Amour’ is one of the most extreme pieces I ever wrote. No electronics at all, just solo piano. A 2-movement work loosely based on the sound and structure of Beethoven’s last piano sonata, Op. 111. I wrote it when I was a kid – back in 1981 – so maybe I can be forgiven for trying to reinterpret that inimitable, ultimate piece. Probably wouldn’t try that again. : )

The two movements are about contrasting kinds of love, passionate and idealistic, and I was struggling with which form I believed in more deeply. It is one of the craziest, most difficult piano pieces I know, brilliantly played on this Bridge recording by Bob Shannon.

This amusing review in the San Francisco Chronicle greeted the CD’s release in 1994:

MACHOVER’S ‘BOUNCE’ FULL OF ENERGY

TOD MACHOVER: Bounce; Chansons d’Amour Robert Shannon, piano and keyboards; Bridge: 9040

Boston-based composer Tod Machover, who appears in concert with Anthony Davis Friday and Saturday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, writes some of the most humanistic electronic music now being produced. The works of his that I’ve heard have somehow managed to be grandly ambitious (his most famous project is the invention of something called a hypercello, which Yo-Yo Ma has played in concert), while still maintaining a sense of fun.

The two pieces on this disc may be a little too frenetic for much home listening – Machover is nothing if not energetic – but there is much in them that is provocative, witty and rewarding. “Bounce” is a wondrous fusion of Conlon Nancarrow and Thelonious Monk, at once daunting and entertaining; I have no idea what the grander “Chansons d’Amour” is about, but it sounds great.

— Joshua Kosman

Because of its length and difficulty, ‘Chansons d’Amour’ isn’t played that often. I have a soft spot in my heart for it and I hope you enjoy hearing it.”

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