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Baker's Dozen

The Passions: Owen Pallett's Favourite Albums
Luke Turner , May 29th, 2014 09:25

Owen Pallett's new album helpfully gives us the title for our latest Baker's Dozen, as he talks Luke Turner through selections including Tori Amos, Throbbing Gristle, Jean Luc Ponty, Dean Blunt, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Total Freedom and Diamanda Galas


Galina Ustvolskaya - Preludes 1-12/Compositions 1-3/Octet/Concerto
I was introduced to her by my teacher in composition school, who I think played it to us to shock us. But there was something that immediately struck me then, and I think I have the words better now to describe what that was. It was something I'd been hearing in Ligeti and Messiaen, which was less in the harmonic content or the mood that was created, and more a rigorous method of dealing with material that could be considered economic or brutal, but to me suggested this sort of asceticism, this way of trying to approach the infinite. So succinctly defined in that is this methodical approach to dissecting material - it sounds like the cosmos. In the documentary I've seen, she seems to be very much a naturalist. She talks about her third symphony being inspired by this place where she just sits and looks at birch trees, and you hear her music and from an aesthetic approach it seems to bear no similarities with the pastoral landscape, but with the brutality with which she works out her material, and placing instruments in these extreme ranges. You can hear it all the way back from her symphonies to her piano concerto, there's this rigour.