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Baker's Dozen

The Spirit Is The Thing: Irmin Schmidt's Favourite Records
Sean Kitching , December 4th, 2015 10:46

As the former Can man releases his Electro Violet box set this week, he boils his all-time favourites down to a 'records of the day' selection, taking Sean Kitching from albums to individual songs and classical compositions


György Ligeti - Lontano
The first time I heard this, it was live with a symphony orchestra. Again, as with some of my other choices, he created something that didn't exist before. I mean, when you heard it for the first time, it doesn't sound like a symphony orchestra, it sounds like a new instrument. He invented a totally new sound for the symphony orchestra and Lontano is one of the most wonderful pieces - pure beauty. Then later when I studied with him, it was very funny. When he started his course at the Essen Folkwang Academy, he was known but not yet very famous. Nevertheless, in the beginning, about 15-18 students came to his course. After the third session, we were left with two, another one and me, because he was really demanding. He was an incredible, wonderful teacher and what I learned from him was instrumentation, listening to all the sounds an instrument can do. For instance, he would say: "Do a two-minute piece, use three or four instruments, use one tone. Go to the players and find out from them what colours, what tones that instrument is capable of making." He invented new colours.