As part of our music-themed month on the blog, we’ve been asking our authors to talk us through four songs that have in some way shaped their writing. Christopher Potter is up, and has given us (and YOU) four of his current favourite tracks.
Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole – Martha Wainwright
If I want to be reminded to be bold, I listen to Martha Wainwright singing ‘BMFA’ from her album, boldly and simply titled, Martha Wainwright.
The Only Tune – Nico Muhly
I like music of all kinds but I particularly like music that crosses borders. Nico Muhly is a young genius composer who has been commissioned by the Met in New York and has orchestrated numbers for Björk. ‘The Only Tune’ from his album Mothertongue is a 20 minute fantasy on a traditional folksong, sung by the wonderful Sam Amidon.
Gérard Grisey – Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (1997-8)
I have recently begun to understand and enjoy the music of the avant garde. Serialists like Boulez at last make sense to me. How did they ever not make sense I now wonder? I’ve recently come across Gérard Grisey, the spectralist French composer who died far too young. His Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (1997-8), Four songs for crossing the threshold, completed in the year of his death, is an eerie work I never tire of listening to.
Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten
The complexity of serialism looked like it might be a dead end, but these days some of the boldest and most innovative music is also the simplest. Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten proves, if proof were needed, that music is evidence of true magic in the world.
Words by Christopher Potter
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