What better way to ring in the year than to take in a couple ensembles, from opposite ends of the spectrum, showing in much the same way what the whole point of playing is?
Wojciech Kilar is a Polish composer from the same 60’s group that gave us Penderecki and Gorecki, but is notable for his detour into film music (Like Coppola’s Dracula). This is his utterly simple/hard 1988 piece Orawa (there are a bunch of other video performances of this on YouTube, but this one with Agnieszka Duczmal conducting the Chamber Orchestra “Amadeus” has them all beat for pacing and enthusiasm. Just ignore that couple-second blast of other music at the start):
For all his jazz-lite leanings, David Sanborn (with Hal Willner’s savvy music coordination) has always had my eternal gratitude for hosting one of the most phenomenal major-network music offerings, NBC’s Night Music, which ran between 1988 and 1990. Not least for this wonderful clip of Sun Ra and the Arkestra taking us all to a higher plane:
Two really different approaches perhaps, but both seem to work some of the same ground and head to the same place in the end. May what we attempt in the coming year get lucky enough to find that place too, at least once or twice…