Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear readers,
At the moment I have nothing meaningful to say on the musical subjects, but want to say I appreciate having readers whether you leave comments or not, and doubly appreciate the comments with suggestions, astute culturological analysis, or shares. Below is some of the excellent stuff posted lately throughout the blog in comments:

The Wrigglers: Sing Calypso at the Arawak (1958) with the great Ernest Ranglin on guitar at the Easy Jams blog (original vinyl rips and great commentary)

Yuko Ikoma - Moisture with Music Box (2008) - Eric Satie on a music box, very surprising and effective readings of his music, on Hypnagogic Travels

Olivier Messian - Les Corps Glorieux (Organ Works III) - "kinda cosmic stuff, very deep and unusual" - in FLAC, thanks to Symbolkid!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

John Sousa, the great aphorist

These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy... in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left. The vocal cord will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape. - A submission to a 1906 congressional hearing. @

Also, Sousa on music piracy (a letter to the editor).

I also stumbled on a lengthy article how Victor, makers of the "talking machines," created its own audience - on the social construction of listening to recorded music. Good stuff; did not finish it yet though.

Monday, October 17, 2011

In the "insane far out crazy sh*t" category.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Giacinto Scelsi: Symphony de Uma Nota So

Articles about Giacinto Scelsi tend to begin with accounts of his biography and for a good reason: he is a fascinating character, a colorful figure in the tradition of great eccentrics and lonely visionaries, and his life makes for a great story. I will skip it: first, there is a number of articles that tell his story better than I ever could (see and, as well as an extended and thorough obituary). A second, and more important, reason is that it would have been the wish of Scelsi himself. He was a recluse, granting no interviews and refusing to be photographed - not as a whim, but as a natural extension of his vision of himself and his role in composing:
"Scelsi believed to be a postman, someone who delivered a message, considering himself as a medium between different worlds. [...] Scelsi's unorthodox methods of working proved to be controversial as seemingly questioning the very notion of authorship that even someone like Cage never relinquished." @
"The method used in the pieces for which Scelsi is famous [...] was to improvise extensively on one note and record the results onto tape, this later being transcribed in score by an assistant. Scelsi did not think of these works as compositions with an author in the conventional sense but as snapshots of something more profound and of which the composer was something of an intermediary." @
This approach lead to claims that the music was not, in fact, his, but rather written by his many assistants - although there is an originality and unity of vision behind his output that has to come from one person.

So, if it's all about the music, what is the music like? A common adjective is "monotonous," and it's not derogatory, but directly descriptive. Indeed most of his compositions are based on exploration of a single tone. Yet, the music manages to be engaging, fascinating; it feels like you are hearing a great story told in a foreign language. Scelsi's musical language is completely original and unconventional: completely devoid of melody, yet infinitely rich in timbre, texture, and dynamics; there is no pulse, and rhythm is used only in the most general sense of ideas developing faster or slower; harmony is completely foreign to the classical tradition - it is based on a single note and a multitude of its overtones, so one can occasionally recognize triads and chords, but more often there are microtonal shifts or larger note clusters that may sound dissonant, but not jarringly so.
The entire impression his music makes is like that: dissonant, but not jarringly so; foreign, yet vaguely familiar. His language is not otherworldly, not alien, not futuristic like electronic bleeps and glitches tend to sound. Quite the opposite: Scelsi is reaching into the past, into the history and sometimes prehistory to connect to the deepest human musical impulses. This is how Scelsi himself saw his music: the composition titles are in Latin, Sanskrit, Sumerian; they refer to characters and concepts from Near Eastern, Mayan, or ancient Greek mythology.
My personal aural association is different; once upon a time I read an article on diddley bow - a one-string homemade instrument played with a slide - which said that in early African-American folk music there tends to be little use for pure timbre, and homemade instruments are often augmented with buzzers and rattlers attached to the string to dirty up and fuzzify the sound. The Afro-American folk tradition was completely unknown to Scelsi, yet again they seem to produce convergent results.

To connect to another previous idea, while Scelsi was not an orthodox believer like Pärt or Bach, he definitely was a mystic and saw his work in spiritual terms; music for him is something external to and something greater than a man; and I think that his attempts to remove his ego from the process of composition improve results dramatically.

See also essays on AION and Konx-Om-Pax.

Links: the source, AION / PFHAT / KNOX-OM-PAX on depositfiles

A three-CD collection of his Œuvres Pour Chœur Et Orchestre (including the material on the disc above) at uaxuctum (incidentally, the blog is named after a Scelsi composition)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kronos Quartet - Winter Was Hard

I recently got me a new hard drive and went on a downloading rampage; mostly modern classical, but other stuff, as well. I'll try to go through some of it and perhaps will be posting my listening notes as I go along; possibly with the links stolen from where I got the music.

This one was an easy choice for a start - I could have written a review without even listening. What Kronos are trying to do here is to give a panorama view of the modern string quartet repertoire, and doing so admirably. They pick out samples from all the extremes of the modern string quartet tradition: the last of the American Classicists (Barber's 'Adagio') is balanced by the 'pop' people dabbling in strings (John Lurie's 'Bella by Barlight,' Piazolla); dodecaphonic Webern sits opposite melodic Salinen; Zorn's cold and clinical genre manipulation is counteracted by the earnest and direct 'Fratres' by Arvo Pärt. This album might be a good starter for a hipster trying to cover all his classical bases in one strike.
As an interesting aside, Kronos spent the rest of their career breaking out of this modern string quartet canon by collaborating with anybody and everybody, from the Tiger Lillies to Asha Bhosle.

Now, as far as specific comments after actually listening to this, I got the following:
I don't like Zorn, never have, and probably never will - despite the fact that most of the modern musicians I love, respect, and admire collaborated with him at some point. His track here is yet another reminder why. He does not play music, he plays with music. His usual genre juggling is here on full display, and, as before, it does nothing for me. There is so much attention to the form that content gets completely lost (if there ever was any content behind the form).
Arvo Pärt, on the other hand, I really dig (I only wish he was a little louder and a little faster). Interestingly, composer's faith seems to have a positive correlation with the quality of music: e.g. Bach and Pärt. I guess the difference is that they are not writing for a specific audience and not trying to impress anyone - they are writing from their very core and are only accountable to their God (or to themselves).
Lurie's track is a bit predictable; it sounds like something he could have written for the Lounge Lizards and just happens to be performed by KQ, rather than an authentic string quartet piece. The title is a play on 'Stella by Starlight,' but I don't remember it well enough to tell if there are musical references to it in the piece.
Another interesting thing is how surprisingly similar are the Riley and Piazolla pieces. I had the album on shuffle; one followed the other and the transition was completely natural. From tango one would expect the energetics that comes from it being, ultimately, dance music; Riley's piece should serve the abrasive edge of the modern experimental music; yet, both reach outside their genre confines and meet in the middle - 'Four, for Tango' with transitional dissonance, scratching and sawing; 'Half-Wolf' with truly rock'n'roll energy, a pulse that goes through the piece.
Webern stuff I did not get, period. Schnittke I think I need a few more listens to say anything meaningful about.

Another review

Kronos Quartet - Winter Was Hard (1988)
The source, depositfiles
1. Winter was Hard, for chorus & orchestra, Op 20 (Sallinen) 1:40
2. Half-Wolf Dances Mad In Moonlight(Riley) 8:21
3. Fratres, for string quartet (Part) 9:23
4. Six Bagatelles for string quartet, Op. 9 (Webern) 3:57
5. Forbidden Fruit for voice, string quartet & turntables (Zorn) 10:20
6. Bella by Barlight, for string quartet (Lurie) 2:47
7. Four, for Tango, for string quartet (Piazzolla) 4:41
8. String Quartet No.3 (Schnittke) 19:06
9. Adagio for strings (Barber) 7:09
10. A Door Is Ajar (Traditional) 0:03

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New World Jazz

We've seen indo-jazz (@ and @), Caribbean jazz (@, @, and @), Ethiopian jazz (Mulatu Astatke), North African/ Arabic jazz (Salah Ragab, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Lloyd Miller), South African/highlife jazz (@), jazz-mugam (Armenia - Vagif Mustafa-Zadeh), Chinese jazz (@, @, @, @), a multitude of Brazilian jazz styles (choro, samba, music by Pixinguinha, Turma da Gafieira, and Meirelles - in addition to the omnipresent bossa nova), even jazz-influenced french accordion folk music (@). So I guess there would be no harm in posting a classical composers' take on jazz. For an astute musical observation of the day, I'd like to point out that the main theme in Hindemith's Ragtime is taken from Bach's famous C minor fugue, WTC book 1.

New World Jazz {Michael Tilson Thomas - New World Symphony}
143mb, 256kbps on 4shared
1. Lollapalooza, for orchestra - John Adams
2. Rhapsody in Blue, for piano & orchestra (orchestrated by F. Grofé) - George Gershwin
3. Prelude, Fugue And Riffs, for clarinet & jazz ensemble - Leonard Bernstein
4. La Création du monde, ballet for orchestra, Op. 81 - Darius Milhaud
5. Ebony Concerto, for clarinet & jazz band - Igor Stravinsky
6. Ragtime, for orchestra (or piano 4 hands), Op. 20 - Paul Hindemith
7. A Jazz Symphony, for piano & jazz orchestra (original version), W. 157a - George Antheil
8. Theme From The Bad And The Beautiful - David Raskin

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Arie antiche

As it might be apparent from this blog, I think the topic of musical authenticity is fascinating. What was authentic to the generation of our grandparents became fake for our parents and then is picked up and dusted off, to be discarded again with the changing fashion and interests. One example from pop music is the 50's exotica trend. For their contemporaries Martin Denny and Les Baxter were the true troubadours of faraway lands; then they became the cheese peddlers, and now they are "the authentic exotica movement of 50's."

Recently I stumbled onto another example from the classical world. Several extended quotes from Wiki and elsewhere after the jump:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brahms - Hungarian Dances (arr.Joachim)

Earlier, I posted some music by The Bollywood Brass Band, a wonderful fruit of cross-pollination between the British and Indian cultures. Here's an excellent article that traces the ebb and flow of the brass band tradition between two countries: the British brought it with them in the early XIXth century, the locals absorbed it into the greater Indian musical fabric by playing Indian traditional tunes and Bollywood songs using the brass band medium; South Asian immigrants brought the wedding brass band tradition with them to UK and now the young Britons got together as "The Bollywood Brass Band" to play the music that went through these multiple iterations. The cultural give and take behind it is at least as interesting as the music itself.

Now, here's another example of a cultural ping-pong between two musical traditions, separated not geographically, but rather socially: the living folk tradition of gypsy music and the classical world. Brahms had a strictly classical education, but first became interested in gypsy music when he toured Europe (and particularly Hungary) as an accompanist to the virtuoso violinist Ede Reményi. Through him and street musicians Brahms became exposed to gypsy and Hungarian folk music, which were thought of as synonymous at the time. He compiled and arranged a book of compositions that were published as "Hungarian Dances" to much acclaim and financial reward for Brahms. They gave the audiences of the time a measured taste of exotica, the carefree life of noble nomads, yet filtered through and tempered with a classical sensibility enough to be acceptable in polite society.
One of Brahms's friends and colleagues was Joseph Joachim, a celebrated hungarian-jewish violinist who was both classically trained and thoroughly familiar with the oral tradition. Joachim made a violin/piano arrangement of these pieces, bringing them closer to the actual folk music of the time with authentic ornamentation and melisma - and then carefully notated them out, sending the ball back into the classical court, as it were.
The performers on this recording, Shaham and Erez, have both impeccable classical credentials and also experience playing hungarian/gypsy folk music, and so they occupy perhaps the ideal vantage point from which to approach Brahms.

What I've written above does not imply an assessment of this music as more or less "authentic" or "true" to the folk music it was supposed to represent. It would be an error to judge it by the orthodox musicological standards: the Hungarian Dances were with us for long enough to stand on their own merits and they probably have influenced a few performers of the "true" "traditional" gypsy music.

Johannes Brahms - Hungarian Dances (arr.Joachim) {Hagai Shaham - violin, Arnon Erez - piano}
VBR, 95mb on depositfiles
Hungarian Dances #1-21
Variations in Emin #1-21

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Google vs. everyone" - Larry Downes on information sharing and copyright law. A thoughtful and well-written article that touches on the rhetoric of online stealing and piracy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dinah Washington Sings Bessie Smith (1958)

Great album. The first two songs are killer, better than the original Bessie Smith versions, IMHO. The band mostly stays in background, which is a pity. I wish they would step out a bit more - especially on something like "Trombone Blues".

Dinah Washington Sings Bessie Smith (1958)
VBR, 93mb on depositfiles
1. After You've Gone
2. Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair
3. Jailhouse Blues
4. Trombone Blues (AKA Trombone Cholly)
5. You've Been A Good Ole Wagon
6. Careless Love
7. Backwater Blues
8. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight
9. Me And My Gin
10. Fine Fat Daddy
11. Trombone Butter (Alt Take)
12. Careless Love (Mono)
13. Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair (Live)
14. Me And My Gin (Live)
15. Backwater Blues (Live)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Os 3 do Nordeste - 20 Super Successos

Here's a respite from all the eggheadedness overflowing here lately. I posted some forro before, and the description in that album's title is still the best: "Music for maids and taxi drivers." Many styles make up the rich, intoxicating bouquet of Brazilian music, and forro adds to it a strong sniff of glue. For an hour of primitive, repetitive, hard-driven accordion music, grab this one!
The songs are rather uneven; many of the tunes I liked turned out to be covers of songs by Antonio Barros - É proibido cochilar, Forró do poeirão, Homem com H (this was a big hit in Brazil). Da boca pra fora is a great tune, so is Pra virar Lobisomem.

Os 3 do Nordeste - 20 Super Successos
50mb on depositfiles
1. É proibido cochilar
2. Voltar Pra Bahia
3. Pra virar Lobisomem
4. Forró do Poeirão
5. A Vendinha da Feira
6. Homem com H
7. Forró de Tamanco
8. Estourei no Norte
9. Brasil Expresso
10. Por debaixo dos panos
11. Da boca pra fora
12. Forró Casamenteiro
13. Ta Faltando Alguém
14. Elas por elas
15. O Melhor do Forró
16. Forró sem frescura
17. Amor Sobrando
18. Vamos todos festejar
19. Eu era feliz
20. Minha Fogueira

Possibly the closest musical project in spirit, if not in style, from the other side of the globe:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Eric Satie

Listening a lot to Eric Satie lately. For some background, here's a great article: Flabby Preludes for a Dog: An Erik Satie Primer. I've heard a few interpretations and it seems his music is most effective when played glacially slow; so, AFAIK the best ones are by Pascal Roge. Gnossienne No.1 would be the best soundtrack for a lonely eccentric high on absinthe going to his empty apartment at 4am.

145mb on depositfiles

His music is not very conducive to a jazz approach, yet many try it; here is a discussion of Gnossiennes No.1 and No.2 from a jazz angle. Mal Waldron made an entire record of Satie's compostions. I don't know if it is better than a straight-ahead reading like Roge's, but an interesting effort nonetheless.

Mal Waldron Plays Erik Satie (1983)
70mb, on depositfiles

Friday, April 1, 2011

Nicolai Gedda sings S. Rachmaninoff and A. Tcherepnine

Songs by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexandre Tcherepnine / Сергей Рахманинов и Александр Черепнин - Романсы
Nicolai Gedda (tenor) with Alexis Weissenberg and Alexandre Tcherepnine (piano)
High VBR, 115mb on zippyshare (new link 3/6/15)

S. Rachmaninoff
Они отвечали (They answered), Op.21 № 4
Не пой, красавица (Don't sing, my belle), Op.4 № 4
Сирень (Lilacs), Op.21 № 5
О, не грусти! (Do not be blue), op.14 № 8
Буря (Tempest), Op.34 № 3
К детям (To the children), Op.26 № 7
Христос воскрес (Christ is Risen!), Op.26 № 6
В моем саду я вижу (I see in my garden), Op.26 № 10
В молчаньи ночи тайной (In the night's silence), Op.4 № 3
Вокализ (Vocalise), Op.34 № 14
Здесь хорошо (How peaceful), Op.21 № 7
Отрывок из Альфреда Мюссе (Fragment from A. Musset), Op.21 № 6
Арион (Arion), Op.34 № 5
Сей день я помню (I remember this day), Op.34 № 10
Уж, ты нива моя (Oh my field), Op.4 № 5
Ветер перелётный (A passing breeze), Op.34 № 4
Весенние воды (Spring waters), соч.14 № 11

A. Tcherepnine
Озеро (The lake), Op.16 № 3
Три домовины (Three coffins)
Мир одиночества (The world of loneliness)
Береза (Birch tree), Op.33 № 14
Осенняя песня (The autumn song), Op.7 № 1
Свечка догорела (A candle has burned out), Op.21 № 3

This post is for Sergei Rachmaninoff, who was born exactly 138 years ago - happy birthday, Сереженька!
I used to think that classical composers only wrote orchestral symphonies, or at most string quartets - boy, was I ever wrong. A good number of them was able to appreciate the value of small-scale works, and came pretty close to pop music of the day by writing actual songs. Let me quote Hindemith:
In recent years, I have almost entirely turned away from concert music and composed nearly exclusively music with pedagogical or social tendencies; for amateurs, children, broadcast, mechanical instruments, etc. I hold this sort of composition to be more important than writing for concert uses because the latter usually serve only as a technical task for the musicians and have hardly anything to do with the advancement of music.
Songs take a good part of Rachmaninoff's output; a few became standards with at least one - the famous Vocalise - crossing over from the singer's repertoire to a multitude of other instruments; it's been covered on just about anything: violin, French horn, theremin, double bass, jazz quartet, 24 cellos, even hard rock guitar (Slash of G'n'R, I shit you not).

In all truth, art songs, and Rachmaninoff's especially, hardly sound like pop music to а modern ear; a certain effort is necessary to get them - but IMHO it's an effort well spent. A few have conventional structure, but others are small dramatic performances with lyrics driving the development and a richly textured piano part to support and echo the voice, occasionally stepping up into the spotlight. It takes a few listens to follow what is happening, but once you can, it's a whirlwind ride through the peaks of emotion.

This upload is as close to "my own work" as it is going to get - I did some remastering. The dynamics on original were entirely too extreme, I could not make it through a single song without turning the volume knob. So this is compressed from a lossless file and then ripped into high VBR. The classical nerds will murder me for it, but the truth is, I don't care much about hi-fi; and anyway, those who want hi-fi can buy a CD, or better yet, get tickets to a live concert.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cal Tjader ethno ventures

Far East / jazz hybrids were featured here before (see the far east tag), from ShiDaiQu of 40s and 50s to the modern recreations of same by John Huie under the Shanghai Jazz moniker, to the more modern chinese jazz fusion of Coco Zhao. Yet, there were some interesting attempts at cino-jazz by American musicians, as well. One worth checking out is Cal Tjader's Several Shades of Jade. He was a leading exponent of cross-cultural music as the man behind a number of excellent and influential latin jazz albums in the 50s. Here he steps away from latin jazz to explore the eastern music traditions - not just chinese, but also Near East (hear, for example, the Turkish-sounding jangly detuned reeds on The Fakir and Sahib). This 1963 LP is a joint effort between Tjader and Lalo Shifrin, who wrote half the material and did all arrangements. The authenticity here is a bit suspect, although I don't know enough to judge. Nonetheless, the music is engaging and easy on the ears; while it occasionally approaches kitch/easy listening territory, it doesn't really cross the border - which can be said about much of Tjader's work.

AllMusic review

Cal Tjader - Several Shades of Jade (1963)
at Oufar Khan, yorubajazz
1. The Fakir (2:53)
2. Cherry Blossoms (4:59)
3. Borneo (3:45)
4. Tokyo Blues (3:52)
5. Song Of The Yellow River (3:18)
6. Sahib (2:29)
7. China Nights (3:24)
8. Almond Tree (2:58)
9. Hot Sake (3:35)

As a bonus, Tjader's stab at South American music; most of the above applies.
AllMusic review

Cal Tjader Plays The Contemporary Music Of Mexico And Brazil
With Laurindo Almeida, Paul Horn. arr. by
depositfiles and megaupload via
mediafire, rapidshare pt.1 and pt.2, also in lossless: FLAC
01. Vai Querer (Hianto de Almeida-Fernando Lobo)
02. Qu Tristeza (Mario Ruiz Armengol)
03. Meditao (Antonio Carlos Jobim-Ferreira De Mendonca)
04. So (Mario Ruiz Armengol)
05. Se Tarde, Me Perdoa (Carlos Eduardo Lyra-Ronaldo Boscoli)
06. No Diga Nada (Carlita-Noacy Marcenes)
07. Silenciosa (Mario Ruiz Armengol)
08. Elizete (Clare Fischer)
09. Imagen (Mario Ruiz Armengol)
10. Tentaao do Inconveniente (Augusto Mesquita- Manoel de Conceicao)
11. Preciosa (Mario Ruiz Armengol)
12. Chro e Batuque (Laurindo Almeida)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

An amusing iPod-related rant

Did you know iPods are tracking devices that government uses to control the populace? Beats an implanted skull chip, 'cause iPods can also play music!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Arranger/composer special pt.2: George Russel and Oliver Nelson

A second installment of the (jazz) arranger/composer special. The first one was about arrangers working to the strengths of a specific performer. These two are more about the composition; it's the performers that come to play with the mastermind.

George Russell is the mastermind behind the first album. He passed away in mid-2009; here's a well-written obituary detailing his accomplishments. While not a household name, Russell was very influential among his contemporaries. Many (including Miles Davis) point to his theoretical work as a cornerstone of the modal jazz. His book, Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, is legendary among the jazz musicians - among other things, for being so densely written as to be nearly unreadable. The excellent Casa Valdez Studios has a discussion of his theories - see if you can make more sense of it than I did.
Russell had no trouble assembling an all-star cast for his albums; this one is the first he recorded under his own name and it has Art Farmer on trumpet (again!) and Bill Evans on piano. Don Ellis and Eric Dolphy play on his next, Ezz-thetics, possibly even more fascinating, although somewhat less accessible album.

George Russell - The Jazz Workshop [1956]
With Art Farmer, Bill Evans, Paul Motian, and others.
256kbps, 103mb on depositfiles
1. Ye Hypocrite, Ye Beelzebub
2. Jack's Blues
3. Livingstone I Presume
4. Ezz-thetic
5. Night Sound
6. Round Johnny Rondo
7. Fellow Delegates
8. Witch Hunt
9. The Sad Sergeant
10. Knights Of The Steamtable
11. Ballad Of Hix Blewitt
12. Concerto For Billy The Kid
13. Ballad Of Hix Blewitt (Alternate Take)
14. Concerto For Billy The Kid (Alternate Take)

Another album that fits the arranger/composer theme is Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth. It is probably the best-known of all of the above, and also well-represented in the share-o-sphere, so I will leech the links instead of uploading it.
Read a review: a landmark of jazz orchestration, one of the most potent modern jazz sextets ever (Freddie Hubbard, Eric Dolphy, Bill Evans)

Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth ()
Three links here or get it on rapidshare or mediafire; also available in FLAC
01. Stolen Moments
02. Hoe-Down
03. Cascades
04. Yeanin’
05. Butch and Butch
06. Teenie’s Blues
Alternative artwork:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Paul Hindemith

The reason I wasn't writing here much in the past year is that my musical interests have shifted once again, going rather beyond the scope of this website. I still want some place to write down my little musical observations, so I guess the scope of this website will have to expand, as well.

I am generally more interested in what in jazz is called a combo and in the classical lingo chamber music. So in my recent explorations of classical I came across the Hindemith's sonatas for piano-and-every-orchestral-instrument-there-is; many of them staples of educational repertoire.
So I spent about a week trying to get my head around his music - specifically, the trumpet and piano sonata of 1939, and the horn sonatas. The first few times had me rather baffled. Last night I listened to it again with scores in my hands and finally found a point of reference I could grab onto. He sounds to me a lot like Ornette Coleman. Incidentally, it looks like I might be the first person ever to use the names of Ornette Coleman and Paul Hindemith in one sentence.
I think there are two main points of similarity, the very ones that made Ornette's music so distinctive and controversial. Firstly, it's the rhythm. Both Coleman and Hindemith are melodists, with their compositions hung on melodic lines that run through the pieces, giving them inner logic and consistency. However, the melodies conform neither to the 4-bar/8-bar length, nor even to a steady time signature. By ear, it sounds like a player is adding or subtracting beats at will to underscore or enhance a certain melodic point, to make it more expressive. On paper, these jumps and skips have to be notated by shifting from 4/4 to 3/2 to 12/8 and back. Ornette's themes are built on the very same logic. Strictly speaking, that approach is nothing new and is used by solo performers from just about any folk tradition - most visibly to an american listener, by Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson, or a tune like King Bee. Coleman was controversial not for inventing it, but for placing it into the context of a jazz combo.
Secondly, it's the harmony - the pliable, fluid harmonic development that follows not the conventional rules, but the melodic line. A lot of times piano accompaniment in the sonatas is primarily textural, not so much harmonic - a feature Ornette would've appreciated.

As before, it is worth noting that these are the case of the opposites converging. Hindemith is a highly schooled composer from the Western classical tradition who chose to speak through the medium of written music. Ornette Coleman comes from the aural/oral African-American folk tradition and to my knowledge he was musically illiterate. I guess the biologists would call it convergent evolution.

Here are some sounds to sample:
Sonata for Trumpet and Piano played by Thomas Stevens, on mediafire
It seems that classical music is best perceived in small amounts - preferably, is chunks intended by the composer. The CD this came from contains more stuff, none of it relevant to today's post and thus omitted.

Nonetheless, the completists might be interested in the Complete Works for Brass as performed by the Summit Brass and available on megaupload, 192mb, high VBR

Outside link:
Horn and Piano Sonatas at the most excellent Closet of Curiosities