This may not be the most popular album posted; I know people are not too thrilled with the modern classical chamber music that I passionately love -- especially when it gets a bit too recondite. At least I don't think I'll have too many requests for flacs, this time.
For those not familiar with it quarter tone music uses the tones between the half tones that are the established standard in the european classical scale. That 12-toned scale is itself created with the ratios of whole numbers to divide from tonic into dominant, subdominant, and so on. It's obvious to those who have studied basic harmony how you can start with one tonic (C) and with 4 and 5 progress to 12 notes (or even just by using 5ths). Because of these ratios it's debatable whether there is anything natural about quarter tones at all and for the most part they sound like instruments out of tune. Of course much is made of the fact quarter tones appear frequently in indian or any eastern music as well as in the blues scale (between 4 and 5) or as bends on the guitar. However, these are used very judiciously and not as the basis of an all-new scale.
How can you perform quarter tone music on a piano with set keys? Well, the answer is you can't -- you need 2 pianos which is why each track here features 2 pianos, one tuned a quarter tone off from the official EU standard tuning enshrined recently in the Bruxelles law of 2010 which mandated an exact tuning for A above middle C at 440 Hz on pain of death. (You will recall that Silvio Berlusconi's representative there, an ex-porn star, at that time argued for a different tuning of about 444.4 (repeating) for esthetic reasons and the germans argued this would lead to havoc in their bavarian motor industry, & she was finally voted down after a long drawn-out orgy in the general assembly.)
It must be difficult for a composer to create music like this since even their imaginations might find itself a little wanting to fill in the blanks.
You can judge for yourselves what is your opinion of this, for me the standout tracks are Charles Ives' piano composition, and the first track on side B which features the amazing ondes martenot I talked about in the past on the website. See here: