Olafur Arnalds 'Spiral' from 'some kind of peace' makes NPR Music's 'No. 1 Albums And Songs Of November'

On this edition of All Songs Considered, we pick our favorite music released in November 2020, featuring Kali Uchis' heart-struck devotionals, Tierra Whack's playful pop, metal duo Jucifer's tribute to Arabic music and Salaam Remi's star-studded soundtrack of the Black experience, as well as; Ólafur Arnalds: "Spiral" from Some Kind of Peace. Some Kind of Peace is a perfect description of what lies within; it's the most impactful record I've heard this year. At its center is Ólafur Arnalds' calming piano and electronics, which often sets the tone for the many collaborations heard within. (By the way, you can listen to my conversation with Ólafur Arnalds in the All Songs Considered podcast feed.) This is music that works as background or foreground, rich in textures making it the perfect headphone album. - Bob Boilen SEE THE FULL NPR PAGE
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Sharon Isbin's 'Affinity' is the 90.1WRTI Classical Album of the Week

In his concerto for guitar and orchestra, Chris Brubeck pays homage to his father, the late jazz great Dave Brubeck. The pianist and composer, whose centennial we celebrate on December 6th, passed away in 2012. Brubeck's piece is the title track of our Classical Album of the Week. Guitarist Sharon Isbin's Affinity features music inspired by different cultures and genres, and has a personal story behind each work.  When Chris was writing his 2015 concerto for guitar and orchestra for her, Sharon says he wanted to tap into her broad-ranging musical interests. He was "intrigued by the idea that I'd worked with so many people from so many different genres."  Sharon met with me on Zoom in late September, 2020, and shared the personal stories behind the Brubeck piece and the other music on the album, which includes works by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, Venezuelan composer Antonio Lauro, Chinese composer Tan Dun, and American composer Richard Danielpour. Sharon Isbin's 'Affinity' is the 90.1WRTI: Philadelphia 'Classical Album of the Week.' READ THE FULL ARTICLE & WATCH THE VIDEOS
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Melissa Errico set for holiday show at Bay Street Theatre / Dan's Papers Q&A

Tony nominee Melissa Errico, known for her incredible voice and vivacious stage presence, will grace the Bay Street Theater stage on December 10 to perform Season for Joy, an evening of holiday fun and music.  Errico is best known for her starring roles on Broadway, but her career is characterized by diverse interests in many creative corners of show business. She has had a steady career in television, appeared in feature films, and performed in non-musical roles in Off-Broadway plays by Shaw, Wilde, and others. She has also explored music as both a recording artist and concert singer, releasing several music albums and working with some of the world's best symphonies and jazz and cabaret spaces. More recently, she established herself as a writer, publishing essays in The New York Times and beyond. As a musical theater actress, she starred in the Broadway musicals Anna Karenina, My Fair Lady, High Society, Dracula, White Christmas, and Amour which won her a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and began a longtime association with its composer Michel Legrand. Melissa was recently honored with a caricature at Sardi's in celebration of her Broadway starring theatrical performances, her concerts as well as her engaging essays for The New York Times on the actor's art. Errico talks with  Dan's Papers about life as a performer during the pandemic, her new single and more. READ THE Q&A
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Wolfgang is back, Bach is back, KMZT1260 is back, K-Mozart is back

Mount Wilson FM announces new digital hybrid technology on KMZT AM 1260 to revive classical radio in Los Angeles and Southern California. 62 years ago Mount Wilson launched classical music on 105.1 FM when less than 25% of homes had FM receivers. Industry experts dismissed it as futile. December 1st, 2020 Mount Wilson again swims against the tide with the assistance of digital technology to re-launch Wolfgang and Bach on KMZT 1260 with an improved analog signal and hybrid technology providing KMZT with stereo. And assisted with Digital FM on 105.1 HD4, www.kmozart.com, and on smartphone app (K-MOZART) nationally. Listen As Follows: 1. KMZT 1260 Analog And Hybrid Digital 2. 105.1 Hd4 3. Kmozart.Com 4. K-Mozart App(On Your Smart Phone)
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Sarah Mckenzie discusses the fantastic 'Schneller!' with Harmonious World Podcast

There's a brilliant story behind pianist and composer Sarah McKenzie's latest compositions, produced in lockdown in the UK, while Sarah was stranded at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The song SCHNELLER! was inspired by drives on the German highway, the Autobahn. It is one of the very few places in the world where there is no speed limit. For someone not used to this it is quite a frightening experience to travel at 130 mph.  The fantastic 'Schneller!' has four trumpets interweaving, performed by the magical Kenny Rampton and then the sublime 'Waiting Here For You' features more outstanding musicians from around the world. Hear Sarah tell the story of those recordings and more. Harmonious World Podcast host Hilary Robertson interviews Sarah McKenzie. LISTEN       To find out more about Sarah and her latest releases
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  Interview with Harmonious World podcast

Smaro Gregoriadou, an excellent interpreter guitar has an excellent new album; 'A Healing Fire' / Neuguitars

"The earliest experience of art must have been that it was incantatory, magical; art was and instrument of ritual.The earliets theory of art, that of the Greek philosophers, proposed that art was mimesis, imitation of reality." I met Smaro Gregoriadou's music a few years ago, in December 2016. I was struck by a couple of her records "Reinventing Guitar II" (2012) and "El Aleph" (2016), in both there was a strong tension towards innovation, towards forms different from those already known and stabilized in the classical field. "It is at this point that the peculiar question of the value art arose. For the mimetic theory, by its very terms, challenges art to justify itself."* The style and vision shown by Smaro Gregoriadou was, and still is, very different from Plato's "mimesis", with a focus not only on the content of the music she interpreted, but, above all, on the "form". "It is the defence of art which givesbirth to the odd vision by which something we have learned to call ‘content', and to the well-intentioned move which makes content essential and form accessory."* An attention that still seems to be in the strings of the classical guitar of this excellent interpreter, who has returned to the attention of the Neuguitars blog in this sad 2020, with this excellent cd "A Healing Fire". READ THE FULL Neuguitars REVIEW
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PublicRadio90: Classiclectic Connection discusses 'To Shiver the Sky' with Christopher Tin

The history of flight is full of trial errors; from the stories of Daedalus and Icarus planning escape with wax and feathers, to The Wright Brothers' first successful airplane, human flight has been a dream for humanity for many years. That's what composer Christopher Tin's latest album, To Shiver the Sky, is all about. An "oratorio about the history of flight and mankind's quest to conquer the heavens," ...Sky tells a story of the evolution of this quest for flight, to reach higher than the earthbound. Throughout this album (featuring guest artists such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera Chorus, Danielle de Niese and more), the evolution of flight is paired with the evolution of Western classical music. The album's story is told through the perspective of eleven historical figures, a "who's who" of "astronomers, inventors, visionaries and pilots." Classiclectic host Kurt Hauswirth spoke with Christopher about his album, and how it relates to humanity's efforts to keep trying, even through adversity. LISTEN TO THE PublicRadio90: Classiclectic Connection INTERVIEW
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Czech heritage is at the forefront of Elyse Anne Kakacek's 'Formless' / Rio Grande Guardian

Czech heritage is at the forefront with Elyse Anne Kakacek's album release "Formless." In 1894, composer Antonin Dvorak completed a song cycle in English that was translated from the 1579 Czech version of the Bible.  Elyse Anne Kakacek uses Dvorak's English text of the Bible translated from the Czech version in her album "Formless."    Rio Grande Guardian arts correspondent Mario Muñoz spoke to Kakacek about her album "Formless." This podcast features the interview.  LISTEN
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  Interview with Rio Grande Guardian, Mario Munoz

Celebrate virtual 'Thanksgiving at Jazz Standard' with the Maria Schneider Orchestra

From Maria Schneider: "We are heart-broken to miss our annual "Thanksgiving at Jazz Standard." So this year, we are coming to you, with never-before-seen videos and more. Tune in Friday, November 27th at 7:30PM EST to a live-stream (right here on Facebook or on mariaschneider.com). Afterwards, streamable at your leisure through Monday, November 30th, 11:00AM EST. Before you tune in, to bring in the smells and tastes of the room, perhaps order out a little barbecue (Blue Smoke is my favorite!), turn the lights down low, light a candle, and let us transport you, first to Jazz Standard with videos from our July & Nov. 2019 performances. Marie Le Claire is also editing her fabulous never-seen video (outtakes from our new recording Data Lords) to bring you inside of our recording session. At the end, you'll see the band reunite on Zoom to talk about music, life, to laugh or cry, and to tell you how much we miss you! From Nov. 27th-30th, 35% of all sales of recordings and downloads at www.mariaschneider.com will go to the musicians in the band, and 100% of "Additional Support" given at point of purchase will go to the musicians.   See the Page
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Angele Dubeau's catalog of recordings reaches 100 million streams

Violinist Angèle Dubeau's catalog of recordings has now reached the impressive number of 100 million streams on streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer. In her career, she has also sold over 600,000 albums and is one of the few classical musicians in the world to have received Gold Records. Her recent albums have been featured as Albums of the Week on important radio stations like Classic FM in London, KDFC in San Francisco and KUSC in Los Angeles. In recent years, she has performed with her ensemble La Pietà in Europe, Latin America, USA and Canada.
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KPFK: Global Village - Thurs. is thankful for Keith Jarrett

Pianist, composer, and bandleader Keith Jarrett is one of the most prolific, innovative, and iconoclastic musicians to emerge from the late 20th century. As a pianist (though that is by no means the only instrument he plays), he literally changed the conversation in jazz by introducing an entirely new aesthetic regarding solo improvisation in concert. Though capable of playing in a wide variety of styles from classical to folk musics, Jarrett is deeply grounded in the jazz tradition. He has recorded over 80 albums as a leader in jazz and classical music. And he has won the Down Beat Critics Poll as a pianist numerous times, including consecutively between 2001 and 2008. His 1975 solo piano album The Köln Concert is the best-selling solo album in jazz history, and the all-time best-selling piano album. The recently released; Budapest Concert is the second complete show to be issued from KJ's 2016 European tour, recorded two weeks earlier than the widely-acclaimed concert released as Munich 2016. The new double album documents the pianist's solo performance at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in Budapest. Jarrett, whose family roots reach back to Hungary, viewed the concert as akin to a homecoming – also with regard to his lifelong affection for Bartók, as he explained to the audience - and the context inspired much creative improvisation.  For the Thursday, November 26, 2020 - Thanksgiving edition of KPFK: Los Angeles - Global Village - Thurs, John Schneider dedicates the 2 hour show to Keith with music and John's interview with Keith he conducted from 2005.  LISTEN
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Anoushka Shankar - Love Letters nominated For 2021 GRAMMY as 'Best Global Music Album' / REPUBLICWORLD.COM

Sitar Master and San Dieguito Academy alum Anoushka Shankar has been nominated for Best Global Music Album category during Grammy 2021 nominations. As a surprise to fans, the Recording Academy recently announced the nominations for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on 24 November 2020. The nominations were announced in a live stream on Tuesday. Beyoncé is leading the 2021. Shankar has also been nominated for Best Global Music Album category, previously recognised as Best World Music Album. The daughter of late Indian music legend Ravi Shankar, she is nominated at the Grammy's 2021 for her six-song 2019 album, "Love Letters," which mixes Indian and Western classical traditions with state-of-the-art pop, Celtic music and more. It's also her first record, on which Anoushka sings, although with only one range. The singer also shares the nominations for the Best Global Music Album with Antibalas for the album Fu Chronicles, Burna Boy's album titled Twice As Tall, Bebel Gilberto for the album Agora and Tinariwen's Amadjar. The music award ceremony will be live-streamed on January 31 at 12:00 pm PT and 3:00 pm ET. READ THE FULL REPUBLICWORLD.COM ARTICLE
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Top 10 Albums for December

Cecilia Bartoli :

Queen of Baroque

Decca Classics releases a stunning collection of arias from Cecilia Bartoli, ‘The Queen of Baroque'. Cecilia's first compilation album in a decade features the very best of Bartoli's treasured recordings of musical delights and discoveries of the 17th and 18th centuries, including two previously unreleased, world premiere recordings of forgotten jewels by Italian composers Leonardo Vinci and Agostino Steffani. A champion of Baroque repertoire throughout her career, Cecilia is joined on this recording by special guests Philippe Jaroussky, June Anderson, Franco Fagioli and Sol Gabetta, sharing her passion for musical curiosities uncovered throughout the centuries.
Christian Loffler :


Invited to experiment with Deutsche Grammophon's Shellac Project – a collection of digitized material restored from early 20th-century 78s in a collaborative initiative with Google Arts & Culture – German musician, visual artist and producer Christian Löffler has created his own experimental electronica tribute to Beethoven. Löffler's digital EP Parallels (Beethoven), featuring "Pastoral", "Fate", "Freiyheit" and "Funebre", released on 27 November 2020 on the Yellow Label. "When listening to the recordings, I got the idea that Beethoven's music was actually very human and accessible but became somewhat unearthly with decades of replaying and overthinking it," Löffler  explains. "I wanted to bring it back to the very basic feels." The artist was given open access to the Shellac Project by Deutsche Grammophon – he took the complete set of recordings to his log-cabin studio on Germany's Darss peninsula and started improvising around individual tracks.
Hera Hyesang Park :

I am Hera

Three short words speak volumes in the title of Hera Hyesang Park's Deutsche Grammophon debut album. I am Hera, set for release on 29 January 2021, captures the directness and authenticity of the 31‑year‑old South Korean soprano's performances. Created in company with the Wiener Symphoniker and Betrand de Billy, her recordings reveal the soul of an expressive, free-spirited artist. Hera's album comprises arias by Bellini, Gluck, Handel, Mozart, Pergolesi, Puccini and Rossini together with music from her homeland. Each work relates to a key moment in the life and career of one of today's most engaging young singers.
Luna Pearl Woolf :

Fire and Flood

From a deeply stirring Mass to hauntingly re-imagined Leonard Cohen masterpieces, LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood encompasses 25 years of vocal and choral works by the innovative American- Canadian composer. The composer-portrait album features new and compelling performances from The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and NOVUS NY conducted by Julian Wachner, cellist Matt Haimovitz, soprano Devon Guthrie, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata, and Broadway actress Nancy Anderson. In her penetrating album notes, The New York Times contributing writer Corinna Da Fonseca- Wollheim comments, "Luna Pearl Woolf trains a zoom lens on the collective experience, sometimes plunging us right into the midst of destruction and anarchy only to pull back, in one swoop, to a clear-eyed plane of compassion." These arresting works include her frequently-performed cello- choir concerto, Après moi, le deluge, which emerges from the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and the dramatic, low-voiced To the Fire, with its prophetic, Old Testament text. In One to One to One, "three female singers reflect and refract the male gaze in an uproar of vocal virtuosity" (Da Fonseca-Wollheim); while Missa in Fines Orbis Terrae journeys to the ends of the earth in search of revelation, mercy, peace.
Laila Biali :

Silent Night

JUNO-winning artist Laila Biali offers a stirring gospel-infused arrangement of Silent Night, featuring John Ellis on tenor sax. Biali grew up singing the classic carol in harmony with her sisters at candlelit Christmas Eve services year after year, and you can feel the emotion and nostalgia in her powerful delivery. Laila Biali – vocals, piano, arrangement John Ellis – tenor saxophone Glenn Patscha – B3 organ George Koller – bass Ben Wittman – drums Mixed and mastered by Ben Wittman Artwork by Halla Creative
Lambert :


"False has given me the freedom to develop myself artistically in all kinds of directions," Lambert explains. "I can now go anywhere."  False the new album by the extraordinary Berlin-based composer and pianist Lambert will be released on November 13th by Mercury KX.  All 14 tracks are collaborations, resulting in Lambert's most dazzlingly diverse album yet. Encompassing urgent breakbeats (with Tre B Mal), furious freeform jazz (aided by Pernille Solberg), gliding pedal steel Americana (from both Bob Drew and Jean Daeriou), industrial soundscapes (via Cole Collective) and even, on Room Trail collaboration ‘Spheres', a full-on Autotuned vocal pop workout. 
Erkki-Sven Tüür :

Lost Prayers

Lost Prayers is the first of Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür's New Series recordings to be devoted entirely to his chamber music. Scaled-back instrumental forces, however, are no indicator of reduced expressive power, and the volatility of Tüür's  concept emerges forcefully from the first seconds of Fata Morgana which is, with Lichttürme, one of two pieces for violin, violoncello and piano.  These pieces are performed by the Estonian trio of Harry Traksmann, Leho Karin and Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann, all of whom have played Tüür's music extensively and made appearances on earlier ECM discs, including Crystallisatio and Oxymoron.  The German-based Signum Quartett plays Tüür's Second String Quartet, Lost Prayers, and Signum violinist Florian Donderer also performs Synergie together with cellist Tanya Tetzlaff.  Collectively the musicians underline Erkki-Sven Tüür's view that "one can build up a really rich and wide palette of sounds with only three or four instruments. You don't necessarily need a full orchestra to operate with a powerful soundscape." The album was recorded in April 2019, in Bremen's acoustically-responsive Sendesaal, a  room with long-established  associations with ECM (reaching back to Jarrett's Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne of 1973).
Martin Phipps :

The Crown - Season 4 S-track From The Netflix OS

Sony Music today announces the November 20 release of THE CROWN: SEASON 4 (SOUNDTRACK FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES) with music by BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award-winning composer MARTIN PHIPPS (Black Mirror, Peaky Blinders).  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Phipps for the fourth season of the critically-acclaimed Netflix Original Series. Of the soundtrack, composer MARTIN PHIPPS says, "In Season 4, the world of our middle aged characters is blown apart by the arrival of Princess Diana. I wanted to represent this bombshell in the music, culminating in Episode 5 when Australia goes nuts for Diana and the score switches to a brash, technicolor electronic palette. We are also in the ‘80s throughout the season, so the score is sprinkled with retro synth elements. Peter Morgan (showrunner/general maestro) was clear that he also wanted a strong sense of musical continuity with Season 3, so I updated many of our familiar, more orchestral themes from previous episodes. One of my favorite scenes is the reuse of the Simple Harp theme, as Diana returns triumphant from shooting a stag during her ‘Balmoral tests.'  I hope you enjoy the new series, and its score, as much as I enjoyed writing it."
Hans Zimmer, David Fleming :

Hillbilly Elegy - Music From the Netflix Film

Milan Records today releases HILLBILLY ELEGY (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX FILM) with music by Academy Award®-winning composer Hans Zimmer and frequent collaborator David Fleming.  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by the duo for Academy Award®-winning director Ron Howard's big screen adaptation of J.D. Vance's best-selling memoir of the same name.  The project marks Zimmer's ninth collaboration with Howard, extending the legendary 29-year creative partnership between the two.  Hillbilly Elegy premieres on Netflix and in select theaters on November 24.
Olafur Arnalds :

some kind of peace

'some kind of peace' is the stunning new album from the ground-breaking composer and producer Ólafur Arnalds, available now on Mercury KX. The record features a brand new track 'The Bottom Line' ft. Josin, alongside a beautiful video featuring the work of Japanese flower artist Azuma Makoto out today, and 'Loom', Arnalds' collaboration with Bonobo. Also out now is 'finding some kind of peace', a very special behind the scenes film about the new album. Ólafur has been confirmed as the closing act for Iceland Airwaves' virtual festival, ‘Live from Reykjavík', on November 13th, where he will perform mostly new material played live for the very first time. Ólafur's music will also play a major role in the forthcoming Netflix documentary on Shawn Mendes, 'In Wonder', which is set to be released on November 23rd. Ólafur has also recently surpassed a staggering 1 billion streams, an incredible milestone for the Icelandic multi-instrumentalist.