Colin Stetson is the featured guest on Sony Soundtracks Keeping Score podcast, produced and hosted by Crossover Media's Max Horowitz. The Color Out of Space composer breaks down his process of layering different sounds in order to find the sonic representation of a color that is between magenta and hot pink.
Listen to the attached podcast
Color Out of Space is based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft. After a meteorite lands in the front yard of their farmstead, Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family find themselves battling a mutant extraterrestrial organism as it infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a technicolor nightmare. Color Out of Space stars Nicolas Cage (Mandy, Leaving Las Vegas), Joely Richardson (The Rook, Nip/Tuck), Madeleine Arthur (Snowpiercer), Brendan Meyer (The OA), Julian Hilliard (The Haunting of Hill House), Elliot Knight (How to Get Away with Murder), with Q'orianka Kilcher (The New World) and Tommy Chong (Cheech & Chong). The film is directed by Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil). He co-wrote the screenplay with Scarlett Amaris (The Theatre Bizarre). The film was produced by SpectreVision and ACE Pictures and is being distributed domestically by RLJ Entertainment.
Colin Stetson, born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, spent a decade in San Francisco and Brooklyn honing his formidable talents as a horn player before eventually settling in Montreal in 2007. Over the years he has worked extensively with a wide range of bands and musicians, including Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver and The National. Stetson has developed an utterly unique voice as a soloist, principally on saxophone and clarinet. His astounding physical engagement with his instruments produces emotionally rich and polyphonic compositions that transcend expectations of what solo horn playing can sound like. He is at home in the avant-jazz tradition of pushing the boundaries through circular breathing and embouchure, and his noise/drone/minimalist sound encompasses genres like dark metal, post-rock and contemporary electronics. More recently, Stetson has focused on scoring a number of original soundtracks, including Lavender (2016), Hereditary (2018) and Hulu series The First (2018).
The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit - stripped-down sets, an intimate setting - just a different space.
"I hope everybody stays safe and is good to each other," Víkingur Ólafsson says at the end of this beautiful four-song set.
Before he packed his final bags to return to his native Iceland, the pianist gave one last performance from his home in Berlin. His career has moved from strength to strength, releasing three terrific albums in a row (Philip Glass, J.S. Bach, Debussy-Rameau). And now that he has a young son, he wants to spend as much time with the family as possible these days.
After grounding us in the resilient music of Bach, Ólafsson offers a crash course in the fascinating music of Jean-Philippe Rameau and Claude Debussy, two French composers who lived nearly 200 years apart. Ólafsson connects the dots between the two seemingly strange bedfellows, illustrating his points with demonstrations on his Steinway.
Ólafsson has penchant for making transcriptions, taking pieces written for other instruments and making them his own. He closes with "The Arts and the Hours," his mesmerizing arrangement of a scene from Rameau's final opera, which he plays as a farewell to his Berlin apartment.
J.S. Bach (arr. Stradal): "Andante" (from Organ Sonata No. 4)
Rameau: "Le rappel des oiseaux"
Debussy: "The Snow is Dancing" (from Children's Corner)
Rameau (arr. Ólafsson): "The Arts and the Hours" (from Les Boréades)
Víkingur Ólafsson: piano
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Video by: Anusch Alimirzaie; Audio by: Anusch Alimirzaie; Producer: Tom Huizenga; Audio Mastering Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
Two time Emmy winning composer Michael Whalen sits down for an in depth interview to discuss music production, his new album, and the music biz with Rob Mullins. They covered a lot of ground in 50 minutes. Music. Life. Rhodes pianos. Advice for young composers. Duran Duran. Quincy Jones. David Foster. The "three questions" that every young musician asks me and much, much more. Enjoy the attached wide ranging conversation.
Data Lords is the new double-album by Grammy Award-winning composer and bandleader Maria Schneider. Inspired by conflicting relationships between the digital and natural worlds, the recording features Schneider's acclaimed orchestra of 18 world-class musicians.
"No one can deny the great impact that the data-hungry digital world has had on our lives. As big data companies clamor for our attention, I know that I'm not alone in struggling to find space – to keep connected with my inner world, the natural world, and just the simpler things in life," says Schneider. "Just as I feel myself ping ponging between a digital world and the real world, the same dichotomy is showing up in my music. In order to truly represent my creative output from the last few years, it felt natural to make a two- album release reflecting these two polar extremes."
Here and Now host Robin Young speaks with Schneider about "Data Lords." (Photo by Briene Lermitte)
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When the coronavirus forced concert halls and opera houses to close in March, a flood of music came online. The livestreams proved especially gratifying, offering a jolt of you-are-there excitement. Many of these programs were offered for free.
But musicians and institutions have to make money. Will the public pay for music online?
The answer is just beginning to emerge. The artists and organizations who can draw sizable numbers of paying customers may be those who already had globally prominent brands before the pandemic. The Metropolitan Opera, for example, has recently begun a series of livestreamed recitals featuring star singers, sophisticated camerawork and vibrant audio. The tenor Jonas Kaufmann's recital last month, tickets for which cost $20, was viewed by 44,000 people - not a bad gross.
The second program in the series took place on Aug. 1, with the soprano Renée Fleming and the pianist Robert Ainsley performing live from Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. (The film is available through Friday, and Sunday afternoon brings a new livestream featuring Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak.)
Ms. Fleming was in splendid voice, singing with honeyed tone and elegant phrasing. She delivered some favorites, like "O mio babbino caro." But she also included novelties, like a coquettish aria from Leoncavallo's - not Puccini's - "La Bohème" and lesser heard arias from operas and oratorios by Handel and Korngold. And she began with a premiere composed for her: John Corigliano's eloquently understated "And the People Stayed Home," a setting of a poem written by Catherine M. O'Meara that went viral at the start of the pandemic.
Prerecorded offerings might seem less fulfilling to music lovers who are longing for the live concert experience. Yet if the content is substantive and the quality of the video high, these programs can be rewarding. Caramoor, in Katonah, N.Y., is streaming the four musicians of Sandbox Percussion and the pianist Conor Hanick, through Sunday, for $10.
Caramoor, usually a summer favorite just north of New York City, has this year presented a series of livestreams, with tickets for purchase, from its intimate, elegant Music Room. The programs have been adventurous and excellent, including a recent one featuring members of the Knights, a chamber orchestra, playing a premiere by Anna Clyne and a Brahms sextet.
The Sandbox Percussion program had to be filmed in advance, since the works being performed utilized an enormous array of unusual and cumbersome percussion instruments. The concert included inventive pieces by Andy Akiko, Juri Seo, Amy Beth Kirsten and David Crowell, variously complex and demanding contemporary scores.
But the premiere of Christopher Cerrone's "Don't Look Down," an 18-minute concerto for prepared piano and percussion quartet, was the highlight. As he explained in an interview before the performance, Mr. Cerrone began composing the score just as the shutdowns started in March, and finished it only recently. So it's a piece written in lockdown. The piano is prepared similarly to John Cage's innovative techniques, but with fewer screws and pieces of metal inserted between the piano strings, and more materials like putty - which dampens and distorts sounds - and fishing wire, which allows the strings to be bowed to create eerie, whining tones.
The first movement, "Hammerspace," begins with the whooshing of a bike pump and droning gongs. In time, restless riffs played with mallets burst forth. Amid rushes of rhythmic, spiraling figures on the prepared piano, fragments for the percussion instruments coalesced into fleeting almost-melodies.
The second movement, "The Great Empty," is more elemental, with music gurgling and heaving over ominous bass tones in the piano. The final movement, "Caton Flats," is named for the mixed-use development in Brooklyn where Mr. Cerrone lives. As he said in the interview, the music recalls the metallic noise of construction crews at work in his neighborhood this summer.
Tanglewood, perhaps America's most eminent summer music festival, has opted for offering only prerecorded online programs - some from its archives, but many filmed earlier this summer. One, recorded in June, was put online on Saturday evening: the pianist Daniil Trifonov playing Bach's "The Art of the Fugue" in one of the studios of Tanglewood's new Linde Center. (The program is available for $12 through Saturday, when a recital by another pianist, Conrad Tao, goes online.)
Mr. Trifonov played this work, Bach's final piece, at a recital at Alice Tully Hall in early March, one of the final concerts in New York before the lockdown. His performance then was magnificent, combining youthful inventiveness, crisp articulations and, for a performer still in his 20s, profoundly insightful musicianship. The Tanglewood performance was even better, though the chance it offered to see Mr. Trifonov up close - to watch as a finger on his right hand gave extra pressure to a crucial note - may have made it especially absorbing.
Though he was not required to do so, Mr. Trifonov performed wearing a mask, which came across as a gesture of solidarity with those watching from home. Playing these complex and compelling fugues, Mr. Trifonov displayed an unusual kind of virtuosity - not flashy, but precise, nuanced and subtle. Rippling passagework was not like filigree but substantive: Each note mattered.
For Fugue 14, which Bach died before finishing, Mr. Trifonov, who is also a composer, dared to do the job and played his own completion. Good for him that, rather than feeling intimidated, he paid homage to Bach by adding his own personal take. The intricate contrapuntal lines unfolded effectively, the music taking a quasi-mystical turn and becoming harmonically elusive delicate and gentle, with a cushioned landing at the end instead of a full stop.
Worth paying for? Worth waiting for? I'd say yes, on both counts.
Australian violin virtuoso Ray Chen has established himself as one of the most prodigiously talented and captivating instrumentalists to emerge internationally. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Aaron Rosand, Ray is a former 1st prize winner at the Menuhin and Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competitions.
His debuts include solo engagements with major international orchestras – including ongoing collaborations with the San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony and the London Philharmonic. Ray was announced as one of Forbes Magazines' 30 Under 30 recipients, an ambassador for Sony Electronics – and a collaborator and consultant on a number of film score and video game projects.
Last week, he released his new ‘Solace' album on the Decca Classics label – recorded professionally from his home during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Ray currently performs on the 1735 ‘Samazeuilh' Stradivarius violin, on generous loan from the Nippon Music Foundation – and is under world-wide general management with CAMI Music, in New York.
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Intimate original chamber music John Finbury – AMERICAN NOCTURNES/FINAL DAYS OF JULY: In June of 2020, I reviewed producer/arranger John's wonderful "Quatro" album, which got near perfect marks… on this new album, John and his players give you some of the most intimate original chamber music you will ever listen to… here's a video clip for the album…
…since you're there already, I strongly recommend that you SUBSCRIBE to John Finbury's YouTube channel, so you can watch many more exciting performances.
The players on this new excursion are Tim Ray – piano; Eugene Friesen – cello; Roni Eytan – harmonica; and Roberto Cassan – accordion… Produced and arranged by John Finbury and Bob Patton… though the album is partially classified as New Age, John's music is always unique and different… the beautiful "Winter Waltz" even has some strong elements of jazz, and will be a favorite among DJ's, I believe.
The gentle guitar on "Black Tea" melds seamlessly in with the other instruments, giving you the gift of pleasant (yet stirring) memories… the relaxed pacing makes the tune a total winner.
I had no trouble (at all) in making my choice for personal favorite of the eleven enchanting songs offered up… the title track, "Final Days Of July", will touch your heart deeply with its' beautifully crafted tones!
I give John and his musical partners a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) score of 4.98 for this fine album. Get more information on the Green Flash Music page for the release. Rotcod Zzaj
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The first-time teaming of Poland's dynamic Marcin Wasilewski Trio and big-toned US tenorist Joe Lovano brings forth special music of concentrated, deep feeling, in which lyricism and strength seem ideally balanced.
Sony Music Masterworks today releases Not Our First Goat Rodeo, the long-awaited follow-up album to the GRAMMY Award-winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile.
Blues Hall of Famer Bettye LaVette has decided to release her stirring rendition of "Strange Fruit" ahead of schedule as it says as much about the history of American racism and the state of the country today.
Milan Records announces the Friday, August 21 release of I Am Woman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), an album of music from the biographical film surrounding Australian singer Helen Reddy as performed by Chelsea Cullen.
Praised by The Washington Post for playing with "an easy warmth, drawing the orchestra after him like a halo around a candle flame," cellist Kian Soltani follows his DG debut album, Home, with a Dvořák album centered on the famous cello concerto.
The most valuable classical recordings of the year span a vast range, from genre-stretching contemporary music to re-evaluations of standard repertory:
Nicola Benedetti: Marsalis Violin Concerto (Decca). Three years ago, violin virtuoso Benedetti played the U.S. premiere of Wynton Marsalis' Violin Concerto in D with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park. This recording, featuring Benedetti with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Cristian Macelaru, reaffirms one's impression of the piece as a lustrous celebration of musical Americana. But the depth and rigor of Benedetti's performance here brings forth deeper aspects of the concerto than were apparent at Ravinia, suggesting Marsalis has given the violin repertoire a major work.
Black Oak Ensemble: "Silenced Voices" (Cedille Records). Music by Jewish composers killed during the Holocaust receives new life in this brilliantly conceived album, the Black Oak Ensemble giving voice to scores by Dick Katenburg, Sandor Kuti, Hans Krasa, Gideon Klein and Paul Hermann. The music spans youthful optimism to mature insight and attests to what was lost. But in a measure of hope, the album also includes the world premiere recording of a trio by Geza Frid, who survived the Holocaust and lived to 1989. An indispensable recording.
Igor Levit: "Beethoven Complete Piano Sonatas" (Sony Classical). Does the world need another traversal of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas? Of course it does, for this monolith reshaped the definition of the sonata, expanded the instrument's possibilities and bears endless interpretation and contemplation. Pianist Levit brings considerable intellectual acuity and technical aplomb to this music, which arrives in time for next year's worldwide celebration of the composer's 250th birthday.
Third Coast Percussion: "Perpetulum" (Orange Mountain Music). Surely anyone who attended last year's world premiere of Philip Glass' "Perpetulum," commissioned and performed by Third Coast Percussion, felt the joy and rhythmic exuberance of this music. It's now documented on a two-disc set that also includes David Skidmore's similarly propulsive and still more expansive "Aliens with Extraordinary Abilities" and other works.
Mahan Esfahani: "Bach: The Toccatas" (Hyperion). Bach's Toccatas carry a measure of mystery, in that definitive scores for this music are impossible to come by, leaving performers ample latitude in ornamentation and other details. Harpsichordist Esfahani applies meticulous scholarship to this process yet has produced a vivid recording built on animated performances appropriate to the toccata form.
Jennifer Koh: "Limitless" (Cedille Records). In a bold and stylistically diverse recording, violinist Koh plays a series of duos with the composers of eight works included on this two-CD set. Where else is one likely to encounter music of contemporary composer-pianist Missy Mazzoli, soprano Lisa Bielawa and MacArthur Fellows Vijay Iyer (piano) and Tyshawn Sorey (glockenspiel) in a single project? The sounds are every bit as eclectic as one might expect, a testament to Koh's adventurousness and the creativity of all involved.
Rachel Barton Pine: Dvorak, Khachaturian Violin Concertos (Avie). Violinist Pine turns in vigorous readings of two landmarks of the concerto repertoire, accompanied by Teddy Abrams leading the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The Khachaturian, in particular, benefits from Pine's grit and drive as performer. Her artistry continues to deepen.
Yo-Yo Ma: Salonen Cello Concerto (Sony Classical). Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonon's Cello Concerto unfolds on an epic scale, from the immensity of the orchestration to the vastness of its musical gestures. It all may seem a bit lush for some tastes, but the intense colors Salonen draws from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the ardor of cellist Ma's performance sweep the listener along in their wake.
Black Oak Ensemble, a violin, viola, and cello trio comprising three of Chicago's most enterprising chamber musicians, makes its recording debut with Silenced Voices, an album of intriguing works by six promising, early 20th century Jewish composers originally from Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands.
One survived World War II as a member of the Dutch resistance, the others perished in concentration camps and elsewhere in Nazi-occupied Europe. Silenced Voices, available July 12, 2019, includes Dick Kattenburg's Trio à cordes; Sándor Kuti's Serenade for String Trio; Hans Krása's Passacaglia & Fuga and Tánec for string trio; Gideon Klein's Trio for violin, viola and cello; Paul Hermann's Strijktrio; and the world-premiere recording of wartime survivor Géza Frid's Trio à cordes, Op. 1 (Cedille Records CDR 900000 189).