Hilary Hahn's new recording pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of a city that has been close to her heart throughout her career. Released by Deutsche Grammophon on 5 March 2021, Paris sees the American violinist resume her productive partnership with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and its Music Director, Mikko Franck. The three-time Grammy Award-winner's album presents the world premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara's Deux Sérénades, commissioned by Mikko Franck. It also includes Ernest Chausson's Poème and Sergei Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No.1, which received its first performance in the French capital in 1923.
Montana Public Radio's John Floridis interviewed HH about the new recording. LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
In her first new recording in a decade, Joy Harjo – the first Native American named Poet Laureate of the United States – digs deep into the indigenous red earth and the shared languages of music to sing, speak and play a stunningly original musical meditation that seeks healing for a troubled world – I Pray for My Enemies, was released from Sunyata Records/Sony Orchard Distribution on March 5, 2021.
Collaborating with producer/engineer Barrett Martin on this unique new album, Harjo brings a fresh identity to the poetry and songs that have made her a renowned poet of the Muscogee Creek Nation and one of the most authentic and compelling voices of these times.
"The concept for I Pray for My Enemies began" says Harjo, "with an urgent need to deal with discord, opposition. It could have been on a tribal, national or a personal level. I no longer remember. The urgency had a heartbeat and in any gathering of two or more, perhaps the whole planet, our hearts lean to entrainment – that is, to beat together."
Join Spokane Public Radio's 'Soundspace' as Zan hosts a phone interview with the multi-instrumentalist musician, poet, performer, activist and 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, as she speaks about what inspired her recent album. LISTEN
WFMT's Lisa Flynn writes.....The new album by Charles Richard-Hamelin presents two important works by Frédéric Chopin and consolidates the musician's place in the highest ranks of the pianistic world. Describing the 24 Preludes, Richard-Hamelin says: "One can hear the entire scope of Chopin's output inside the microcosm that are the Preludes. Across all the different major and minor keys, we get hints of his Études, Nocturnes, Impromptus, Mazurkas, and even fragments of larger works such as the Ballades. Yet, there is also a sense of an overarching story being told in 24 chapters of various lengths and weights. It is Chopin at his most beautiful, heart-wrenching, experimental, dissonant, sometimes even violent. It is a fascinating journey through the human psyche and my interpretation aims to show precisely that."
For April 13, 2021, Charles Richard-Hamelin: Chopin Preludes is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release'
Rio Grande Guardian's Mario Munoz writes.....Composer and pianist Robin Spielberg believes in "old school" technology. Yes, she is in the top one percent of artists featured on Pandora Internet Radio, has over 200,000 listeners monthly on Spotify and has sold over a million CDs.
However, Robin told me that one of her top-selling platforms is still the old-fashioned vinyl record. I recently had an enjoyable conversation with Robin Speilberg about her recording work and the continued viability of old school technology.
As a special treat for you, I directly transferred one of the cuts from her vinyl album, "Re-Inventions – Timeless Masterpieces Re-Imagined." Wear headphones. This was NOT a digital download, this was direct, real-time transfer from the physical vinyl album, just like it sounds on my sound system.
LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
90.1WRTI: Philadelphia's DEBRA LEW HARDER writes.....Sergei Rachmaninoff considered The Philadelphia Orchestra his favorite American ensemble, and our Classical Album of the Week reveals why. Under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, our fabulous Philadelphians offer the first and the final symphonic works of the Russian master (his First Symphony and his Symphonic Dances) with the flair, finesse, and fire that Rachmaninoff came to appreciate in his own frequent performances with the Orchestra, under its earlier music directors Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy.
Under Yannick's baton, and with its signature lush sound, The Philadelphia Orchestra powerfully defines a sense of drama, drive, suspense, and the sweeping lyrical lines that are Rachmaninoff's forte, in both works. And in both works, Rachmaninoff's distinct voice, and his unique sense of instrumental color is clearly heard-which is perhaps the hallmark of a great creative artist.
This is the first of three Rachmaninoff orchestral albums to be recorded by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and released by Deutsche Grammophon. We savor this first one, and eagerly await the next installment.
SEE THE FULL WRTI: Philadelphia PAGE
88.3WBGO's Nate Chinen writes......Chemurgy, an early-20th century innovation, was the concept of repurposing raw agricultural materials in industrial products - perhaps best exemplified by the Ford Motor Company's use of soybeans and hemp in its automotive line. Henry Ford developed this initiative in close consultation with the Father of Chemurgy: George Washington Carver, an agricultural inventor at the Tuskegee Institute, and the most prominent African American scientist of the age.
Tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis pays homage to Carver's pioneering legacy on Jesup Wagon, an album due out on TAO Forms on May 7. "Chemurgy," one of two tracks released in advance, captures the organic quality of the album and its resident all-star band: the Red Lily Quintet, featuring Lewis alongside cornetist Kirk Knuffke, with cellist Christopher Hoffman, bassist William Parker and drummer Chad Taylor. Note how the song's plaintive folk melody, an Ornette Coleman-esque theme played in unison by the horns, yields to calmly exploratory improvisations, solo and in tandem.
SEE THE 88.3WBGO - Newark NJ - Take Five PAGE
The Detroit Free Press - Brian McCollum writes.....What a difference a year can make.
For its second streaming edition, the Detroit Music Awards served up a crisp, lively, tightly produced affair Sunday night - a bright and optimistic contrast to the homespun virtual event scrambled together during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If nothing else, it's clear that everyone has gotten better at the self-video routine after 12 months of practice.
The DMAs were marking the 30th year of a show that began as the Motor City Music Awards and which traditionally has been held at the Fillmore Detroit. Sunday's presentation was more cohesive and compelling than some of the in-person Fillmore shows of recent years. And the technical leap from the 2020 stream was clear from the get-go.
While the bulk of the DMAs' 70-plus categories are reserved for artists working largely on the local scene, there are a handful set aside for national-level acts. There, Eminem took outstanding major label recording for his album "Music to Be Murdered By," while Cooper won outstanding national single and major-budget video with "Our Love Will Change the World." Bettye LaVette snagged outstanding national indie recording for "Blackbirds."
SEE THE FULL Detroit Free Press ARTICLE
Icelandic pianist and post-classical composer Eydís Evensen has confirmed details of her debut album, BYLUR, which will be released on 23rd April, 2021 by XXIM Records, Sony's new imprint for innovative, post-genre instrumental music.
On 26 March 2021 the ambitiously multifaceted musician/composer Clark presents his chillingly affecting ninth studio album Playground In A Lake, on which he broadens horizons and tries new things, with profound results.
3 new albums retell the history of black composers / The New York Times
Posted: February 11, 2021 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
The New York Times - Joshua Barone writes......Music can't survive on its own. Composers not entrenched in the canon need support: from publishers, from foundations, from performers. Without these champions, it's all too easy to slide into obscurity.
Three projects - by the Catalyst Quartet; the baritone Will Liverman; and the pianist Lara Downes - consider another avenue for maintaining a legacy: recordings. Gone are the days when classical albums could be relied on as moneymakers. But in the age of streaming, they are endlessly accessible, easy to disseminate and, in the case of these new releases, ideal for spreading the word about overlooked composers of color, whose music often exists in varying states of disrepair.
Recordings have helped propel the recent revivals of Julius Eastman and Florence Price, whose works are held up by scholars and critics today but languished for decades - neglected for a variety of reasons, including race.
When a friend of mine, the musicologist Jacques Dupuis, programmed Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's "Endymion's Dream" a few years ago for the Boston ensemble Calliope, the only full score of it he could find was a rare holograph at the Library of Congress. So he traveled to Washington and spent dozens of hours transcribing it and creating a performing edition. A video of the resulting concert is the only available recording of the piece.
"I'm not sure that would be sustainable as a regular practice without robust institutional support," he said, "which speaks to some of the hurdles in bringing equity and diversity to music programming."
Similar labor went into the creation of these albums, made with the goal of highlighting music by Black composers and offering new possibilities for the classical canon.
‘Uncovered, Vol. 1: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor'
The Catalyst Quartet's Uncovered project began in 2018, growing from an initial idea of performing and recording a program of works by a few underrepresented composers. That quickly blossomed into something more ambitious: a series of focused surveys, beginning with music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
Coleridge-Taylor, born to a white mother and Black father in Britain in 1875, wrote the pieces on "Uncovered, Vol. 1" while he was a student at the Royal College of Music in London. Although they reflect the influence of Brahms and Dvorak, as the violinist and scholar Matthew Leslie Santana observes in the album's liner notes, they have the feel of "a new music project," said Karlos Rodriguez, the quartet's cellist.
"Except it of course isn't new, and now it's redefining the canon," Rodriguez added. He pointed to the Clarinet Quintet in F-sharp minor: "You think of Brahms and Mozart clarinet quintets, but this is up there. It holds its own."
"Uncovered, Vol. 1," released earlier this month on the Azica label, features Catalyst - the violinists Karla Donehew Perez and Jessie Montgomery, the violist Paul Laraia and Rodriguez - in three early Coleridge-Taylor works, including quintets performed with the pianist Stewart Goodyear and Anthony McGill, the New York Philharmonic's principal clarinet. (Montgomery, increasingly in demand as a composer, left the quartet last month and was succeeded by Abi Fayette.)
Preparation for the Coleridge-Taylor album - and future installments of Uncovered, which continues with a Florence Price recording - didn't come as easily as, say, a recording of Beethoven quartets. The scores were not always readily available, and there wasn't an established interpretation history.
"These pieces are not in your blood," Donehew Perez said.
Some of the music had never been recorded, or there was only a single record, and, as Laraia said, "None of these pieces should exist in one recording." The members of the quartet are hoping that "Uncovered, Vol. 1" prompts more Coleridge-Taylor performances.
"I think this is an interesting way for presenters to move in an interesting direction, but there doesn't have to be shock," Fayette said. "You can hear the Classical era and Romantic era; it's not like you're throwing audiences into the deep end. And I think this year has proven to us that classical music is ready for a shift."
Will Liverman's "Dreams of a New Day," a program of American art songs by Black composers out Friday on Cedille Records, has been in the works for two years. But, Liverman said, the album "is coming at a good time." Because of pandemic delays, he found himself recording it with the pianist Paul Sánchez last summer, a time of widespread Black Lives Matter demonstrations and renewed urgency for racial equity in classical music.
At the heart of the album - its roster includes both living composers and older ones like Margaret Bonds and Harry Burleigh, known for his influence on Dvorak and the threading of spirituals with classical idioms - is the premiere recording of Shawn Okpebholo's "Two Black Churches." It is an affecting setting of poems about the bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., church in 1963 and the 2015 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
Liverman, who is scheduled to sing this fall in the Metropolitan Opera's season-opening production of Terence Blanchard's "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" - the company's first opera by a Black composer - said that he has been performing these works in recitals, but that the recording is a way to "normalize" them.
"When I was starting off as a student, I kept seeing people like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau because they had made so many recordings," he said. "There's something very important about having music that's out there and accessible."
About two years ago, Lara Downes wanted to record an album of unearthed piano works by Florence Price. She took the project to three labels; none were interested.
"But it needed to happen," she recalled. "So I just did it."
A similar spirit led to the creation of Rising Sun Music, a digital label that debuted this month with the EP "Remember Me to Harlem" and will continue to release recordings of works by Black composers. "If you're independent," Downes said, "you can move a lot faster."
Downes has been working to develop a community of scholars and musicians to help with the project, which seeks to highlight the work of composers of color going back more than 200 years. Two of those collaborators appear on "Remember Me to Harlem": the oboist Titus Underwood, in William Grant Still's "Song for the Lonely"; and the bass-baritone Davóne Tines, achingly gentle in Margaret Bonds's "When the Dove Enters In."
As part of the initiative, Downes also intends to release new - in some cases, the first - editions of scores, to make them more accessible to performers and students. The shaky state of these works, she said, reflects the history of American music, and of the country more broadly.
"Every story you uncover, there's a question of, ‘Why was this covered?'" Downes said. "You're talking about Black life and an imbalance. Part of this is bigger than the music. We can look at our art and culture as a microscope of us."
On Friday, February 5, 2021, GRAMMY Award-winning Catalyst Quartet releases UNCOVERED Volume 1 on Azica Records. The first of a multi-volume set, Volume 1 features the works of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor including his Quintet in G minor for Pianoand Strings with pianist Stewart Goodyear, Fantasiestück, and Quintet in F sharp minor with clarinetist Anthony McGill.
UNCOVERED Volume 2 will feature the works of Florence Price and Volume 3 and beyond will feature Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, William Grant Still, and George Walker among others.
Catalyst Quartet poses, "Over the course of time there have been many overlooked artists in classical music, especially because of their race or gender. It is important to acknowledge that we have not yet heard the whole story due to this sidelining of musical voices. Composers like Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Florence Price, and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson have contributed beautifully crafted work to the repertoire but are not widely celebrated because quality recordings and performances of their music are rare or non existent. With our next recording project we are helping to change this unfortunate reality."
Through a collaborative arranging process, the Catalyst Quartet has created the first fully realized 4-voiced version of the Goldberg Variations for string quartet. The album features this special contribution to the string quartet repertoire along with Glenn Gould's only published composition, his String Quartet Op. 1, completed just before recording his own debut album of the Goldberg Variations in 1955. Having been collectively inspired by Bach's genius and Glenn Gould, the artist responsible for bringing the Variations into our collective consciousness, we have decided to explore and highlight this three dimensional relationship amongst Bach, Glenn Gould, and the medium of the string quartet.
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