JUNO Award winner Laila Biali's deeply personal new album, Out of Dust features not only contributions from the singer/pianist's husband; Ben Wittman and son, but also multiple GRAMMY nominees and winners including Lisa Fisher, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, and Larnell Lewis. "There's a line from a song by the indie gospel group, Gungor, that has become like an anthem to me," Biali says. "‘He makes beautiful things out of dust.' That's where the title for the album comes from, and as a songwriter and musician, my ultimate intention and hope is to spread a little more love."
Laila Baila's 'Take Me To The Ally' from Out of Dust is the Jazz FM Breakfast Track of the Week for April 6, 2020
Jazz FM had the pleasure to have had the World first exclusive play of Nina Simone's 'Fodder In Her Wings'. The song is taken from an obscure French Nina Simone recording from 1982 and is set to have its full commercial release for the first time - Fodder On my Wings.
Originally recorded for a small French label and only sporadically available since its initial release, Fodder On My Wings will be reissued tomorrow. The original album will be expanded with three bonus tracks from the recording sessions from a rare French reissue released in 1988.
A lesser-known but important part of Simone's musical history, Fodder On My Wings contains deeply personal songs.
At the time she recorded the album, Simone was living in France and extremely lonely; her mental illness was worsening and her family life was fractured. It's out of this despair that one of the many album standouts, the near title track "Fodder In Her Wings," was birthed.
An 'A list' track, Nina Simone - Fodder on My Wings gets 'JazzFM world exclusive' & 'Album of the Week'
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Maybe it's the impact of the movie Harriet; maybe it's all the fine work of artists such as Mavis Staples and Rhiannon Giddens and others who have brought more awareness of old spirituals sung in the fields by slaves, some of which later became rallying songs for the Freedom Rides and the Civil Rights era. Whatever the catalyst, this music seems more present than ever. Pianist Lara Downes delivers these mostly well-known spirituals and freedom songs, some alone on the piano, and others with a diverse cast of guests on Some of These Days.
Some of this music Lara Downes is playing has been with us for centuries. Her interpretations are so precious, that they should continue to extend for centuries to come. It's a masterful recording.
READ THE FULL glideMAGAZINEREVIEW
I first became aware of the Canadian singer/pianist Laila Biali over a decade ago thanks to her version of Joni Mitchell's ‘Woodstock'. It was a terrific performance that swept majestically along with a soaring vocal that completely floored me (it sounds just as good today). If you're not familiar with the artist, she's a classically trained pianist, touring musician with Paula Cole, Sting and Chris Botti, a member of the rather wonderful Rose and The Nightingale, a jazz radio DJ, a self-releasing album artist and the winner of the Best Jazz Vocal category at the 1999 Juno Awards for her eponymous album.
Over the last few years she has had some personal issues to contend with, not least a nasty and debilitating illness brought on by the mould hidden behind the walls of her home studio. Hence her new album's title ‘Out of Dust', and an opportunity to move forward with a positive outlook.
This is a big-sounding album, well produced by Laila Biali and Ben Wittman with great mixes by Tim Abraham. Everyone delivers, from the core musicians and soloists to the backing vocalists and string players. I'd enjoy to see some of this performed live and maybe I'm lucky she'll even play ‘Woodstock' again.
READ THE FULL London Jazz News REVIEW
Angele Dubeau's new album; 'Pulsations' brings together works that evoke strong images and possess a profound emotional intensity. "A pulsation marks time, it infuses its rhythm in it and also evokes the heart. Just like those composers whose music calls out to me and who, with their unique signatures, mark time, our time. Features the music of; Olafur Arnalds, Jean-Michel Blais, Ludovico Einaudi, Alex Baranowski, Craig Armstrong, Peter Gregson, Yann Tiersen, Abel Korzeniowski, Johan Johannsson, Max Richter and Dala.
Produced by Max Horowitz - Crossover Media, This content, as well as the related podcast, are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) for redistribution and adaptation.
LISTEN TO This week's 'Pulsation with Angele Dubeau' - 'Porz Goret' by Yann Tiersen
This Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/5pm PT, OurConcerts.live, a new online channel and streaming service, will bring together some of the industry's biggest stars for a virtual benefit concert. All proceeds will go to the Artist Relief Tree, a fund created in the past few weeks to financially support artists who are affected by cancellations due to COVID-19.
The concert will feature pianists Emanuel Ax and Jon Kimura Parker, mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and harpist Bridget Kibbey. Tickets are available on the OurConcerts.live website (http://www.ourconcerts.live), with contributions beginning at $5.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected all of our lives, classical musicians and audiences among them. We're thrilled and grateful to be working with this wonderful group of artists, who are all generously donating their time, to bring live music to viewers everywhere while raising much needed funds to support the classical musicians who currently lack the ability to earn a living," says John Zion, Managing Director of MKI Artists and OurConcerts.live co-founder.
OurConcerts.live is a new online channel and streaming service that promotes the creation and widespread distribution of high quality, live classical music by uniting artists, presenters, and audiences. It allows performers to share their art from almost any setting, whether from home using a computer or smartphone, or from a studio or venue with a professional, multi-camera set-up. Performances can be viewed on a computer, tablet, mobile device, or cast to a television. In the near future, they will also be available via services like Roku or Amazon Fire.
"Our hope is that this venture will give performers and presenting organizations an income doing what they do best – enriching the lives of their audiences," says OurConcerts.live co-founder Gregory Pine. In contrast to free streaming events, which rely on advertising for revenue, OurConcerts.live, in collaboration with presenting organizations, sells tickets to live events. The service intends to offer subscriptions that will include access to multiple live concerts as well as on-demand content. The revenue from ticket sales and subscriptions will then be shared with both artists and presenting organizations.
OurConcerts.live was co-founded by John Zion – who helms the leading classical music management agency MKI Artists – and experienced tech entrepreneur Gregory Pine.
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Carnegie Hall presents the world's leading artists virtually every night during its season; Lincoln Center's theaters are almost never dark. Then there are the dozens of smaller venues scattered throughout town. Planning a concert-going calendar, then, has always been a balancing act, full of disappointment that you can't be in multiple places at once.
Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which caused performances to grind to a halt earlier this month.
I haven't had the heart to delete events in my own calendar, even though in the coming week there's no chance I'll see the premiere of a Kate Soper opera in Montclair, N.J., or hear Mitsuko Uchida play Beethoven's "Diabelli" Variations at Carnegie.
But I also haven't had the time.
In-person performances have been replaced by a deluge of digital ones - live streams and recently unlocked archive recordings - that have made for a calendar hardly less busy than before concert halls closed. It's enough to keep a critic happily overwhelmed, yet also wondering whether the industry is making a mistake by giving away so much for free.
The live streams began immediately, with production values ranging from tinny iPhone videos to cinema-ready sophistication. On March 12, the day New York theaters shuttered, the pianist Igor Levit gave a lo-fi performance from his living room, while the Berlin Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra played to empty halls and audiences at home. (In retrospect, these groups of 100 or so musicians should probably have stayed as far apart as the rest of us.)
Since then, a day hasn't gone by without something to stream. In the past week alone, I've been able to watch older performances I missed; ones I had hoped to travel for this spring; ones that would otherwise seem unfathomable, like the pianist Maria João Pires coming out of retirement. If anything, I'm taking in more music than before; the only difference is that now I can be in multiple places - or at least multiple browser tabs - at once.
Many of these videos have had more charm than a typical classical concert, with banter, a casual dress code and imperfect production. Before a scorching streamed performance of Frederic Rzewski's "The People United Will Never Be Defeated!" for the 92nd Street Y - cut short because, hey, the technology isn't reliable - the pianist Conrad Tao worked through his feelings about the medium, talking to the camera in his apartment like a confessional vlogger.
On Monday, the publisher Boosey & Hawkes hosted a live score-reading of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" on YouTube; alongside the video was a candid chat that included artists like the composer David T. Little and the conductors Teddy Abrams, Christopher Rountree and Marin Alsop. (Ms. Alsop was openly, hilariously critical of the often slow tempos in the chosen recording, Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra.)
In breaks from live streams, you can watch archived films. The Industry, an experimental Los Angeles opera company, has made "Sweet Land," whose run was cut short by the closures, available on Vimeo for the more-than-worth-it cost of $14.99. (This is one of the few organizations putting a price tag on their work.)
Once you see how many operas are available online, your free time quickly evaporates. Beth Morrison Projects is putting one on its website every week; right now, you can watch Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's "Song From the Uproar." (Another Mazzoli-Vavrek piece, "Breaking the Waves," is streaming on SoundCloud.) Rai, the Italian public broadcaster, is playing Gyorgy Kurtag's widely hailed "Fin de Partie," filmed during its premiere run in Milan in 2018.
And a production of Beethoven's "Fidelio" at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, originally planned for this month but then canceled, was thankfully recorded. The direction, by the actor Christoph Waltz, may be a bit chilly; but the sculptural set, by the architects Barkow Leibinger, is a subtle and mesmerizing reflection of the music, propulsive under the baton of Manfred Honeck.
Last weekend, live streams escalated to marathons. The cellist Jan Vogler organized a 24-hour event called Music Never Sleeps NYC, which coincided with Deutsche Grammophon's globe-trotting relay of solo performances for Piano Day. Never have I felt so productive spending hours on YouTube.
Among the Piano Day artists were Ms. Pires, out of retirement for an elegant and lucid reading of Beethoven's "Pathétique" Sonata; and Daniil Trifonov, both eerie and endearing in a mask and gloves as he introduced himself from the Dominican Republic with a selfie video. Music Never Sleeps was a feel-good miracle of coordination and collaboration across musical forms and genres. When it overlapped, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, with a moment for New Yorkers to applaud out their windows for those on the front lines of the pandemic, the conductor David Robertson and the pianist Orli Shaham cleverly offered Steve Reich's "Clapping Music." Later, Inon Barnatan gave an elegant, at times sublime performance of Schubert's Piano Sonata in B flat that I hope to one day hear in person.
The two marathons were studies in contrast. Music Never Sleeps was a soft fund-raiser - not quite a telethon, but presented with the suggestion that fans donate to the NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund and the Local 802 Musicians' Emergency Relief Fund. Piano Day, however, was simply a celebration of top-shelf talent: artists who could - and have - sold out Carnegie, playing here at no cost to viewers.
Like almost every other live stream of the past month, Deutsche Grammophon's felt dangerously reminiscent of the internet's early days, when prestige journalism - including The New York Times - was available for free. Publishers later regretted not monetizing their work from the start; I hope the classical music industry doesn't end up in the same position.
Freelancers, whose incomes depend on live performance, are in crisis as even summer festivals begin to announce their cancellations. The New York Philharmonic is anticipating a loss of $10 million in revenue because of its closure; the Met Opera, up to $60 million.
And yet these are the same artists and organizations giving away their music for free. The Philharmonic launched a website of archived performances, NY Phil Plays On, and is broadcasting older concerts on Facebook every Thursday. The Met is digging into its collection of high-definition movie theater transmissions for nightly streams. It's heartening to witness, and the exposure may be helpful, but it doesn't even begin to cover lost revenue.
So if you like what you hear, donate. Think of the industry as a giant Central Park busker, happy to play but leaving that guitar case open and ready for tips.
The world of classical music has never been more accessible. Rarely, though, has it ever been so endangered. And it's up to all of us to decide just how much it's worth.
Joshua Barone is a senior staff editor on the Culture Desk, where he writes about classical music and other fields including dance, theater and visual art and architecture.
‘Love Letters' marks a different direction for the internationally celebrated artist; it offers a shift in intimacy and content and comes at a pivotal time in her career as she signs to her new record label, Mercury KX.
Milan Records today announces the February 28 release of WENDY (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by award-winning composer, songwriter and producer DAN ROMER and the film's award-winning director BENH ZEITLIN.
Wolfgang Muthspiel, whom The New Yorker has called "a shining light" among today's jazz guitarists, returns to the trio format with Angular Blues, the Austrian's fourth ECM album as a leader, following two acclaimed quintet releases and his trio debut.
World-renowned guitar hero Al Di Meola welcomes a new decade with an ambitious follow-up to his 2013 studio recording All Your Life: A Tribute to the Beatles with a sophomore homage to the Beatles, entitled Across The Universe, due out on earMUSIC on March 13, 2020.
Igor Levit@Barbican brings thought, colour and feeling to every phrase of Shostakovich 24 Preludes and Fugues / theartsdesk
Posted: January 27, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
"Citizen. European. Pianist," declares Russian-born, Berlin-based Igor Levit on the front page of his website. One should add, since he wouldn't, Mensch and master of giants. High-level human integrity seems a given when great pianists essay epics: certainly true of Elisabeth Leonskaja and Imogen Cooper tackling respective sonata trilogies by Beethoven and Schubert, or András Schiff in Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier. Last night was on that level. Questions may linger over the nature of Shostakovich's many-headed hydra of a homage to Bach, but none about Levit's expressive intent and execution in every phrase.
Levit let nothing escape his rigorous but always expressive focus. That made the relatively few outbursts of violence, above all in the whirlwind of the D flat major Fugue, and the cumulative fugues at the end of each set of 12 - Shostakovich clearly divides up his sequence, making a new pure beginning with the F sharp major Prelude and Fugue of No. 13 - all the more overwhelming. Any sense of technical bursting at the seams was reined in with the pianist's intense rhythmic sense, and very rarely did he resort to the sustaining pedal to help with welters of sound.
Igor Levit's work on the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas has been the most important endeavour of the past 15 years of his life. This autumn will see his new studio recording of the complete sonata cycle released on Sony Classical on September 13 and represents the recorded testament to almost half his life spent in the study and performance of these sonatas. The release of this momentous 9-album cycle is one of the most eagerly awaited recordings for the 250-year Beethoven anniversary.
No other composer has had such an important influence on Igor Levit's life as that of Ludwig van Beethoven. He admits that this composer's music is around him practically every day and in almost everything he does. The profound impact of Beethoven's music- since his first emotional point-of-no-return with the Missa solemnis at age 13, followed by his first dedicated work on Sonata op. 2/2–has subsequently shaped Levit's approach to almost all music, whether he is playing Liszt, Shostakovich or Rzewski.
Sparked by the tragic death of a close friend in an accident, Igor Levit's piano playing reflects upon an experience of loss encompassing grief, despair, resignation and solace. He concentrates on works whose gloomy grandeur and melancholy beauty have occupied him for years. Each of them pays tribute to the virtuoso possibilities of the piano. Poetic moments of contemplative silence blend with life-affirming and extremely sensual music with a direct physical fascination. ...
Sony Classical announces the release of Pianist Igor Levit's third album - Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski. Available October 30, the album includes Bach's Goldberg Variations and Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, long considered acid tests of the performer's art, plus Frederic Rzewski's gigantic cycle on the Chilean revolutionary song ¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!, which has the reputation of being nearly unplayable. Not content with canonized masterpieces, Levit is equally drawn to the physical challenge of Rzewski's virtuosic tightrope walks.
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Igor Levit has recorded the Partitas by this incommensurable Bach, BWV 825-830: it's the second release by the 27-year-old pianist, whom many regard as the greatest talent of his time. With his debut album, featuring the late Beethoven sonatas, Levit already enjoyed great success and international critical acclaim: the album rose to no. 46 in Germany's Top 100 album charts.
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"Unlike those technically brilliant young pianists who dazzle briefly and disappear, Levit is pre-eminently a real musician who seems built to last." – The Guardian
For the last three years, Igor Levit's name has been the first to be mentioned whenever there has been talk of the most exciting of the younger generation of pianists. What is so surprising about Levit is not only the maturity of his interpretations, but his boundless appetite for new repertoire of works as difficult and demanding as possible. For his long awaited debut album, the twenty-six-year-old Levit has chosen some of the most challenging repertoire ever written for piano: Beethoven's last five piano sonatas. On his two-CD debut set, Levit is not just another young aspiring pianist releasing his debut album, but rather an outstanding artist who meets the exceptionally high demands of this extraordinary music. Levit's technical and artististic command in the difficult "Hammerklaviersonate" op. 106 is sure to be recognized as one of the most astounding accomplishments in recent history of Beethoven recordings.