Sharon Isbin has been a tireless commissioner of new work and her latest album Affinity is no exception with several recent compositions set alongside some old friends. It's Chris Brubeck's 18-minute Guitar Concerto-the longest and most colorful work here-that gives the album its title and opens proceedings. The concerto's name alludes to a shared "affinity" between composer and soloist, two musicians who thrive on exploring different styles. Like his father jazz legend Dave Brubeck, Chris Brubeck has his roots in jazz, but despite its plentiful toe-tapping syncopation, Affinity is most definitely a classical work. At its atmospheric heart the composer manages to incorporate one of his father's loveliest tunes-"Autumn in Our Town"-before a lilting Renaissance dance section ups the tempo to end with something akin to a wriggling Brazilian samba. Highly energetic, melodically infectious, and colorfully scored, Affinity is a real crowd pleaser, and with her immaculate and fleet-footed technique Isbin does it proud. The Maryland Symphony Orchestra under Music Director Elizabeth Schulze has just the right feel for this music and the excellent engineering ensures both textural clarity and a perfect balance.
It's 40 years since Leo Brouwer wrote his solo guitar work El Decameron Negro for Isbin, and although she's recorded it previously, her interpretation has only deepened with time. The three evocative instrumental "ballads" are inspired by African love stories infused with the musical sensibilities of Brouwer's native Cuba. Isbin is a natural storyteller and is in her element here, putting on a virtuoso display full of light, shade, and manual dexterity. Ditto Tan Dun's Seven Desires, an intriguing solo work that straddles-and fuses-the seemingly disparate worlds of the Chinese pipa and Spanish flamenco guitar. Antonio Lauro's charming Waltz No. 3 is here arranged for two guitars by former Isbin student and now regular duet partner Colin Davin. The disc concludes with Richard Danielpour's Of Love and Longing, three contrasting settings for voice and guitar of the Persian poet Rumi. Performed here with great warmth and sensitivity by Isabel Leonard, it crowns an album that should please fans of Isbin and of contemporary guitar music in general.
One would find it hard to beat the all-star line-up featured in The Cave of Wondrous Voice, a new, hour-long survey of vocal and chamber music by the California-based composer Mark Abel. David Shifrin, Carol Rosenberger, Hila Plitmann, and Fred Sherry headline the album but they're not its only stars. On the whole, The Cave of Wonderous Voice is smartly played and engineered. Abel's writing throughout is fluent and often genial. While certain spots in the Trio, particularly, might benefit from grittier moments to offset the diatonic ones, this is music of considerable expressive directness as well as charm.
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Composer, pianist, and conductor Michael Shapiro joins us to talk about the music on his latest disc, including his John Milton-inspired piano concerto entitled Archangel. In this action-packed work, Shapiro lays out the epic Biblical battle between good and evil as a metaphor for the challenges we all face in our daily lives (which includes the current coronavirus pandemic – something Michael recently fell victim to himself). Also on the disc: orchestral excerpts from an opera based on Federico Garcia Lorca, and a full-throttle realization for orchestra of the famous organ Toccata by French composer Charles-Marie Widor.
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There are a few guitarists who are almost instantly recognizable by their tone: Richard Thompson, Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny - and John Scofield. It's not that his sound is idiosyncratic, it's just that it's personal. There's some chorus in there, and just a touch of distortion to rough up the very edges. But it's also the notes he plays, and the way that the blues are never far from him no matter how complex the chord changes get. On his latest solo album he's joined by drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Steve Swallow. As the title suggests, the album is actually a tribute to Swallow, and consists entirely of the bassist's compositions. Scofield has said that when the two of them play together "sometimes… it's like one big guitar," and you can definitely hear that; you can also hear why Scofield likes Swallow's tunes so much ("they're grounded in reality, with cadences that make sense"). As discursive as the trio sometimes gets - this is an ECM jazz recording, after all - they never lose the thread of brilliant continuity that binds these wonderful tunes together. For all jazz collections.
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Voice of Hope is Camille Thomas's second album for Deutsche Grammophon. The Franco-Belgian cellist's program pays tribute to people's ability to triumph over adversity, create harmony in place of chaos, and overcome hatred with love. The album presents the world-premiere recording of Fazil Say's concerto Never Give Up, a response to terrorist attacks in Paris and Istanbul written for and premiered by Thomas, and also includes an exquisite selection of songs, prayers, and laments, Bruch's Kol Nidrei and Ravel's Kaddisch among them.
For June 30, Camille Thomas - Voice of Hope is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release'
"There is no denying the emotional expression and feeling of the music, the joy and exuberance transmitted, and at times it certainly lifts the spirits, but unless you have a taste for this style, a little goes a long way"
An intriguing release, this is really world music, drawing on Middle Eastern and Andalusian traditions, with guitarist and keyboard player Dave Soldier setting poems, mainly Hebrew and Arabic, to music. For this he uses traditional instrumentation with occasional elements of contemporary music and a sprinkling of jazz. There are jazz connections in the personnel – bassist Ratzo Harris played with Mose Allison and Betty Carter, trombonist Chris Washburne with Eddie Palmieri, and Soldier himself studied with Roscoe Mitchell. But apart from this, the link is minimal.
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Recently French composer and pianist Lucas Debargue breathed new life into the harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and presents works outside the standard piano repertoire. The Parisian pianist has already climbed the pinnacle of piano artistry with Beethoven, Liszt and Ravel and unleashed full-blown romantic thunderstorms with Schubert's A-minor Piano Sonata no. 14 and the madcap finale of Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit.
On the album, Debargue devotes himself completely to Domenico Scarlatti. He already played four of this Italian master's sonatas on his highly acclaimed début album. Germany's Der Spiegel waxed ecstatic: "Debargue's Scarlatti recalls his mighty predecessors. He displays the subtle touch and feeling once bestowed on these miniatures by Vladimir Horowitz and imparts new sound to Scarlatti's keyboard music. … Debargue touches the outer limits of expression between joylessness and rapture: one may find it overwrought, but it's never less than gripping. And then there's the gentle Glenn Gould touch."
Debargue joins us for this mini-episode of REMOTE with a couple words on some of his pandemic-projects, reading list, and the importance of emphasizing our similarities rather than differences. READ THE Q&A
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.
In the fall of 1968, a sixteen-year old high school student named Danny Scher had a dream to invite legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk and his all-star quartet to perform a concert at his local high school in Palo Alto, CA.
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.
Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it.
William Susman's 'Camille: I. Vitality' makes KCRW: Rhythm Planet - New Music Favorites
Posted: November 13, 2019 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
This week's playlist features a mix of jazz, world, tropical Latin, and crossover classical new releases that I'm enjoying now. I love to feature new jazz sides in each playlist, so here is a whole bunch of new stuff. First, from William Susman in a chamberistic style.
Susman's new album 'Collision Point' on Belarca Records features Rome-based ensemble Piccola Accademia degli Specchi and features music inspired by love, loss, redemption, and the writings of Allen Ginsberg, Colum McCann and Francis Bacon. The album brings together four premiere recordings including two pieces for the full ensemble: Camille (2010), which was written for the ensemble, and The Starry Dynamo (1994), as well as a piano trio, Clouds and Flames (2010) and a duo, Motions of Return (1996) for flute and piano.
Scoring the documentary Fate of the Lhapa was an inspiring experience. I worked with a marvelous director, Sarah Sifers, who trusted my musicianship and gave me the freedom to compose a score that attempts to capture the place, culture, spirit and passion of the Tibetan Shamans and their broader historical context.
As with many of my scores, I look for melody and instrumentation that the filmmaker has captured on film. In Fate of the Lhapa, there were stunning musical moments including ritual chanting, a prayer vigil, bells, gongs, drumming and dance. All of these sonic elements contributed to my choice of melody, harmony, rhythm and instrumentation.
OCTET''s inaugural album has been recorded over the past few years with renowned engineer John Kilgore and was released by Naxos on the label Belarca. The album features the music of William Susman including two song cycles (with poems by his sister Sue Susman) Scatter My Ashes and Moving in to an Empty Space performed by soprano Mellissa Hughes, as well as his Piano Concerto and the ensemble work Camille.
OCTET takes the instrumentation of the American big band and scales it down to a brass section of saxophone, trumpet, and trombone and a rhythm section of piano, electric piano, double bass and drums plus vocals.
"William Susman's remarkable achievement is to take the familiar instrumentation of American popular music, harmonic and rhythmic influences from jazz and Afro-Cuban music and sinuous melodic lines that are uniquely his own and weave them into something new and fresh, yet timeless and haunting. Memorable yet enigmatic, simple yet profound, Susman's music is irresistible." - John Kilgore (Grammy Award-Winning Classical Engineer)
Scatter my Ashes reached No. 1 on Amazon's Classical Hot New Releases, No. 8 on Billboard's Classical and was featured in iTunes Classical New and Noteworthy.
Belarca Records presents Collision Point, a new album by American composer William Susman and Rome-based ensemble Piccola Accademia degli Specchi celebrating a 10-year collaboration. Collision Point features music inspired by love, loss, redemption, and the writings of Allen Ginsberg, Colum McCann and Francis Bacon.
The album brings together four premiere recordings including two pieces for the full ensemble: Camille (2010), which was written for the ensemble, and The Starry Dynamo (1994), as well as a piano trio, Clouds and Flames (2010) and a duo, Motions of Return (1996) for flute and piano.
Susman's music is described by AllMusic as "the next developments in the sphere (of) minimalism," and has earned praise from The New York Times for being "vivid, turbulent, and rich-textured," from Gramophone as "texturally shimmering and harmonically ravishing," and from textura as "distinctly American."