Chad Lawson has been one of my favorite pianists for many years. When I first saw him play live in 2011, his velvety piano touch literally stopped me in my tracks. More than proficient in many genres of music, it is with his own breathtaking compositions that Lawson truly shines the brightest. Never one to show off with a lot of bravado or fancy finger work, Lawson's goal with his music is to provide a peaceful respite where people can breathe. "If you listen to any of my albums, they all revolve around the idea of stillness," he says. "I'm just trying to invite people to take a moment and reconnect with who they are. The music I make is meant to create calm." "Waltz in B Minor" is a beautiful and compelling example of this. Closer to Chopin than Strauss, the piece is slow, poignant and very expressive. I think it would be appropriate to call it an exquisite gem of contemporary classical music.
Prelude in D Major (single)
Chad Lawson has been an independent artist for quite a few years and has created and released some stunning music - much of it solo piano. With one of the most elegant piano touches in contemporary music, Lawson's recent signing to the Decca label will make his music available to a much broader audience. With all of the chaos everywhere in the world right now, the timing couldn't be better for Lawson's soothing messages of hope and beauty.
Chad Lawson's goal with his original music is to bring calm and stillness to those who hear it, allowing them to breathe and reconnect with who they are. "Prelude in D Major" hints at the grace and emotional depth of the music of Chopin, but remains very much in the present. Reflective and very dreamy, the truth in this music should easily bridge the generations and appeal to a universal audience.
First Light begins with the title track, a piece that reflects the stillness and peace of a brand new day. The "official" video for this piece is visually stunning and illustrates the music beautifully. "Waves" reflects on the ocean at its most serene with a lazy surf and beams of light dancing on the water. More ambient than melodic, it's almost as relaxing as a walk on the beach. "Peaceful Dream" is also very ambient and moves with the rhythm of someone's breathing while in a deep sleep. "Distant Shores" ups the tempo a little for a daydream about what life might be like on the other side of the water. Layered guitars take us on a journey through the imagination. I'd love to see a video for "Fjord," which seems to very effectively describe the majesty of a fjord and the smooth peacefulness of the water that flows through it - a favorite. "Wanderlust" is by far the longest piece on the album at a little over 10 minutes. With a relaxed, easy pace on the guitar and atmospheric synth background sounds, it's a soft and dreamy journey to anywhere your mind wants to go. "Path of Light" brings the album to a quiet and gentle close, leaving the listener feeling refreshed, uplifted and ready to move forward. You really can't ask for more!
READ THE FULL Mainly Piano REVIEW
World-renowned guitarist Sharon Isbin takes us on a personal tour of her two latest albums: Affinity and Strings for Peace. Affinity is loaded with works written for Isbin, including the title track – a new guitar concerto by Chris Brubeck which contains a musical nod to his late father, legendary jazz musician Dave Brubeck (whose centenary is in 2020). Also on that disc: works that span the global palette from Tan Dun, Leo Brouwer, Antonio Lauro, and Richard Danielpour (whose song settings of Rumi poems also feature the wonderful mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard). Sharon also introduces us to Strings for Peace, her collaboration with Sarod master Amjad Ali Khan that presents four Ragas masterfully arranged for Sharon with sarods and tabla, thus drawing compelling connections between Western and Indian classical music.
LISTEN TO conversation with FM91: Toledo OH, Classical Host - Brad Cresswell
Called "the next big jazz guitarist" by NPR in 2010, Nir Felder has become a highly sought-after musician as both a solo artist and sideman. Equally adept across a wide range of genres, inspired by icons from John Coltrane to voodoo chile Jimi Hendrix, Felder has forged a unique and highly recognizable sound. He is a member of Band of Other Brothers (Jeff Coffin, Jeff Babko, Will Lee, and Keith Carlock) and has performed with Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, John Mayer, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington (with whom he recorded the GRAMMY-winning Money Jungle), Vijay Iyer, Jack DeJohnette, Meshell Ndegeocello, and many others.
A DownBeat Editor's Pick, Felder's debut album Golden Age (Sony/Okeh) has been called "absolutely beautiful" by The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "lyrical and lofty" by The New York Times, and "a melodic triumph" by the New York City Jazz Record. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, where he was awarded the Jimi Hendrix Award.
LISTEN TO THE PREMIER Guitar podcast
The original soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II is now available from Sony Music. The music for this soundtrack was composed by Gustavo Santaolalla (who also worked on the original The Last of Us), with additional music composed by Mac Quayle. Gustavo Santaolalla is a musician and film composer from Argentina who has previously won the Oscar for Best Original Score for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Babel (2006), not to mention his work in other film and video game soundtracks. Santaolalla is also slated to compose the music for the upcoming HBO series based on The Last of Us.
Of the soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II, composer Gustavo Santaolalla had the following to say:
"Composing the music for The Last of Us Part II represented one of the biggest challenges of my career. Diving into the universe of the first game inspired me to come up with sounds, instrumentation and moods that became very closely related to the story and the characters. Fortunately, people found in the music the precise emotional support that a story such as The Last of Us required. The way in which fans related to the score of that first game is something I had never experience before."
Listening to the music for The Last of Us Part II reminds me yet again that you should never judge a video game by its cover art. If you think the music for this game is generic and action-y, then you have another thing coming. This soundtrack is sensitive, with only an occasional foray into "action mode" music. That tells me that this game is more retrospective than I thought, as it's my experience that the music largely reflects what goes on in the game (and you're not going to get calm music if it's crazy fighting all the time).
If you want to experience the music in this game without the distraction of playing it through, then I highly recommend picking the soundtrack up.
READ THE FULL FILM MUSIC CENTRAL REVIEW
With an eclectic whirlwind of a resume that includes work on hit Broadway shows, an Emmy nomination for co-writing the theme to "Dateline," MD and keyboardist for late tap legend Gregory Hines and work with everyone from Liza Minelli, Freddie Hubbard and Donna Summer, it was only a matter of time before composer, pianist and drummer Rick Cutler really cut loose in his solo career and presented a freewheeling showcase of everything he can do in a single collection.
After 15 years mostly focused on piano works (with a few vocals and percussive elements chiming in), that inspiring, multi-faceted journey arrives with Women & Children – a colorful, often lyrical, sometimes spiritual, alternately grooving and meditative 12 track romp exploring the multiple muses of his life. Fans of Cutler's long-established beautiful solo piano flow will gravitate first towards graceful ivory-centered tracks like "Green," "Hymn #4" and the truly hypnotic (thus perfectly titled) "Trance."
READ THE FULL JW VIBE REVIEW
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. John was a 20-year-old student at Berklee when he first met and played with bassist Swallow, and they have continued ever since, in many different contexts.
"I love these songs", says Scofield of the selection of Swallow compositions explored here – a broad range including tunes that have become standards, as well as some lesser-known works. The rapport between Scofield and Swallow is evident in every moment. John: "Sometimes when we play it's like one big guitar, the bass part and my part together."
Behind the drum kit, Bill Stewart is alert to all the implications of the interaction. "What Bill does is more than ‘playing the drums,'" Scofield says. "He's a melodic voice in the music, playing counterpoint, and comping, while also swinging really hard." The guitarist himself plays with fire and invention throughout: "These two giants bring out the best in me."
Karim Mosna, radio host with 101.5 The Hawk in Hamilton, Ontario features Steve Swallow with insightful and inspiring conversation for the attached podcast
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.
Anne Sofie Von Otter & Caroline Shaw discuss new PBO recording with 'All Classical Portland'
Posted: June 28, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Interview with All Classical Portland's John Pitman
Host John Pitman chats with the great Swedish mezzo-soprano, Anne Sofie Von Otter about her performance of a new work by American composer, Caroline Shaw. Title "Is a Rose", the three-movement song cycle is sung by Von Otter with San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, as Shaw has written the work with Baroque ensembles – and Ms. Von Otter – in mind. Next, John talks with the composer herself, touching on the song cycle and her first oratorio, The Listeners, which was inspired by the gold record created for the Voyager spacecraft. Music from Shaw's new works are interwoven with the conversation.
As part of the organization's ongoing efforts to bring recorded music to audiences the world over, and especially during the COVID-19 crisis, Philharmonia Baroque Productions unexpectedly releases the live audio recording of Handel's Saul, the award-winning performances from April 2019, led by Handelian expert and outgoing PBO Music Director Nicholas McGegan. With an all-star cast featuring rising star countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as David, alongside the Orchestra & Chorale, this June 5 digital-only release marks the 14th on Philharmonia's recording label, and Nicholas McGegan's final recording with the ensemble he has led for 35 years.
Philharmonia Baroque Productions to release pioneering recording of commissions by Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw. The collection features song cycle with Anne Sofie von Otter and a major work for chorus and orchestra with Avery Amereau & Dashon Burton
This April, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale (PBO) breaks new ground as a pioneer in bridging new music with old instruments-as PBO announces a collection of commissioned works composed by GRAMMY- and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. "PBO& Caroline Shaw", the 12th release on the Philharmonia Baroque Productions label, coincides with the launch of the "PBO&" imprimatur, created to record and showcase vital contemporary composers who are committed to composing for the unique sounds of period instruments. The recording will be released on April 3 and reflects the range and versatility of Philharmonia's programming with music spanning the 18th to the 21st centuries.
Handel's late-career oratorio Joseph and his Brethren, though popular during Handel's day, eventually became one of the composer's most neglected large-scale works. As such, Joseph had only been recorded once before Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale decided to take it on for its latest recording project, the 11th on the Philharmonia Baroque Productions label. With a cast of early music specialists led by noted Handelian Nicholas McGegan, PBO makes a strong case for Joseph to regain its place among Handel's most often-performed oratorios such as Samson, Judas Maccabaeus, and Israel in Egypt.
The formidable cast includes the award-winning Philharmonia Chorale led by Bruce Lamott; mezzo-soprano Diana Moore as Joseph; tenor and GRAMMY nominee Nicholas Phan as Simeon and Judah, two of Joseph's brothers; soprano Sherezade Panthaki as Asenath, daughter of the high priest; and baritone Philip Cutlip as Pharaoh and Reuben, Joseph's eldest brother. Phan, who will sing the title role in Handel's Judas Maccabaeus during PBO's 2019/20 season, gives dramatic depth to the character of Simeon, who undergoes remarkable development, from fierce and tortured to pious and sympathetic, worthy of Joseph's tears. The character of Asenath, originally portrayed by French soprano Élisabeth Duparc, for whom the title role in Semele was created, has several dazzling arias, particularly "Prophetic raptures swell my breast" in Part III. They are executed with show-stopping gusto by Panthaki.
In order to appease the somewhat provincial tastes of King Louis XV, composer Jean-Philippe Rameau and his librettist Voltaire altered the original version of Le Temple de la Gloire, and for centuries it was lost. The manuscript was discovered-at the University of California, Berkeley's Jean Hargrove Music Library and was brought to the attention of conductor Nicholas McGegan. For decades, maestro McGegan dreamed of reviving the original work-a dream realized in April 2017 through a partnership between Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, Centre de musique de Versailles in France and New York Baroque Dance Company.