AnalogPlanet's Michael Fremer writes.....Impulse! Records, founded in 1960 by Creed Taylor and home to some of the greatest jazz artists of all time including John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and Quincy Jones, among many others, this year celebrates its 60th anniversary.
The orange-and-black imprint known as the "House That Trane Built" was a cultural beacon of progressivism, spiritualism, and activism throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the label thrives with a new vanguard of jazz artists including Shabaka Hutchings, Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, Brandee Younger, Ted Poor and others.
Jamie Krents, EVP of Verve and Impulse! says, "Impulse! Records has an important and enduring legacy that we are proud to celebrate during this anniversary year. We are thrilled to unveil new music, visual content, merchandise, partnerships and more. The famous orange label has been the musical home to progressive artists that pushed the boundaries of music, thought, and culture. Impulse! continues this legacy with a commitment to our history, and our future with artists like Shabaka and Brandee, who both carry the torch and blaze new trails. We are proud to share the story of this remarkable label with the world in this, its 60th year."
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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. Set for international release 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.
HH made some time available TODAY!! to speak with radio stations about the new release. The list includes
KDFC: San Francisco
Spokane Public Radio: WA
WGTE: Toledo OH
WCMU: Mount Pleasant MI
WCPE: Wake Forest NC
WMHT: Schenectady NY
WQLN: Erie PA
WOMR Provincetown MA
Winnipeg's CLASSIC107: Canada
A Quiet Madness features three piano pieces, a piano and violin duet, a series of seven scenes for four flutes and a solo accordion piece that was composed as a response to Hurricane Katrina. The album immerses the listener in a photorealistic sound world of understated beauty. At once calming and thought-provoking, it allows the ear and mind to make their own connections without feeling overwhelmed by thematic constraints. William Susman's precise harmonic and rhythmic languages invite us into a subdued, enchanting expression of madness that roams all over the map, akin to the mind wandering during a rainy day-or, perhaps clairvoyantly, akin to the strange passage of time spent in self-isolation during the collective trauma of COVID-19.
Harmonious World Podcast's Hilary Robertson conducts her first podcast with William Susman and extracts from the composer's music. LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
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CRB's BRIAN MCCREATH writes.....Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andris Nelsons describes the three online performances he conducts, each of them featuring Beethoven symphonies, and works inspired by them, written by composers of our time.
In January 2020, Nelsons and the BSO were looking ahead to a concert tour of Asia, followed by the last chapters of the 2019-2020 season. The tour, however, was cancelled as the now world-wide pandemic took hold in the very countries the orchestra was to have visited. And eventually, those last dynamic chapters of the season, including Nelsons's return, were also stricken from the schedule.
In a radically changed world, Nelsons and the orchestra were finally reunited to record three concerts for BSO Now, the Boston Symphony's online concert series. And in a remotely-produced interview, Nelsons described each concert, revealing the ways his relationship with Beethoven's symphonies have evolved, as well as how the impact of those symphonies is refracted through compositional voices of our time.
I began by asking Nelsons to describe the feeling of returning to Symphony Hall after being gone for so long.
LISTEN TO THE 99.5:CRB - Boston SEGMENT
The New York Times - David Allen writes....For his new album, Benjamin Grosvenor delved into historical recordings of the daunting Sonata in B minor. "This is music that's probably not supposed to be played cleanly," Benjamin Grosvenor said of Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor, the centerpiece of his new album.
How do the great musicians prepare to play the great works? Each has his or her own methods, and tends to keep the strategy quiet, a secret key to success.
One thing that distinguishes the subtle Benjamin Grosvenor, 28, from the rest of the pack of young star pianists is his extensive knowledge of historical recordings. This listening has paid off in a spellbinding Liszt recording out on Decca on Friday, crowned with a typically thoughtful account of the treacherous Sonata in B minor.
"I almost feel like you should know the notable recordings of a work like this," Grosvenor said of the sonata in a recent interview. "More than anything, it helps you understand what works and what doesn't work. You react to some things positively and you react to some things negatively, and that fuels your imagination."
What do you think about the opening bars of the sonata, which are so spare compared to what follows?
It's foreboding, and mysterious, and a little bit threatening. It would be quite interesting to just line up eight recordings of the first bar. For someone who is a music lover but who is not that acquainted with putting a piece together, it might just be interesting to hear how two notes can essentially be interpreted in so many different ways.
There are many valid approaches. What Vladimir Horowitz does in a large hall in his Carnegie recording, this kind of demonic thing, works very well. Cherkassky's is interesting; it sounds like he's improvising, like it's something that's just come to him in the moment, but it's obviously conscious because he executes it in the same way at the end of the slow movement as well.
I was aiming for something mysterious, almost - so the notes are not too present. They're quite soft, very much like plucked strings, the bass more in it than the treble, like what Alfred Brendel does.
So comparisons with orchestral sounds help you define what you are trying to achieve, even in a work as pianistic as this?
As a pianist you've been playing the piano all of your life; you have a natural association with piano sound. So it's only when you're forced to put it into words that you try to make those associations. But it is an appropriate way to think, because, for most composers, the piano is always trying to imitate other instruments, because of its nature as a percussion instrument. Again, it's a line of thought that adds fire to the imagination, and the colors that you then draw out.
One of the challenges in the piece is how to create tension over the whole, or even just over shorter periods of double octaves, or continuous fortissimo dynamics. You picked out a section near the start as an example.
In this double-octave passage there is a lot of fortissimo playing, and you vary that in terms of dynamics, but the meter is the same for a while, with these continuous quavers.
Horowitz, in the final rise and descent, just pushes through. There's lots of wrong notes, but it's raw. It's exceptionally difficult because of the octaves, but if you can push through it in that way I think it's very effective, all the way to the lowest note on the piano.
So when you are playing the piece live, does atmosphere matter more than precision in passages like this?
Yes, this is music that's probably not supposed to be played cleanly. Part of the struggle is, it is technically difficult, but that's what makes it exciting. Someone said of Horowitz that his playing is not exciting because he plays fast, but because he plays faster than he can. In this music there's an element of that. Lupu generates the tension in a different way; it's tension by holding back, by creating a limit that you're working against.
Then the slow movement poses quite different challenges.
It's magical music. The most incredible bit for me is this ascending line in the right hand, the scales after the climax. It's the most static point of the piece, and a groove needs to be found between static to the point of no motion, and finding the magic that's in it. Not to play it too casually. Claudio Arrau there is very special; it's such a wonderful moment with these triple pianissimos - finding that beautiful color, and where to take the time.
Then comes the fugue, a moment when I'm always wondering how fast a pianist is going to try to play. Is this another place where aura matters more than accuracy?
The counterpoint needs to be clear. So it's the point at which you can still characterize it, and that point is different for each pianist, as long as it builds and builds gradually to the right point.
Intellectually speaking it's not necessarily correct, but I quite like the idea of treating the first five bars as a kind of fanfare. They don't carry enough to push forward out of the slow movement, so to me they inevitably sit somewhere in between if you are going to take it at that tempo. I like the change of pace there.
The magic, and the music, of the slow movement return on the very last page.
It's this final transition from darkness to light: the rumbling in the left hand, then the way that it ascends to the top of the piano. Those diminished chords are little shards of light, then it comes away to the very low notes, then these transcendent last chords. That's what the last page is about: transcendence. You can't help but think that the last note is an awakening from a dream.
Close listening brought out the enormous range of possibilities in a work that presents an intellectual challenge of interpretation as much as a punishing test of technique. The piece is a Faustian struggle between the diabolical and the divine; the question is how to make it cohere over more than 30 minutes.
Image“You react to some things positively and you react to some things negatively,” Grosvenor said, “and that fuels your imagination.”
"You react to some things positively and you react to some things negatively," Grosvenor said, "and that fuels your imagination."Credit...Kalpesh Lathigra for The New York Times
There is no single answer. The example of Radu Lupu points in one direction. "It has this great inevitability about it," Grosvenor said of Lupu's interpretation. "In terms of the way he controls the pulse it's quite symphonic, and also in the kinds of sounds he produces."
Shura Cherkassky, a figure beloved of pianophiles whose impulsive, visionary performances were so idiosyncratic that Grosvenor said he would never dare imitate them, offers something else in a live recording from 1965. "Sometimes it feels kind of improvisatory and sometimes he doesn't quite do what's written in the score," Grosvenor said. "But he somehow makes this miracle of his own unique narrative from it."
Perils lurk whichever way a pianist turns. "The danger in pursuing this symphonic, quite rigid, controlled outlook is that it could quite easily become something more of an academic exercise than the fantastical piece that it is," Grosvenor said. "And obviously if you go along the Cherkassky route, you could make it sound like something that doesn't make much sense."
If Grosvenor successfully traces a course between those extremes, he also takes inspiration from how his forebears have resolved the many difficulties in a work of this scale. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
RollingStone's ANDY GREENE writes......Peter Gabriel has re-recorded his 1980 protest classic "Biko" with help from 25 musicians from around the globe, including Beninese vocalist and activist Angélique Kidjo, Yo-Yo Ma, the Cape Town Ensemble, Sebastian Robertson, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello.
The video was produced by Sebastian Robertson and Mark Johnson as part of Playing for Change's Song Around the World initiative.
The original song was written as a tribute to South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who was murdered in police custody in 1977, but Gabriel tells Rolling Stone that it still holds incredible meaning today. "Although the white minority government has gone in South Africa, the racism around the world that apartheid represented has not ," he says. "Racism and nationalism are sadly on the rise. In India, Myanmar and Turkey, Israel and China, racism is being deliberately exploited for political gain."
"On the black/white front the Black Lives Matter movement has made it very clear how far we still have to go before we can hope to say we have escaped the dark shadow of racism," he adds.
READ THE FULL RollingStone ARTICLE & WATCH THE VIDEO
The Honeywell Arts Academy will launch in June of 2021 with three separate programs for double-bassists, pianists, and instrumentalists. The Violin Channel recently caught up with Ranaan Meyer, artistic director of the Honeywell Arts Academy. Here';s some Q&A
Tell us about the Honeywell Arts Academy? When was it founded and what is its main mission?
Auditions are happening now for the Honeywell Arts Academy which launches this June, and I am so proud to be artistic director. Thirteen years ago I started a bass camp with my buddies Hal Robinson of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Juilliard, and Curtis faculty, and Eric Larson of the Houston Symphony. That vision was completely ideal.
The concept was - through a philosophy we follow called Sharing of Knowledge - to accept extraordinary bass players to come hang out with us for a week. We would swap ideas, play for each other, make music together, and push our musical boundaries.
Thirteen years later, we are blown away by the people who have come to attend. They are now in orchestras like the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Concertgebouw, and more. Because of the success, we are launching the expansion of this program for all instruments called Honeywell Arts Academy. PHOTO: Amanda Reynolds
READ THE FULL Violin Channel Q&A
Milan Records today announces the February 12 release of MINARI (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by award-winning composer EMILE MOSSERI (The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Kajillionaire).
The third volume in David Korevaar's highly acclaimed series devoted to Lowell Liebermann's solo piano music (MSR Classics MS1688) continues his journey of recording all of Liebermann's works for the piano.
Grammy and Oscar-nominated songwriter and composer Stephan Moccio has released a brand new solo piano version of ‘Earned It', a track he co-wrote and co-produced with The Weeknd for the 2015 blockbuster film Fifty Shades of Grey.
This brand-new recording marks the continuation of Leipzig's Bruckner Cycle with Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester
Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig continue their award-winning Bruckner cycle.
‘Vladimir's Blues' is about fragile beauty and the power of small things to elevate our everyday experience. Yulia Mahr's short film unlocks the positive power of a technology originally developed for surveillance and military purposes. She essentially subverts that purpose, using thermal imaging cameras – which transform infrared radiation (heat) into visible images – in a creative context to shape a narrative about a composition and the inspiration behind it.
‘Vladimir's Blues' has so far received over 105 million streams and is Max Richter's No.1 streaming track. The Blue Notebooks was not only a protest album, but meditation on violence in general, and particularly the violence that Richter experienced around him as a child. Max Richter would escape his unhappy childhood through music, literature and a love and fascination for beautiful things – especially butterflies. Mahr poignantly highlights Richter's story of a lost child escaping into music in ‘Vladimir's Blues' and also leans on her own difficult childhood.
Max Richter and Deutsche Grammophon are set to release a brand-new orchestral composition to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birthday. Beethoven – Opus 2020 was commissioned by the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, birthplace of the composer and now a museum, cultural institution and research centre. The British composer's new work will be available on all digital streaming platforms from 17 December, the day on which Beethoven was born. Its world premiere performance is scheduled to take place at the Beethoven-Haus on 16 December and will be streamed live on Deutsche Grammophon's Facebook page. Andante Loops, a piece for solo piano derived by Richter from his Opus 2020 score, meanwhile received its premiere on 11 December in Apple Music's Beethoven Room. The two works will be paired together on a digital EP, available from 18 December.
Over a decade after its inception, ground-breaking composer Max Richter announces the release of VOICES – a major new recording project inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The first single from his uplifting new work, which he describes as "a place to think and reflect", is out today via Decca Records. It is the latest album from the innovative, billion-streaming artist behind landmark 2015 composition SLEEP, which continues to evolve five years on with the launch of a new app. Available to download now, the app enables listeners to reimagine the 8-hour Deutsche Grammophon recording in custom-made musical sessions to help with focus, meditation and sleep. At the heart of both VOICES and SLEEP is a profound sense of global community, born out of Richter's career-long view of music as activism and his desire to unite audiences worldwide.
Max Richter's score for the 2018 drama Never Look Away is released on DG. The latest from director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarch (Lives of Others), Never Look Away is inspired by the life of artist Gerhard Richter through the story of an art student in post-war East Germany. The film was selected as the German entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards and stars Tom Schiling, Sebastian Koch and Paula Beer.
Composer Max Richter has written a compelling and dramatic score for the upcoming historical drama, Mary Queen of Scots. Directed by Josie Rourke and starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, the movie explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart and her attempt to overthrow her cousin, Elizabeth I, Queen of England. The lavish orchestral score features a full orchestra and eclectic vocal pieces.
Max Richter wrote the score for White Boy Rick, the story of teenager Richard Wershe Jr., who became an undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s and was ultimately arrested for drug-trafficking and sentenced to life in prison. Directed by Yann Demange and starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the film arrives in theaters September 14.
DG releases a new, deluxe edition of Max Richter's The Blue Notebooks to celebrate its 15th anniversary with brand new artwork as well as new arrangements, remixes and a previously unreleased new track. Written in 2003, The Blue Notebooks was originally composed in protest to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and features readings by Tilda Swinton of selections from Kafka's The Blue Octavo Notebooks and Czesław Miłosz's Hymn of the Pearl and Unattainable Earth.
The latest film from director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), Hostiles stars Christian Bale as a legendary Army captain in 1892 who reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) and his family through dangerous territory. The Hostiles soundtrack features music by composer Max Richter (The Leftovers, Sleep). Richter has received both Grammy and Emmy nominations for his work in film and television. Recent awards include The European Film Academy Award for Waltz with Bashir, the International Film Music Critics Award for The Leftovers, and a German Film Award and Australian Film Critics Award for Lore.