It's to mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča's huge credit that I found myself listening to the texts Elgar set in his Sea Pictures more closely than usual. She's superb – rich-toned, and with excellent diction, her efforts highlighting my problem with this song cycle, namely that the poems set are a tad variable. "Where Corals Lie" and "Sea Slumber Song" work for me, but "The Swimmer" is too wordy by half. This is still a lovely performance, Daniel Barenboim's well-drilled Staatskapelle Berlin nail Elgar's style, the textures never too thick.
All fine, though you really need this disc for Barenboim's Falstaff. This long, Straussian "symphonic study" was a flop when premiered in 1913, though Elgar claimed to have enjoyed writing it more than anything else he'd written. It's a grower, a piece that needs repeated hearings to work its magic. I'm always floored by the quirkiness of the opening theme, an earworm that's impossible to sing. Try it and see. Barenboim understands this music's subtlety and psychological depth, and his performance has both belly laughs and pathos. Falstaff's descent into sleep and the bittersweet "Dream Interlude" are sweetly done here, and Elgar's curt ending is painful but appropriate. It's played with real warmth and affection, the Berlin brass and winds especially impressive.
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When thinking about putting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to music on Voices, Composer Max Richter tried to capture the essence of "the world we haven't made yet."
Richter has scored soundtracks and had his music placed across film and television, including recent Hollywood movies such as Mary Queen of Scots, Hostiles and Ad Astra. But Richter's also a composer who's not afraid to take on political issues in his music. In his previous works, he's responded to the conflict in Kosovo, the Iraq War and the 2005 London terrorist attacks. On his latest album, Voices, he takes inspiration from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
NPR's Gemma Watters spoke to Max Richter about the echo between the post-World War II world and today, finding a narrator after watching If Beale Street Could Talk and the way the album fits into the present moment, even though he started work on it 10 years ago.
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For a composer known to epitomize the "British" style and sound of orchestral music, the Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 by Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) sounds more like a Russian work in a Glazunov sort of way. During its lyrical passages in particular it exudes a melancholy typical of the Slavic temperament. And it's within these introspective moments, especially at the recapitulation of the opening movement's main theme near the end of the concerto, that Nicola Benedetti really shines, and lends the music a dark, autumnal tone. This creates a fine contrast to the sparkle she brings to the more technically challenging pages throughout this work. A sprawling Concerto for Violin and Orchestra that spans close to an hour, and demands a strong focus on the main narrative, from both the soloist and the conductor. Benedetti and conductor Vladimir Jurowski work well together and bring out the ebb and flow of this work very well.
Like everyone else I think of Edward Elgar in terms of mostly two of his major works, his Cello Concerto and of course the famous Pomp and Circumstance marches, so typical of his style, but having now heard this fine new recording, I must admit that this elaborate piece is a truer reflection of this composer, and should be an integral part of one's collection along with all the other famous violin concertos, especially when performed from the heart like this.
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The very definition of persistence, Bettye LaVette is among the newest inductees into the Blues Music Hall of Fame, yet she pulls her material from nearly every imaginable corner of music. In addition to her distinguished R&B output that dates to the 1960s, she has interpreted the greats of folk and country music, ranging from Bob Dylan and Patty Griffin to George Jones and Dolly Parton. Now the five-time Grammy nominee is honoring many of the Black women who inspire her with Blackbirds, a collection that takes its name from the Beatles standard. However, as LaVette has stated before, Paul McCartney wrote the song about a Black woman (as British slang refers to a girl as a "bird"). In LaVette's rendition, though, she is the one who's been waiting… and waiting… and waiting for this moment to arrive. And, in a specific allusion to this moment in history, to be free.
Set for release on the venerated Verve label, Blackbirds alights on August 28, though the Detroit-raised diva has already issued a stunning rendition of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," as well as Nina Simone's "I Hold No Grudge" and Sharon Robinson's "One More Song." (Songs recorded by Ruth Brown, Lou Rawls, Dinah Washington, and jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson are featured on the album, too.) Look for our two-part interview with this candid and compelling entertainer, who's now based in New Jersey, later this month. Until then, enjoy our BGS Essentials playlist of August's Artist of the Month, Bettye LaVette.
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His music sinks deep into the question not only of who we are, but who we aspire to be. His works have been streamed over a billion times and, perhaps more importantly than that, he is the composer to whom we turn as we try to find truth in this world.
His new album, Voices, is just out, and it is a work almost beyond categorisation. Voices started as a small idea ten years ago when Richter composed a short piece called "Mercy" in response to events around Guantanamo Prison. Richter's aim was to write a piece to think to, a piece which would provoke us, inspire us, beguile us, something within which we could let our minds go to the most important things in our world.
And he has succeeded. The original piece "Mercy" is now at the end of the album, which combines Richter's new compositions with readings, in many different languages, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration was created after the horrors of the Second World War.
"All human beings are born free and equal, in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of community."
Ed Ayres interviews Max Richter READ & LISTEN TO ABC - Australia
Daniel Barenboim is one of the most famous classical musicians on the planet and one of the greatest artists of our time. As a pianist he is particularly admired for his interpretations of the works of Mozart and Beethoven. Since his conducting debut in 1967 he has been in great demand as a conductor with the world's leading orchestras. Daniel Barenboim was married to cellist Jacqueline du Pré and they became the music industry's golden couple. In 1999 he founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, with the academic Edward Said, which features Arab and Israeli musicians. Daniel Barenboim is currently music director of the Berlin Sate Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin. Discover more about his life and music.
Daniel Barenboim's latest release in his acclaimed Elgar series is Elgar's Sea Pictures and Falstaff.
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Supergroup Goat Rodeo featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, multi-instrumentalist Stuart Duncan and bassist Edgar Meyer are featured in the latest installment of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert‘s #PlayAtHome video series. The quartet is joined by vocalist Aoife O'Donovan for a performance of "The Trappings."
"The Trappings" appears on the group's recently released sophomore studio album, Not Our First Goat Rodeo. O'Donovan is also featured on the studio version of the song from the quartet's first LP since 2011's The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Yo-Ya Ma told the tale of "The Trappings"
‘The Trappings' came out of a question of aesthetics. I believe Edgar was talking about pop music, how he used to think, ‘Oh, if something's too poppy, I'm not going to like it.' But that's like saying ‘classical music is boring,' or that jazz, rock, rhythm-and-blues are one way, or even ‘people from different countries are'… You know that as soon as you make a general statement like that, it's not true, because you can think of hundreds, thousands of exceptions. ‘The Trappings' is one of those.
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The first-time teaming of Poland's dynamic Marcin Wasilewski Trio and big-toned US tenorist Joe Lovano brings forth special music of concentrated, deep feeling, in which lyricism and strength seem ideally balanced.
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.
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.
TWO-TIME GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER CHRISTOPHER TIN SIGNS TO DECCA GOLD ANNOUNCES MAJOR LABEL DEBUT ALBUM - TO SHIVER THE SKY
Recognized as the first artist to win a Grammy Award for music written for a video game, composer Christopher Tin will release a new album titled To Shiver the Sky on August 21.
Shabaka & The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History is a reflection of immense changes in society / JAZZ VIEWS
Posted: April 2, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Shabaka Hutchings is known to many as a key player in The Comet is Coming and Sons of Kemet and his strength of delivery and presence in a line up is formidable. Shabaka & The Ancestors' first album ‘Wisdom of Elders' released on the Brownswood label unleashed a powerful force on the music world and showed an enlightened and aware musician willing to place his beliefs and tenets before the audience as well as his music. ‘We Are Sent Here By History' is released on Impulse and is a reflection of immense changes in society – and more to come. Shabaka has referred to the album as " meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning."
Shabaka & The Ancestors came about after Shabaka visited Johannesburg to play with trumpeter/bandleader Mandla Mlangeni. Mandla connected Shabaka with a group of South African jazz musicians that Hutchings admired. After several sessions, their first album ‘Wisdom of Elders' was made. This follow-up record reunites the group, who recorded in Johannesburg and Cape Town. There is about this album a sense of urgency, an unrelenting darker energy and it is presented as a major social commentary in the context of ancient traditions. Shabaka explains this is, "what happens after that point when life as we know it can't continue."
'We Are Sent Here By History' mixes African and Afro-Caribbean traditions and takes an interesting concept - that of the griot. A griot is the holder of ancient aural traditions and the keeper of them. Therefore, an important aspect is the accompanying text to this album provided by South African performance artist Siyabonga Mthembu who chants and sings on this record and composed the lyrics. Shabaka chose song titles based on the lyrics and composed poems around each title.
Hutchings says, "'We Are Sent Here by History' is a meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning; a questioning of the steps to be taken in preparation for our transition individually and societally if the end is to be seen as anything but a tragic defeat. For those lives lost and cultures dismantled by centuries of western expansionism, capitalist thought and white supremist structural hegemony the end days have long been heralded as present with this world experienced as an embodiment of a living purgatory." With that in mind, press play.
On March 13, Shabaka & The Ancestors will make their Impulse! debut with the band's sophomore album We Are Sent Here By History. Their breakout 2016 album, Wisdom of Elders, established Shabaka & The Ancestors as a sudden force in spiritual jazz. But where that record warned of impending societal collapse, this one unfolds within it. Shabaka refers to the album as a "meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning." On the lead single "Go My Heart, Go To Heaven," Siyabonga pays homage to his father's favorite church song. The word "hamba" (or "go") is repeated, and within the context of this track, it's "about the point where one gives in and wants out of this world," Siyabonga says. "But in times of darkness is a call to the light and the heart."