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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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'
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
Max Richter's trailblazing 2015 composition Sleep is now available to download with the launch of a new app. The app enables listeners to reimagine the 8-hour Deutsche Grammophon recording in custom-made musical sessions to help with focus, meditation and sleep which many people will need in the midst of the pandemic lockdown. It brings to a wider audience some of the experience shared by those lucky enough to attend Richter's extraordinary eight-hour overnight performances of Sleep – complete with beds – including LTW's own Tim Cooper who wrote about it here when it came to London in 2017.
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In episode 925 of "ANIMAJAZZ", conceived and conducted by BRUNO POLLACCI , broadcast TUESDAY June 30 at 20.30, on PUNTORADIO, also streaming on www.puntoradio.fm and in an immediate podcast on http: // animajazz. eu will be the protagonists CARLA BLEY - ANDY SHEPPARD - STEVE SWALLOW - CD "Life Goes On" - "Life Goes On_ III. And On "(ECM).
The third volume of a sequence of albums begun with Trios in 2013 and continued with Andando El Tiempo (2016), Life Goes On – once more recorded in Lugano and produced by Manfred Eicher - features striking new music from American pianist/composer Carla Bley, whose trio with saxophonist Andy Sheppard and bassist Swallow has a long history. (Their first recording in trio format was Songs with Legs, recorded for the ECM-distributed WATT label in 1994.) Bley has composed for ensembles of every size but, over time, the trio has established itself as an ideal unit for expressing the essence of her work. Throughout Life Goes On, Carla's terse, distinctive piano, shaping phrases irreducible as Monk or Satie, is beautifully framed by Swallow's eloquent, elegant bass guitar and Sheppard's yearning saxes. This trio has a unique collective sound, reflecting – as The Telegraph recently noted – "musical mastery of a rare order".
We remind you that "ANIMAJAZZ" can be heard on TUESDAY at 20.30 in immediate podcast on http://animajazz.eu and the "DOWNLOAD" of the episode can be made, free of charge, from the podcasts area. Happy listening.
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The 2020 Juno Awards have wrapped, announcing a list of winners that has been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the in-person Saskatoon weekend of events in March. But tonight, June 29, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and CBC combined the usual two-night series of events into an hour-and-a-half-long pre-recorded special, delivering a night that Canadian music fans have been waiting for.
Winner for 'Classical album of the year: large ensemble' is Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano, The John Adams Album.
Released to coincide with Nagano's final season with the Montréal Symphony, The John Adams Album contains his key orchestral works conducted by one of his greatest, lifelong champions "Like all great pieces, each time one returns to them and restudies them, I'm able to find something more - new dimensions that I haven't seen before, other reflections of innovation and genius." - Kent Nagano on John Adams
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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.
In 1911, my conducting teacher and beloved friend Carl Bamberger, then nine years old, returned home from a day at his Viennese grade school to find his mother sitting at the kitchen table staring into space, a newspaper spread out before her. The headline stabbed young Carl straight into his heart: "Mahler is dead!"
To music loving Viennese one hundred nine years ago, the conductor Gustav Mahler was a god. Most music lovers knew that he composed as well, but Mahler was then more famous as the music director of major opera houses, such as the Court Opera in Vienna. A few years before his death he had left Austria (seen off at the station by Gustav Klimt and Alban Berg among many others) for hopefully more lucrative work at the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Mahler's sojourn in the states soon ran into whirlwind opposition by Arturo Toscanini at the Met and the ridiculously short-sighted prejudices of the patrons and lawyers at the orchestra. Mahler fled from New York City with a bacterial infection that would end his life on that day in 1911 when young Carl entered the kitchen to find his mother staring into space.
Carl's best friend Joseph Braunstein (later a well-loved musicologist and the program annotator of Musica Aeterna concerts in New York) was ten years older and had remarkable memories of Gustav Mahler during those Viennese years.
Braunstein related that he was a student of Arnold Schoenberg, the influential teacher and composer, at the conservatory in Vienna. Braunstein possessed a bold sense of humor and recalled Schoenberg throwing him out of class on more than one occasion. Braunstein remembered seeing Mahler walking alone in the Prater in Vienna, deep in thought. Braunstein, always eager, thought of going up to Mahler and introducing himself, but felt the need to check himself and did not speak, but watched the solitary composer walk by.
Braunstein later played in the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under the illustrious direction of Richard Strauss and Arthur Nikisch, but Braunstein deeply regretted never having played under Mahler.
One wonderful story remembered by Braunstein was of seeing Mahler at the performance of one of Schoenberg's premieres. While the Schoenberg piece was being played, several in the audience began to make derisive comments. One audience member was so loud and negative, the music might have been shouted down unless someone acted quickly to prevent a fiasco. Right in front of Braunstein, Mahler stood up and told the objectionable audience member to shut up, sit down, and be quiet. Mahler was immediately dumped upon by the rude audience member that at the premiere of the composer's Fifth Symphony worse obscenities had been shouted, and now Mahler should shut up and sit down!
One cannot imagine such a reaction occurring today when no one seems to care much about anything.
Yet during this time of pestilence, I have initially had great difficulty in composing or even listening to music. It does not help that I am stressed to the brink in worrying about my loved family and friends.
Gustav Mahler was no stranger to these feelings. His music is full of expressions of worry, life and death concerns, the German word angst nowhere more apt. Just listen to the beginning of the Third Symphony for its representation of the most significant and basic issues we face. Other works such The Song of the Earth, I am Lost to the Earth, Primal Light, Songs on the Death (I cannot finish the title), place Mahler straight up against the worst we may face or are indeed facing.
Carl's mother was not alone in her shock and hurt in learning about Mahler's death. The Viennese culture of the period was ravenous in its appreciation of Mahler and his contemporaries. Yet, Mahler had a special place in their hearts as he was Jewish, his conversion to Catholicism never hiding his Old Testament prophesies and cares. And for those that listened to his music, there was something that stuck and was personal. Mahler's combination of Yiddishkeit, Middle European rootlessness, cosmopolitan virtuosity, and simultaneous passion for old and new galvanized.
The Bamberger family in Vienna was no stranger in its love of Kultur. Carl's later wife Lotte Hammerschlag (a string player and the first principal viola of the Palestine Orchestra) was the daughter of Alma Schindler Mahler's personal gynecologist, Dr. Albert Hammerschlag. Dr. Hammerschlag was a neighbor and close friend of Sigmund Freud, etc. etc. When the Hammerschlags visited the Freuds for dinner, little Lotte was dispatched to the nursery only to be psychoanalyzed by Freud's daughter Anna (who later became a well-recognized child psychologist). Lotte remembered her encounters on Anna's couch with disgust.
The bottom line was that they all knew each other.
Mahler's music ponders every moment, asks questions which he often does not and cannot answer. But asks questions that were not foreign to his contemporaries and remain valid now. Macabre dances, marches by vulgar bands, lead into ecstasy or into depths from which there is no escape.
(And there was no escape for Carl's mother. After the Anschluss of 1938, she vanished into the miasma of the Holocaust, murdered in Theresienstadt.)
Despite the death of Gustav Mahler from a bacterial infection (that a few decades later might have been defeated by antibiotics) and the destruction of Viennese culture by religious hatred that gave us this music, and so much more, Mahler's lessons still ring true. His titanic symphonies are somehow directly personal, the largest means chosen for their most intimate effect.
I understand and feel deeply his intent in every bar. This is not music one can easily render over time. Musicians must shape every bar, every phrase, every note to give it context. It cannot just happen. It has to LIVE.
I will never forget Carl Bamberger and Joseph Braunstein and certainly, Carl's dear mother. They link us to Gustav Mahler, whose love and caring will forever carry us through trying times.
One lesson is to care as much as they did. Listening to this music, I cannot avoid doing just that. I look into Gustav Mahler's face and find peace.
Notes by the composer..........My Second Symphony is a work of absolute music.? It has no subtext; it tells no "story"; it just is.? I had always wished to write a four-movement symphony, containing a serious first movement, a scherzo, a lyrical slow movement, and a set of variations concluding in transcendence.? Working in 2010 with Maestra Marin Alsop and the virtuosic Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (for the California premiere of my Roller Coaster) provided inspiration to open my symphonic veins further, write a large work for large orchestra, and out came this purely instrumental symphony (my first, Symphony Pomes Penyeach, is a song cycle).? The Second Symphony is scored for full orchestra including the usual complement of winds, brass, percussion, and strings, but adding alto flute and English horn for their special pungency. Its premiere reading with The Chappaqua Orchestra in the United States was immediately followed by this recording in July, 2015 with the miraculous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at CBSO Centre in Birmingham, UK. ? The recording sessions with these great musicians confirmed the sounds, textures, timbres, rhythms, and, yes, emotions I intended to impart when I wrote the work.? It is preserved now for listeners to hear, and, I trust, be moved by ? a symphony in four movements for orchestra, plain and simple, colorful and complex, a work that is absolutely what it is.? The symphony is dedicated to Marjorie Perlin.
Duration of the Second Symphony: 36'
Michael Shapiro breathes new life into the famous Toccata from the Fifth Organ Symphony by Victorian French composer Charles-Marie Widor with this arrangement for full orchestra named Widorama! played by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by the composer. Shapiro's arrangement of the famous Toccata, frequently used by organists for weddings and church services, brings the work into the concert hall in highly dramatic fashion.
‘Archangel Concerto for Piano and Orchestra' features pianist Steven Beck (New York Philharmonic, Brooklyn Knights). The Concerto is probably the most programmatic piece of music Michael Shapiro has ever written. Archangel is in two books or movements. Book One depicts the war between the forces of good and evil set forth in John Milton's Paradise Lost. Book Two portrays Adam and Eve (and the Serpent) in Eden and their being cast out into the world we all live. Archangel is therefore about the most basic and terrifying truth, the fight between good and evil raging to this day.
‘Perlimplinito, Opera Sweet, A Lace Paper Valentine for Orchestra' contains the entr'acte music from Shapiro's first opera, based on the play by Federico Garcia Lorca. The fantastical story of an old man who falls tragically in love with a beautiful young woman who cuckolds him on their wedding night with the five races of the earth, the music of Perlimplinito is emotional, visceral, and beautifully lyrical. A perfect piece for Valentine's Day!
‘Roller Coaster for Orchestra,' is a five-minute wild ride. Premiered at the Cabrillo Festival in California by conductor Marin Alsop, the piece is a musical representation of the Coney Island (Brooklyn NY) Cyclone amusement park ride and a metaphor for life's ups and downs.