98.7WFMT: Chicago, Lisa Flynn writes.....There have been many musical dynasties throughout history – think of the Bach and Strauss families. Today, we have a new dynasty in the making with the extraordinary talents of England's Kanneh-Masons – seven brothers and sisters, all of whom play either violin, piano, or cello. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the siblings with the opportunity to join together at home for the first time in over five years, as they've performed and shared their music with the world via livestreams.
In 2020, the Kanneh-Masons also released their first-ever family album, Carnival, joined by several instrumentalist friends for Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals. Michael Morpurgo wrote delightful new poems for the beloved work, read by the author and actress Olivia Colman. (Photo: Stuart McIntyre)
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Deutsche Grammophon releases Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's performances of the complete Charles Ives symphony cycle. Called "a revelation" by the Los Angeles Times, the rarely heard symphony cycle was recorded in early 2020 as part of the LA Phil's Dvořák and Ives festival.
THE CLASSIC REVIEW's David A. McConnell writes.....Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and DG deserve our warmest thanks for releasing new recordings of these endlessly fascinating works. The label "Complete Symphonies" is misleading however, since the "New England Holidays" Symphony is not included. Given the excellence of these performances, I hope Dudamel and Los Angeles turn their attention to that work in the future. Nevertheless, it is fantastic that one of America's finest orchestras has recorded this repertoire.
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FanFare's Henry Fogel writes.....Gregoriadou is a Greek guitarist who draws a remarkably wide range of color from her guitar. The calm beauty of the third movement of the Bach violin sonata, simply marked Andante, is followed by a brilliantly executed final Allegro that manages to wed crisp articulation with lyrical flow.
Britten's Nocturnal after John Dowland, written for Julian Bream, is given a superb reading. The music is a set of variations that appear before the Dowland theme itself emerges at the end. Britten said that the music contained "disturbing images," though he never specified what they were. This is unsettled music that seems to stop and start, building tension in its halting, quiet way. Release, at least to a degree, is found at the end with Dowland's original theme. Gregoriadou's performance emphasizes the work's underlying tension without overplaying it.
Sofia Gubaidulina's Serenade was composed in 1960 when the composer was 29, and is a gentler and more introspective work than we are used to from her. At three minutes, it is also very brief. Not unlike the Britten, the music is tonally ambiguous until resolving in what Gregoriadou, in her excellent notes, calls "a therapeutic G major chord."
Jacques Hétu was a Canadian composer (1938–2010) who wrote his Suite pour guitare in 1986. It is predominantly a lyrical work, much of it at soft dynamics. The third movement, "Ballade," is marked by an underlying darkness that is relieved in the following "Rêverie." After these two quiet movements the work ends with a brilliant finale, in the style of a moto perpetuo.
What is special about this recording is Gregoriadou's focus on timbre. Her technique is exceptional, but it is always at the service of creating a sound world with a wide spectrum. Her dynamic shading in the last movement of the Hétu is astonishing, and it is so effortlessly achieved that you don't think about technique as you listen. I don't think of Gregoriadou as a guitarist. I think of her as a musician who happens to play the guitar. This is a very beautiful guitar recital, with recorded sound that makes it seem as if you are in the room with Gregoriadou, and at just the right distance for the best perspective.
HAPPY's Rian Howlett writes.....2020 was an incredible year for gaming for a few reasons. A lot of free time went around the place, imminent next-gen releases pushed everyone into a gaming frenzy, and Keanu Reeves called another man, and all of us, breathtaking. And just like the titles they represent, the video game soundtracks released in 2020 were top notch.
We trawled back through the year that was to single out who we thought brought true heat to the musical table. For the most part, these OSTs are albums you can listen to in their own right, some of them however just complemented the game so perfectly that now it's hard to think of one without the other.
From electrically charged thrash metal to spine-tingling orchestral scores, HAPPY picks the 10 best video game soundtracks of 2020. On the list is Gustavo Santaolalla - The Last Of Us Part 2.
Gustavo Santaolalla has stood as the invisible third piece of the Joel and Ellie puzzle for as long as we've known them. The guitar in the original TLOU was a sparse, exquisite affair. Barely noticeable builds, and almost entirely acoustic. It was haunting and instantly recognisable.
With all of the weapons of the contemporary music producer at his arsenal, he brought a much bigger world for our ears to play in. While absolutely different to the original, there wasn't anything lost through the shift in the music from part one to two. The Last Of Us Part 2's soundtrack is a gorgeous, expansive experience that complemented the jump from adolescence to adulthood that Ellie makes between the games.
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99.5CRB - Boston - CHRIS VOSS writes.......When I asked Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital about his newest album and how it differed from his previous mandolin albums, he answered me with a wry, winking smile: "I don't have other mandolin albums."
Which is true enough.
Avital's past albums - like the 2012 Bach album or the 2015 Vivaldi album - have mostly included pieces composed for other instruments, like the keyboard, violin, or guitar, in arrangements for mandolin. The mandolin was not the focus. As he puts it, those albums featured works that he enjoys playing "because it's beautiful music." To this day, that he plays the mandolin is simply "is a technical fact."
But with Art of the Mandolin, music written for his instrument takes center stage.
In our discussion we explore the ins and outs of the instrument, talk about how composers's social perception of the mandolin shaped how they wrote for it, hear a work that was assumed to be for keyboard but simply makes more sense played on mandolin, and chat about Avital's passion for expanding the repertoire for his instrument through frequent commissioned works.
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Welcome to a new edition of the Neon Jazz interview series with Jazz Composer & Pianist Sarah Mckenzie. When the corona virus hit in early March., she was just on tour in France and all her shows got cancelled. At the same time the US government implemented a travel ban for everyone who was traveling from the Schengen territory so Sarah was unable to return to her home in Los Angeles immediately. ‘In order not to get stuck during lockdown in a big city – she rented an old school house in the very South of England, in Hastings at the English Channel coast. It was a very romantic place from the 17th century. They had planned to stay for two weeks, in the end it was 3 1/2 months. She explains was ensured .. Enjoy ..
Neon Jazz is a radio program airing since 2011. Hosted by Joe Dimino and Engineered by John Christopher in Kansas City, Missouri giving listeners a journey into one of America's finest inventions. Take a listen on KCXL (102.9 FM / 1140 AM) out of Liberty, MO. Listen to KCXL on Tunein Radio at http://tunein.com/radio/Neon-Jazz-Wit.... You can now catch Neon Jazz on KOJH 104.7 FM out of the Mutual Musicians Foundation from Noon - 1 p.m. CST Monday-Friday at https://www.kojhfm.org/. Check us out at All About Jazz @ https://kansascity.jazznearyou.com/ne.... For all things Neon Jazz, visit http://theneonjazz.blogspot.com/
lab.fm writes....Saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias have released Some Kind of Tomorrow, an improvised duo album they worked on during coronavirus lockdown.
Bloom (soprano saxophone) and Helias (double bass) worked on the 11-track record together over the course of 2020, collaborating remotely online. The two recorded simultaneously in their respective homes and combined the tracks together in post-production, Helias explained in a Facebook post. "The first time that Jane and I improvised together through Wi-Fi sometime in April or May 2020 was a very high experience on so many levels," he said in a statement.
"We were sorting out the possibilities of making music remotely and assessing the technology and our relation to it. Once we made peace with the situation and the medium, listening, feeling, hearing and responding was the same as it ever was."
Bloom added, "There is a vibration between us that's uncanny given the circumstances and a deep need to play what was real to us just then. It's as real as it gets for two musicians who needed to create music together to try to find some way to mend the world."
Listen to the adventurous title track and purchase Some Kind of Tomorrow in its entirety via Helias' Bandcamp below.
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"The London-based trio The Comet Is Coming-made up of the saxophonist King Shabaka, the percussionist Betamax, and the keyboardist Danalogue-thrusts empyrean jazz into an apocalyptic future, where raucous psych rock and danceable electro-grooves ride lush tenor lines to outer space.
Sony Music Masterworks today announces the release of THE PROM (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX FILM), an album of music from the forthcoming Netflix film directed by Ryan Murphy and based on the hit Broadway musical from Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin, and Matthew Sklar.
The Early Dreams project represents both a return to the source and a rebirth for Constantinople. It is the start of a new cycle.
The group was born ten years ago around a meeting of the sonorous, musical and cultural worlds of two instruments-the setar and the European lute-the first, monodic and drawing melodic contours around the latter's bass lines and harmonic patterns. This dialogue was complemented by the virtuoso percussion work of Ziya Tabassian and the rich sound of the viola da gamba, which can take on the roles of both bass instrument and solo voice. Since its inception, the ensemble has travelled the world to explore new projects arising out of unique musical encounters between old manuscripts and living musical traditions. Driven by a constant desire to renew itself through creation, the group's projects draw from existing material while leaving room for informed improvisation.
This new cycle begins with Early Dreams, in which the setar, the Baroque guitar, percussion instruments and the viola da gamba mingle with the voice of our long-time collaborator Françoise Atlan over the ostinato bass lines of Spanish and Mexican diferencias from the Baroque era. We used these bass lines, drawn primarily from the works of Lucas Ruis de Ribayaz (c.1626–c.1667) and Santiago de Murcia (c.1682–c.1740), two Spanish instrumentalists and composers whose works were widely played in 17th- and 18th-century Mexico, as a starting point to recreate both instrumental and vocal works.
As part of this re-creation process, we immersed ourselves in the cultural essence of this promising New World and went to the heart of Baroque-era Mexico in search of what had fashioned the spirit of composers from the period: the fabric of the music, some written works, the grandeur of its cathedrals, and the treasures of its libraries.
The cultural context of Mexico of that time is fascinating. There is clearly a strong Spanish influence on the society and as a result on the repertoire. Yet, Baroque Mexican culture stands out from its Spanish cousin by its religious and cultural syncretism. A major intellectual figure symbolizes the spirit of the entire period for both Mexico and Spain: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648–1695), the first great Latin American poetess.
We were overwhelmed by her impassioned poetry and texts, and the musicality of her writing made us want to bring it to life again. A highly intellectual figure, Sor (sister) Juana Inés de la Cruz also composed music and was an undisputedly talented singer. However, her scores and compositions have not survived. To remedy this situation, we selected some of her poems and set them to music over known bass lines of the period. As part of this (re)creation project, we teamed up with Canadian composer Michael Oesterle and invited him to write a piece. Sharing our fascination for the poetry and time of Sor Juana, he composed Tres sonetos, a very personal reading of this famous scholar's work.
Throughout this creative process, we kept an image of Sor Juana playing and singing her poems over these ostinato bass lines in our hearts. Françoise Atlan, performing Baroque repertoire for the first time, lends her warm and unique voice to the project. Actively involved in the creative process and a veritable restorer of a flamboyant past, she devoted her remarkable talent to the service of this key literary and intellectual figure's poems. The virtuosic dialogues between the Baroque guitar, the Persian setar, the viola da gamba and the percussion instruments also recreate a unique sound, one that is characteristic of our group. It's a sound that is both ancient and modern, tinged with Mediterranean and Middle-eastern sonorities, this time with a daring gaze toward the New World, nourished with respect and admiration for one of the most celebrated women scholars of New Spain, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
The life of Sor Juana is relatively well known in spite of the normal uncertainties given the three centuries and the geographical distance separating her time and place from our own. Our modern fascination with Sor Juana could be explained by the uniqueness of her personality – an indispensable source of information is her biography written by the Mexican man of letters and diplomat Octavio Paz (1941–1998), winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1990. However, the primary source remains Sor Inés' own autobiography, entitled Respuesta a Sor Filotea (Reply to Sister Filotea), published in 1691, and virulently criticized in intellectual circles. Juana Inés de Asbaje y Ramírez de Santillana, who was born in San Miguel Nepantla, in Mexico (New Spain at the time), in 1651 (some researchers say 1648) and died in Mexico City in 1695, seems to have been the illegitimate daughter of an adventurer who never admitted his paternity and a landed woman who never married. In a world where women were not allowed access to knowledge, and in particular a formal education, the young Inés demonstrated spectacularly precocious intellectual gifts (she wrote her first text at the age of seven) and rose up against prejudice by devising a scheme to disguise herself as a man in order to attend university. Although her plan failed, her mother sent her to Mexico City in 1664, and her remarkable talents eventually drew the attention of the court of Marquis de Mancera, Viceroy of Mexico, who was charmed by this) rare instance, for the time, of a female poet, and one with such a sweet and likable nature. She soon became a lady-in-waiting of the viceroy's wife and proved to be just as brilliant in philosophy, theology, mathematics and astronomy, not to mention music, as she was in literature. She wrote with great relish, setting down poems, plays and texts to be sung at church-the popular villancicos so typical of Spanish music and essential components of the Empire's great religious feasts. Her only interest being in the arts and sciences, Juana knew full well that the monastic world would allow her to dedicate herself entirely to these pursuits. Her first attempt to enter a Carmelite convent failed, but in 1669, she was successful and turned her back on the lavish court life and took the veil, becoming Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz at the monastery of Jeronimas de Puebla, where she continued to write and fascinate her compatriots throughout the world. At the monastery, Sor Inés was free to develop her immense intelligence and devote herself to her love of literature.
What makes her œuvre so interesting is undoubtedly the numerous perspectives under which she is considered. Some see her as the ultimate expression of a certain Spanish classicism, others as incarnating the first expression of a true American identity. There are convincing justifications for either interpretation. Hence, her poem "Primer Sueño" (Early Dream), which describes the dreamlike voyages of the human soul, falls into a tradition of Spanish literature whose most obvious representative is Luis de Góngora (1561–1627), while her plays cannot but display her admiration for Calderón. But as Octavio Paz writes, numerous works, including "Primer Sueño," are influenced by the Hermetic, mystical tradition of the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher. The polemics arising from her Reply to Sister Filotea clearly illustrate the problems raised by the existence of such a brilliant woman. A response to a letter attacking her for her focus on literature and the sciences and suggesting that she instead concentrate on theology, Sor Inés' Reply is a remarkable text on the recognition of women in society of the day. It also takes a run at the inordinate power of the Inquisition, a sign that her personality, so highly appreciated by her contemporaries, also had an opinionated and determined side. Defending the place of women in society, Sor Inés was also a fervent advocate of other victims of social prejudice: She viewed prostitutes with a sympathetic regard and was also among the voices standing up for black slaves and aboriginals in Spanish territories. However, the Reply attracted the wrath of the Archbishop of Mexico, who condemned Sor Juana's "waywardness." She resolved to stop writing rather than submit to censure.
In the end, only a small portion of Sor Inés' œuvre, collected today under the title Complete Works, has survived, a quarter of it consisting of religious songs. Legend has it that her writings were saved by the Mexican viceroy's wife herself, evidence that Sor Inés' unique voice had echoed deeply among her entourage. Similarly, we now know that her texts were set to music for over a century (until the 1780s) by the most important composers of South America, though her poetry was "adapted" to local practices. It is moving to hear a voice in the struggle for liberty-a voice snuffed out by its suffocating era-sing out once again over the span of the centuries.
Constantinople's Early Dreams project represents both a return to the source and a rebirth for Constantinople. It is the start of a new cycle. The group was born ten years ago around a meeting of the sonorous, musical and cultural worlds of two instruments-the setar and the European lute-the first, monodic and drawing melodic contours around the latter's bass lines and harmonic patterns. This dialogue was complemented by the virtuoso percussion work of Ziya Tabassian and the rich sound of the viola da gamba, which can take on the roles of both bass instrument and solo voice. Since its inception, the ensemble has travelled the world to explore new projects arising out of unique musical encounters between old manuscripts and living musical traditions. Driven by a constant desire to renew itself through creation, the group's projects draw from existing material while leaving room for informed improvisation.
12 New 'ON' this week: 124 Total
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