HollywoodSoapbox - John Soltes writes......Celebrated pianist Jeni Slotchiver has built a career out of musical exploration. She has interpreted many well-known composers in the classical music realm, particularly from the 20th century. Her new project is a survey of songs from the vast African-American musical tradition. Her album's title speaks to this expansive journey into the past: American Heritage: From the Civil War to Civil Rights.
On the recording, which has recently been released by ZOHO, Slotchiver includes compositions by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Margaret Bonds and Louis Moreau Gottschalk, among several others. The selections range from the traditional folk song "Shenandoah" to Frederic Rzewski's "Down by the Riverside".
"This is music I have been close to practically my whole life," the pianist said in a recent phone interview. "I was exposed to all kinds of music when I was younger. Clearly I'm a classical music nerd, but I loved gospel, blues, jazz. I love popular music, and I heard all kinds of music in our home. I did spend my early years in the South, and so there were some quite memorable moments of experiencing the music live there."
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Rowan University' Bret McCandless writes.........Great performances and recordings of their work can go a long way in helping solidify the reputation of any composer. The GRAMMY Award-winning Catalyst Quartet is working to use their immense talent to highlight chamber music by composers who may have been overlooked because of their race or gender with a new series of recordings, titled Uncovered. Volume One, featuring early works by Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, promises an exceptional project, bringing the incredible playing of a top-tier string quartet to finely selected repertoire.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor may not be a household name to some classical music fans, but in his lifetime he was highly regarded as a conductor and as the composer of Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, one of the most performed choral works of the late nineteenth century.
The first volume of Uncovered arrives with a bang in the first chords and confident opening theme of Coleridge-Taylor's Piano Quintet in G minor, op. 1, announcing that the works in the series demand to be heard. The first movement, Allegro con moto, is a sonata-form opening movement that introduces some of Coleridge-Taylor's signature sounds: a blend of seriousness and playfulness, immersion in Romantic harmony, and a fascination with alternating and layering duple and triple divisions of the beat. Throughout the quintet, Coleridge-Taylor pits the piano (helmed by the brilliant Stewart Goodyear) against the strings, alternating focus, while also creating a variety of textures and moods. The Larghetto is Chopinesque in its lyricism and chromaticism, with beautiful solo playing by Karla Donehew Perez on the violin and Karlos Rodriguez on the cello. The Scherzo is jolting with its rhythmic play. The closing movement opens in an uncertain meter and distant E-flat major, but quickly finds its way back to G minor and a race to the finish. This is the most exciting of the movements, with a miniature vivace fugue that shows off Coleridge-Taylor's counterpoint chops and ramps up tension to an exhilarating finish.
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Classic 107 - Winnipeg CAN Host Chris Wolf had the opportunity to Zoom chat with world renowned pianist Benjamin Grosvenor about his latest recording. A recoding featuring the music of Liszt.
The English pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is one of today's most sought after pianists. Ever since winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year at the age of 12 in 2004, Grosvenor has developed an International career that has seen him perform with the world's top Orchestras and make several award winning recordings on the Decca Record label.
Benjamin Grosvenor's latest release that comes today, February 19, 2021 features the music of Liszt…and not just any Liszt! Grosvenor has recorded some of the most difficult and monumental music that Liszt ever composed:
Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178
Berceuse, S. 174ii
Tre sonetti di Petrarca, S. 161/4-6
Réminiscences de Norma, S. 394 (after Bellini)
Ave Maria, S. 558/12 (after Schubert)
When asked why Grosvenor chose to record the music of Liszt Grosvenor says "He had so many sides to him as a person but also as a musician…some composers I suppose, if you were to devote and entire disc to them you might worry about a lack of variety, but with Liszt and his compositional output, there's such a lot of variety and there is also the fact he was such an incredible transcriber of other people's music. He had amazing gifts in taking a whole opera and summarizing it in to a paraphrase of 15 minutes."
What Grosvenor is referring to is his recording of the Reminiscences de Norma (after Bellini) that can be found on this latest disc. A piece that demands that the pianist is totally secure in his technique, and also that he has a clear idea of the narrative that Liszt is trying to get across in the music. Grosvenor succeeds in spades on both counts!
The centre-piece of his latest recording is the vast and expansive Liszt B minor sonata. This is a sonata that would send lesser mortal pianists running for the exit due to its technical requirements, intense interpretive demands, and need for sheer endurance needed by the pianist. The piece is in one large chunk that lasts roughly 30 minutes. As Grosvenor says "It's a piece to be consumed in its entirety" And what a feast! Grosvenor has shown that he is clearly up to the task. He has made a recording that is 30 minutes of sheer delight. The interpretation is engaging, and interesting; this combined with Grosvenor's technical perfection and innate ability to sing through the piano make this truly a musical banquet; complete with sides, tea and fine French pastries.
"It's an extraordinary journey filled with so many different emotions…throughout there is this kind of contrast between the divine and the diabolical," says Grosvenor. "There is this sort of devilish element which he sets out in the characters that we hear on the very first page...In terms of the structure, the whole piece is developed from material we hear in the first minute of the piece."
Throughout so many of his recordings and performances Benjamin Grosvenor has proven himself to be a master of lyricism and the ability to change tonal colors at the drop of a hat, as the music requires. This element of Grosvenor's playing comes shining through in his interpretations of the three Petracha Sonettos that come from Liszt's 2nd Book of Years of Pilgrimage. These pieces can also be found on the disc. "They are intimate works, they are inspired by poems of the 14th century poet Petrach," Grosvenor says. "They are all love poems essentially, and Liszt picks three that offer three contrasting visions of love." Here again Benjamin Grosvenor manages to bring out the tenderness and also the dramatic aspects of these three pieces.
This latest recording of the music of Liszt marks not only his latest triumph on record, but it also marks Grosvenor's renewal of his contract with Decca Records. "It's great to be continuing my partnership with them. I've recorded for Decca for ten years now, I signed when I was 18. I hope there will be many more years to come, and I look forward to the next few discs we have with this contract."
For us as listeners let's hope the partnership Grosvenor has with Decca is long and fruitful, because if this if this latest disc is anything to go by, it is going to fantastic partnership!
If you missed Chris Wolf's conversation with Benjamin Grosvenor, you can see the entire Zoom conversation here:
ClassicsToday Jed Distler writes.....Per Nørgård composed his first solo cello sonata between the ages of 19 and 21. His seriousness, sensitivity, and strong personality were clearly present early on. The first movement's brooding lyricism never turns on itself, while the microtonal gestures are expressively discreet and anything but gimmicky. The Allegro con brio finale is like a fragmented or interrupted gigue, where sudden double stops and pizzicato chords seemingly challenge the music's dance-like profile.
Wilhelmina Smith's lustrous sonority, wide dynamic range, and impeccable control in the highest registers bring forth the music's potential for color and drama. She conveys similar eloquence and sustaining power throughout No. 2, which consists of two pieces written nearly 27 years apart, and imparts an appropriately incantatory tone throughout the plaintive slides in the brief No. 3's "Prayer" outer movements.
Poul Ruders' Bravour-Studien is essentially a set of variations based on the Rennaissance era's greatest hit "L'homme armé". Ruders pushes the cellist's capabilities in many directions, from hard-to-voice pizzicato flourishes and sul ponticello effects to leaping chords and low-lying runs that must murmur without sounding muddy.
Smith's technical aplomb allows her to navigate Ruders' hurdles without difficulty. That said, I prefer Morten Zeuthen's more volatile and daring interpretation on Dacapo. His quavering vibrato in the opening Overture, for instance, immediately raises the emotional stakes, and the Etude boasts more abandon than in Smith's relatively careful reading, which, however, boasts more reliable intonation. While she nonchalantly dispatches the Intermezzo's arpeggiated chords, Zeuthen patiently spells them out, creating more of a contrast to the quiet pizzicato rejoinders. An unqualified recommendation for the Nørgård, but listeners interested in the Ruders should sample both Smith and Zeuthen.
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Beginning Monday, March 8 at 8 pm PT, Lara Downes will host "Evening Music with Lara Downes," a nightly program featuring classical music spanning centuries and styles, specially chosen and explored to reveal unique insights and context. Additionally, as the station's first-ever Resident Artist, Lara will curate and create new digital content that will engage the California community and give KDFC listeners a more in-depth look at the creativity and history that has shaped our musical lives.
Pianist Lara Downes is a sought-after performer, Billboard Chart-topping recording artist, producer, curator, activist, and arts advocate. Her dynamic work positions her as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene. Lara's musical roadmap seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family, and collective memory, excavating the broad landscape of American music to create a series of acclaimed performance and recording projects that serve as gathering spaces for her listeners to find common ground and shared experience.
Current Host of the Evening Program, Rik Malone will still be featured as a host and continue to program the music for much of the KDFC schedule. Here's soem Q&A with Lara
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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99.5CRB - Boston's Cathy Fuller writes.....Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor talks about his personal and passionate testament to the visionary spirit of Franz Liszt, prepared and recorded in the dark months of COVID. Grosvenor is twenty-eight, and yet his remarkable musicianship has been capturing the hearts of the public for a long time. He won the BBC Young Musician Competition at eleven, when his imagination and technical prowess were already producing an uncanny brand of maturity and sparkle.
Now, in isolation as the COVID lockdown drags on in London, he has focused on the kaleidoscopic output of Franz Liszt. In our conversation, he talks about being so close to Liszt, while remaining so distant from life as it used to be. (See a full transcript below.)
Building around the epic Sonata in B minor, Grosvenor includes the magical (and ferociously taxing) Reminiscences of Norma, as well as the three Petrarch Sonnets from the exquisite Years of Pilgrimage. Also included is a haunting account of a rarely-played version of the Berceuse and the beautiful reworking of Schubert's song Ave Maria. The result is a fresh and loving recording, dedicated to the grandfather he recently lost, who inspired Benjamin to play the piano in the first place.
The challenges in Liszt's music are many and monumental, like pacing the climaxes as they arrive one after another (as in his transcription of themes from Bellini's Norma), or getting a melody to sing out with your thumbs while the rest of your fingers are busy conjuring elaborate atmospheres (in the Ave Maria).
One of the greatest challenges is in the Sonata, keeping an immense, over-arching structure intact while moments of beauty erupt spontaneously. As Grosvenor said in our interview, "Only as time progresses do you realize that it's actually part of this great master plan that [Liszt] has, that goes over the massive breadth and length of this piece."
LISTEN TO THE 99.5CRB - Boston SEGMENT
Grammy-nominated cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, vocalist / accordionist Mira Stroika and composer / pianist William Susman perform a blend of influences in these film scores seen on PBS Television, over 20 film festivals world-wide, museums in New York and San Francisco, and WINNER of the Tribeca Film Festival.
In her first new recording in a decade, Joy Harjo – the first Native American named Poet Laureate of the United States – digs deep into the indigenous red earth and the shared languages of music to sing, speak and play a stunningly original musical meditation that seeks healing for a troubled world – I Pray for My Enemies, to be released from Sunyata Records/Sony Orchard Distribution on March 5, 2021.
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.
Yo-Yo Ma - Bach Cello Suites shouldn't be used as background music / STAGEANDCINEMA
Posted: November 10, 2018 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
So when you buy Yo-Yo Ma's new release of the Cello Suites from Sony Classical (which you must), it shouldn't be used as background music. It is your opportunity to get involved by participating with your senses, not just your ears. While the 36-year-old Weilerstein did a remarkable job yesterday (the memorization of two and one half hours of music alone boggles the mind), Yo-Yo Ma's new rendition is less practical and more emotional and precise, more worldly and magical, more solid and wise. This isn't to dish Weilerstein, as her interpretation was truly valid and improved as the night wore on, but this - Ma's third go-around recording the Suites - is also, shall we say, more mature and insightful than his own previous releases. Very little is spelled out by Bach as far as tempo and mood, so there is great room for interpretation.
On March 8, Sony Classical will release a recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen's cello concerto featuring Yo-Yo Ma and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Salonen's baton. Co-commissioned for Ma by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Barbican Centre, and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Salonen's cello concerto premiered on March 9, 2017 with Salonen himself conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ma and the concerto then came to the New York Philharmonic on March 17, 2017, with then-Music Director Alan Gilbert conducting; Ma and Gilbert continued the premiere season with performances at London's Barbican Centre and Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie. This recording captures the live performance in Los Angeles on February 8, 2018.
YO-YO MA releases Six Evolutions – Bach: Cello Suites today. The new album from Sony Classical marks Ma's third and final recording of the works and celebrates his nearly six-decade-long relationship with the music. Six Evolutions – Bach: Cello Suites is available to stream and download now on all digital service providers and for purchase as a 3-LP 180-gram vinyl set.
As Ma's "constant musical companions" for almost 60 years, Bach's Cello Suites first entered the cellist's life at the age of four, when he learned the first measure of the Prélude to Suite No. 1 under his father's instruction. His Grammy Award-winning first complete recording of the suites was made in his late twenties. His second, Inspired by Bach, was released in his early forties and recorded alongside a multi-genre, collaborative exploration of the works. Both previous recordings of the Cello Suites, also on Sony Classical, became landmarks in classical discography, as well as milestones in Ma's musical life. Since then these works have been a through line in his life, guiding him through times of happiness as well as hardship, prompting Ma to ask, "What power does this music possess that even today, after three hundred years, it continues to help us navigate through troubled times?"
CBS/Sony Classical has been accompanying superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma for decades on his journey through the unsurpassed works written for his instrument by Johann Sebastian Bach. The label is now pleased to announce the release of important landmarks from that journey, Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach, on a single CD. Ma's first recording of Bach's six Solo Suites, which went on to win the Grammy? for "Best Classical Instrumental Performance" and is represented here by the Sarabande from the Sixth Suite, took place in 1982. In the same year, Yo-Yo Ma recorded Bach's complete sonatas for viola da gamba with harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper which was hailed by Gramophone as "intelligent and expressive."
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Imagine a party, a musical party inspired by the holiday season. A party that celebrates the universal hopes, dreams and joy animating seasonal festivals the world over Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, Kwanzaa, Yule and New Year's Day. That is what brought Yo-Yo Ma together with a remarkable group of friends to create Yo-Yo Ma & Friends Songs of Joy & Peace, a new album of songs from Sony Masterworks.
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An Essential Collection From Yo-Yo Ma. One Of The Most Popular Musicians Of Our Time! 34 Incredible tracks spanning Yo-Yo Ma's entire career - From his Academy Award winning performance on: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and his Grammy Winning Soul Of The Tango: to his latest Silk Road Ensemble recording: Beyond the Horizon.
8 ADD's this week: 68 Stations now "ON"
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Comprising ninety discs, Yo-Yo Ma: 30 Years Outside the Box is a salute to Yo-Yo Ma's monumental musical achievements and to his 30-year legacy with Sony Masterworks. The exciting story of his life and work is eloquently told in a quality hard bound book of over 312 pages, lavishly illustrated with more than 150 color and black-and-white archival photos, original album artwork, liner notes and credits. Further enriching the story of this musical giant is a warm and insightful foreword by his longtime friend and esteemed fellow artist, pianist Emanuel Ax, as well as a lengthy, insightful essay by noted critic Richard Dyer.
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Yo-Yo Ma's latest recording for Sony Classical, Appassionato, is a journey through some of the world's most romantic music-from Mendelssohn to Gershwin to John Williams. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, and with a CD catalogue of astonishing breadth and depth, Yo-Yo Ma has consistently been one of the top-selling classical artists in the world. His recordings have earned him a total of fifteen Grammy Awards.
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