On Saturday 6th June, Libera were due to perform a concert in Ely Cathedral in the UK. Due to the COVID - 19 pandemic, this event has been postponed - but......... there will still be a Concert - a Mini-Concert which will be shown online! Please join us at 7 30pm UK time, when we will be singing on-line with an orchestra like we've never done before! This will be shown as a YouTube Premier and the concert will be remain on-line after that first 'transmission'.
This concert is free for all to watch. But if you are able to make a donation to help us with the cost of presenting it we would be very grateful. UK Taxpayers can donate using JustGiving. All others can use Paypal.
Michael Whalen's "Sacred Spaces" is an epic recording nearly ten years in the making. Whalen said; "I have been pursuing a spiritual ‘awakening' for most of my adult life. Over the past decade, I realized that I am 100 percent responsible for whatever my relationship with a ‘higher being' might be." Filled with sonic landscapes built from hundreds of layers of sound, "Sacred Spaces" is Michael's tour-de-force electronic project, which seamlessly blends his natural gift for melody with fresh textures and percolating rhythms. Deeply inspired by Michael's film and TV work and his love for progressive rock, "Sacred Spaces" is the ambient recording of the year.
Michael Whalen spoke with Oregon's KBOG Radio about the recording. Listen to the attached interview
At the end of every month, the NPR Music team picks their favorite albums and songs. Everyone has their passions and they vary widely, from the Atlanta rapper Deante' Hitchcock to the Australian ambient artist Madeleine Cocolas.
On this week's show, we hear the No. 1 albums and songs of May as picked by our staff. There's the Portland band MAITA, which features a singer who entered our Tiny Desk contest in 2018. We also have the 20-year-old Eve Owen (who released an album produced by The National's Aaron Dessner), a team-up between classical guitarist Sharon Isbin and Indian sarod master Ayaan Ali Bangash, and Buscabulla, a duo from Puerto Rico who met in New York City and returned to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria to rediscover their home. And then there's brilliant jazz guitar playing from the Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio and joy from Scotland's Vistas.
"Love Avalanche" a cool East-meets-West raga featuring multiple Grammy-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin paired with the Indian sarod master Ayaan ali Bangash. - Tom Huizenga
In episode 921 of "ANIMAJAZZ", conceived and conducted by BRUNO POLLACCI , broadcast on TUESDAY 2 June at 20.30, on PUNTORADIO, also streaming on www.puntoradio.fm and in an immediate podcast on http: // animajazz. eu will be the protagonists of the evening, which include; "The Dream"; by ODED TZUR from "Here Be Dragons"
Here Be Dragons is the ECM debut of New York based, Tel Aviv born tenor saxophonist Oded Tzur, one of the most strikingly original musicians to have emerged from Israeli's creative jazz scene in recent years, and the leader of an outstanding group.
Oded Tzur has found a new and personal sound for the tenor saxophone. Inspired by his extensive studies from 2007 onward with bansuri master Hariprasad Chaurasia, he has mastered the graceful slides of Indian classical music and brought raga's sense of pitch fluidity and microtonal shading into a jazz context. His pieces elegantly explore and unfold their melodic and atmospheric implications in a context of subtle group interaction. Structurally, each of Tzur's compositions on Here Be Dragons sets out to develop a "miniature raga" over a moving bass, juxtaposing two musical concepts. Oded: "The dialogue between these dimensions takes us wherever it takes us." The ragas deployed in the pieces "Here Be Dragons", "20 Years" and "The Dream" are of Oded's creation, while "To Hold Your Hand" uses an Indian scale called Charukesi and operates on similar principles. He stresses, however, that "raga is, for me, a universal concept. I hear its connection to synagogue prayers, or to the blues – a marvellous creation – and to music all around the world." Ancient and modern traditions are referenced in Oded's work, including traditions of storytelling. "If music has the ability to tell stories," suggested All About Jazz, "saxophonist Oded Tzur proves himself one of the jazz world's premier storytellers." Tzur's concept is also broad enough to embrace some unexpected song choices, and the album concludes with a tender interpretation of "Can't Help Falling In Love", made famous by Elvis Presley.
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. "ANIMAJAZZ" in collaboration with the PISA ACADEMY OF ART. SEE THE PAGE
The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit - stripped-down sets, an intimate setting - just a different space.
Lara Downes thrives on collaboration. Her new album features Toshi Reagon, the vocal ensemble MUSICALITY and the string quartet called PUBLIQuartet. But in this intimate piano recital from her home in Sacramento, Calif., her only collaborators are her son Simon, who takes on cinematography duties, and her beloved pooch, Kona.
The songs, all from her recent album Some of These Days, might be old, but they are strong statements that resonate in new ways. From Margaret Bonds, one of the first celebrated African-American women composers, there's "Troubled Water," a poignant riff on the spiritual "Wade in the Water" that Downes says takes a "journey from classical virtuosity to gospel, jazz, blues and back again." Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's arrangement of "Deep River," for Downes, now represents "crossing over" the coronavirus crisis, while Florence Price's "Some of These Days," is a vision of better times ahead.
In a moment of vulnerability, Downes admits that not being out on the road – performing, embedded in communities and working with young people – makes her feel "not very useful." But in these performances there's a sturdiness and purpose that provide both comfort and the strength to carry on. Very useful, indeed.
"Margaret Bonds: Troubled Water"
"Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Deep River"
"Florence Proce: Some Of These Days"
"Violins of Hope is an artistic and educational project composed of instruments that were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust." - James A. Grymes, author of Violins of Hope
Violinist Niv Ashkenazi plays one such violin for this recording, and states in the booklet, "I have chosen Jewish repertoire from throughout its lifetime..."
Mr. Ashkenazi is an alum of the Perlman Music Program, and I often hear hints of Perlman in his playing. With this particular violin, his tone is gorgeous - husky and full of texture, perfectly suited to this music. He plays with passion and exceptional musicianship. There are times where I could do with less portamentos (for example, the opening Dauber Serenade and, especially Williams's Schindler's List Theme, here arranged for violin and piano), but elsewhere his playing is naturally expressive and free of excessive emoting.
As to the repertoire, listening to it from beginning to end, one gets the feeling of routine; it ends up sounding a bit too much of the same thing. However, taken in smaller chunks, one hears more variety and much very good music (most of which I was not previously familiar with). Highlights for me are Julius Chajes's The Chassid, and the very rhapsodic Three songs Without Words, by Paul Ben-Haim.
Mr. Ashkenazi benefits enormously throughout from the superb piano accompaniments played by Matthew Graybil, also a masters graduate from The Juilliard School. The recorded sound is excellent - warm, clean and intimately mic'd.
This is an interesting project and an interesting recording. Once again, Albany Records provides an invaluable addition to the recorded repertoire with an emphasis on American performers. I can recommend this CD to anyone with an interest in this project, and this particular program of music by Jewish composers. The entire production is first-rate and I enjoyed it.
SEE THE Classical CD Reviews PAGE
JUNO Award winner Laila Biali's new album, Out of Dust features not only contributions from the singer/pianist's husband; Ben Wittman and son, but also multiple GRAMMY nominees and winners including Lisa Fisher, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, and Larnell Lewis. "There's a line from a song by the indie gospel group, Gungor, that has become like an anthem to me," Biali says. "‘He makes beautiful things out of dust.' That's where the title for the album comes from, and as a songwriter and musician, my ultimate intention and hope is to spread a little more love."
Listen to the attached Laila Biali - 88.9WUCF: Orlando FL Interview with Kayonne Riley
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.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT - "We like to open doors," explains Paul Smith of the British vocal ensemble Voces 8. "This idea that we might find someone who loves Tallis but hasn't heard of Massive Attack, or loves Massive Attack and hasn't heard of Tallis - actually, if we can just open people's minds to the wide array of music that exists in the world. We're a group with eclectic tastes. We like to include those tastes but also really share them and encourage people to broaden their horizons."
When Voces8 began to compile pieces for their latest recording, Lux, Paul's brother Barney says it made sense to consult with ClassicFM, the largest commercial classical radio station in the U.K. "For us as a group to get our music heard, we want to give people what they want to listen to," Barney says. "Getting in touch with a radio station that caters to the needs of a wide market is quite important for us. They have so much feedback on all the tracks they play that we wanted to get their input, to make sure that we were singing music that people really wanted to listen to."
The end result is a rollercoaster adventure spanning four centuries of choral arrangements from the Renaissance to 21st-century popular music. Barney explains the concept behind this new release. "We call this recording Lux," he says. "Many people associate choral singing and the sound of a choir with radiance. The image on the front cover portrays that well. It's a wonderful shot of the sun shining bright into the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London. And I think for me, that's a fantastic image that I have in my head when I hear a glorious choir singing. So with that theme of light we wanted to choose music that was glorifying and uplifting. And so that's 'how we settled on Lux.
"From there, we looked for great texts, great melodies and built a playlist which we are really, really proud of," Barney continues. "One of the most interesting things is the track by Eriks Esenvalds called 'Stars,' where this luminous effect is created by the harmonics of water glasses. And they create this beautiful halo under which we sing some beautiful music. So the theme of light is very important, and I think a great way to demonstrate the choral sound."
According to soprano Emily Dickens, it took a village to record this piece. "We needed to get hold of about 16 glass players for this," she says. "We decided we'd ask our family and friends. We got to the church and Barney tuned the glasses to a pitchpipe, he was immaculate. We had my sister, Barney's family, Chris's wife, and they all sat down and played glasses to Barney's conducting and us singing - an experience we've never had before. We've only recorded with just us or a professional orchestra, and these were just amateur musicians - or not musicians at all - who just enjoyed being a part of the process."
Paul agrees it was pretty special. "Actually," he says, "on Facebook when the album went to No. 2 on U.K. charts, I saw Emily's sister send a post saying, 'I'm delighted to get my first classical number No. 2. My sister's on the album, too'."
Voces8 Paul Stuart / Decca - Emily recalls another memorable moment during the making of this new CD. "Recording 'The Luckiest' by American singer-songwriter Ben Folds - that was really special," she says. "It was something the group already knew before I joined, and I learned really for the first time in the last couple of years. Bringing it into a recording setting, where you have to learn it inside out and really get into the music, was brilliant. We've been performing it in America. It's one of the audience's favorite pieces over here - they really love it."
"And actually, we had some good friends come over from the U.S. to spend time with us at the Gresham Center," Paul adds. "They were celebrating their 20th anniversary and wanted to renew their vows. So as a special gift to them, we had them join us. As they spoke their vows to each other, the only people in attendance were the eight of us and we sang 'The Luckiest' to them afterwards, and there was not a dry eye in the house. And we were with them again on this tour. When we performed, we dedicated the song to them. It's one of the hardest emotional things - to avoid crying on stage."
Lux opens with "Ubi Caritas" by Norwegian-born composer Ola Gjeilo, who next year will be the composer in residence for Voces8. Barney explains that this recording actually opens and closes with this beautiful sacred text, which speaks of goodness and love.
"It's a personal favorite text of mine," Barney says. "I was reading a magazine the other day where the writer was saying that he feels the text 'Ubi Caritas' always brings out the best in choirs, the best in their singing. Well, I often feel it brings out the best in composers. We have two fantastic settings on the CD to open and close. The first by Ola Gjeilo. The second by Paul Mealor, who shot to fame in 2011 when that setting was sung at the wedding of William and Kate.
"The thing I love about it - it carries our message at the ethos of our group because our education work is very, very important to us. We feel extremely fortunate to have had such a fantastic opportunity both as individuals and as a group. And we'd like to give that opportunity back and to inspire other people to be creative, to use their voices, to express themselves. The text of the 'Ubi Caritas' sums that up - it's an important text to the group so it was nice to be able to open and close with it."
Great texts and great melodies make up a radiant collection of choral pieces, all of which make for a very satisfying listening experience on Lux with Voces8.
Enter for a chance to win a copy of this CD. This week on New Classical Tracks, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Voces8's Lux CD. Winners will be drawn at random. Be sure to enter by midnight CDT on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.
The British vocal ensemble VOCES8 is proud to inspire people through music and share the joy of singing. Touring globally, the group performs an extensive repertory both in its a cappella concerts and in collaborations with leading orchestras, conductors and soloists. Versatility and a celebration of diverse musical expression are central to the ensemble's performance and education ethos.
Voces8 releases Enchanted Isle, a new album of music reminiscent of rolling hills, green valleys, rugged mountainsides, and sleepy villages. Enchanted Isle features reimagined pieces originally written for film or television (such as Lord of the Ringsand Game of Thrones), new arrangements of Scottish and Irish melodies, and compositions set to texts by great English poets.
Breaking typical expectations of a seasonal album, Voces8's new release Winter paints a portrait of the season through a sparse and powerful aural landscape, invoking a meditative, inspiring feeling of solitude and unity. The album includes four world premiere recordings, notably "Winter," written exclusively for the album by award-winning composer Rebecca Dale.
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SYND: Classical 24, CBC Direct: MOOD, AccuRadio Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, Kansas City, Baltimore, Austin, Albuquerque, Berkeley CA, El Paso, Rochester NY, KS(Network), ME(Network), MN(Network), Honolulu INTER: Canada, Spain, Romania Online: Journeyscapes, Musicas Imaginadas
British a cappella octet VOCES8 releases their second album for Decca/Universal Music Classics, Lux, available January 27, 2015. The recording features a selection of pieces spanning over 400 years: from Thomas Tallis and Gregorio Allegri to Massive Attack (Teardrop) and Ben Folds (The Luckiest - which appeared on the soundtrack for Richard Curtis's film About Time). The album title ‘Lux' refers to the Latin word ‘light,' which has inspired composers throughout history with the meaning of hope, banishing darkness, and nurturing both the body and the spirit. Voces8's celestial performances on the album prove how few can better evoke the power of light in all its physical, spiritual and mystical guises than the timeless sound of a choir. In addition to the soothing sound of unaccompanied voices blended in harmony, several tracks feature additions of saxophone, cello, harp and water glasses.
SYND: Classical 24, CBC Direct: Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Denver, St. Louis, Baltimore, Austin, New Orleans, Buffalo, Canada Online: ClassicallyHip
One of Britain's most exciting and versatile vocal ensembles, VOCES8, makes their debut on Decca/Universal Music Classics with the release of Eventide. VOCES8 features eight young singers who form one perfect sound while adding a contemporary edge on their new album with original arrangements from plainchant to Paul Mealor and from Saving Private Ryan to Emeli Sandé. Eventide showcases the ensemble's perfectly-blended voices interwoven with haunting melodies for solo cello, harp and saxophone and provides an immersive sonic experience which will soothe, beguile and inspire. Evoking the spirit of Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, VOCES8 and saxophonist Christian Forshaw create their own captivating sound world with arrangements of the ancient Latin hymn Te lucis ante terminum and Tallis's setting of the same text.
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SYND: PRI/Classical 24 Direct: Music Choice Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Memphis, Buffalo, Honolulu Online: Taintradio