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
Even a globally-renowned, multiple Grammy-winning orchestra such as Maria Schneider's is difficult to fund in the 21st century, and she has to rely on commissions and the crowdsourcing website ArtistShare to bring her projects to the public. Data Lords is Schneider's fifth album in a row she's made using ArtistShare and her first since 2015's autobiographical The Thompson Fields, an album that racked up a bunch of 5-star reviews.
Schneider had a different theme in mind for her next album, one that expresses society's loss of control and identity due to the massive, aggressive and stealthy collection of personal data from tech giants such as Google and Facebook, and how much harder it is to retreat to the natural world, that part of our being still unaffected by the ugly side effects of technology.
There's a message in all music; how successful is the music depends a lot on how effective it is in carrying out its message. Maria Schneider wanted to send a strong message about the threat of a mass manipulation of humanity with Data Lords. Through her high standard for meticulous composing and arranging, delivered by some of jazz's best musicians, she gets the message across in perhaps the grandest way possible.
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Music and motion come together beautifully in a new video featuring the work of pianist and composer Chad Lawson. Explaining the link between the images and his music, Lawson quotes painter Edgar Degas: "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." The video for Prelude in D Major, directed by Agostina Gálvez, features the dancers Jason Rodriguez and José Lapaz Rodriguez. Jason has become the new face of the art form of voguing, bringing his distinctive moves to the television series Pose, set in the ballroom scene of the 1980s. In the video, the two dancers perform a series of controlled falls, elaborate turns, and fluid movements as they vogue to Lawson's Prelude in D Major against the backdrop of New York City, merging modern classical music with contemporary dance.
From 98.7WFMT: Chicago - WATCH THE VIDEO
Daniel Barenboim and Decca Classics continue their acclaimed Elgar series, recording Sea Pictures again after four decades and paired with the symphonic poem Falstaff. Recorded live in the winter of 2019, the album features the Berlin Staatskapelle and mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča in her first recording of Sea Pictures.
For July 30 2020, Daniel Barenboim Elgar -Sea Pictures, Falstaff is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release'
There are enough records in the world already, thinks the composer Max Richter.
So when he writes music, there has to be a "good reason". So far, those have included the Kosovo War, which he tackled on his debut album Memoryhouse in 2002, the Iraq War, the subject of 2004's The Blue Notebooks, and the 7/7 bombings, on 2010's Infra. 2015's eight-and-a-half-hour concept album Sleep was intended as a break from the pressures of the digital age and became a classical phenomenon, streamed more than 450 million times.
His latest, Voices, began with the contemplative violin and piano-led "Mercy", which takes its inspiration from the "Torture Memos", which revealed how prisoners were treated at Guantánamo Bay, that had left him "dumbstruck". "It felt like the world had gone wrong in a new way, and I wrote ‘Mercy' as a way to figure that out. A bigger piece of protest music was set in motion right then."
The resulting album takes its theme from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, which set the aspirational blueprint for better times after the Second World War.
Music has always been a rebellion for Richter. He was born in Germany, and his family moved to Bedford when he was four. He took piano lessons, but dropped out of school at 16 because he hated it.
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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.
Angelique Kidjo set to perform 'Remain in the Light' at UPAC / Chronogram
Posted: April 2, 2019 12:00 AM
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Nearly 40 years after its release, Remain in Light's groundbreaking fusion of African polyrhythms, funk, electronics, and New York new wave has seen the set dubbed one of the most influential albums of all time. In 2017, the Library of Congress selected it for inclusion in the National Recording Registry for its being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant," and it played a crucial part in introducing the music of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, a strong influence on the band during the album's making, to Western audiences (see Brooklyn band Antibalas and the hit Off-Broadway musical "Fela").
Last year, the iconic Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo-called "the undisputed queen of African music" by the London Daily Telegraph-released a brilliant song-for-song cover of Remain in Light, which was produced by Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Rolling Stones, Beyonce) and won the enthusiastic endorsement of David Byrne (the head Head himself even joined Kidjo onstage at Carnegie Hall when she performed the music there). Kidjo, who answered the questions below by email, will perform Talking Heads' Remain in Light at UPAC in Kingston on April 11.Photo: Sofia and Mauro
On April 19, Angélique Kidjo will release Celia (Verve/Universal Music France), an album that honors Celia Cruz, widely known as "the Queen of Salsa" and the most popular Latin artist of the 20thcentury. On Celia, Angélique explores the African roots of the Cuban-born Cruz and reimagines selections from Cruz's extraordinary career in surprising new ways, infused with an explosion of sounds and rhythms from Cuba, Africa, the Middle East, America and beyond. The album includes performances by Tony Allen (Fela Kuti) on drums, Meshell Ndegeocello on bass, and British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchins plus his band Sons of Kemet.