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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Hilary Hahn's new recording pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of a city that has been close to her heart throughout her career. Set for international release by Deutsche Grammophon on 5 March 2021, Paris sees the American violinist resume her productive partnership with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and its Music Director, Mikko Franck. The three-time Grammy Award-winner's album presents the world premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara's Deux Sérénades, commissioned by Mikko Franck. It also includes Ernest Chausson's Poème and Sergei Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No.1, which received its first performance in the French capital in 1923.
HH made some time available TODAY!! to speak with radio stations about the new release. The list includes
KDFC: San Francisco
Spokane Public Radio: WA
WGTE: Toledo OH
WCMU: Mount Pleasant MI
WCPE: Wake Forest NC
WMHT: Schenectady NY
WQLN: Erie PA
WOMR Provincetown MA
Winnipeg's CLASSIC107: Canada
A Quiet Madness features three piano pieces, a piano and violin duet, a series of seven scenes for four flutes and a solo accordion piece that was composed as a response to Hurricane Katrina. The album immerses the listener in a photorealistic sound world of understated beauty. At once calming and thought-provoking, it allows the ear and mind to make their own connections without feeling overwhelmed by thematic constraints. William Susman's precise harmonic and rhythmic languages invite us into a subdued, enchanting expression of madness that roams all over the map, akin to the mind wandering during a rainy day-or, perhaps clairvoyantly, akin to the strange passage of time spent in self-isolation during the collective trauma of COVID-19.
Harmonious World Podcast's Hilary Robertson conducts her first podcast with William Susman and extracts from the composer's music. LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
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CRB's BRIAN MCCREATH writes.....Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andris Nelsons describes the three online performances he conducts, each of them featuring Beethoven symphonies, and works inspired by them, written by composers of our time.
In January 2020, Nelsons and the BSO were looking ahead to a concert tour of Asia, followed by the last chapters of the 2019-2020 season. The tour, however, was cancelled as the now world-wide pandemic took hold in the very countries the orchestra was to have visited. And eventually, those last dynamic chapters of the season, including Nelsons's return, were also stricken from the schedule.
In a radically changed world, Nelsons and the orchestra were finally reunited to record three concerts for BSO Now, the Boston Symphony's online concert series. And in a remotely-produced interview, Nelsons described each concert, revealing the ways his relationship with Beethoven's symphonies have evolved, as well as how the impact of those symphonies is refracted through compositional voices of our time.
I began by asking Nelsons to describe the feeling of returning to Symphony Hall after being gone for so long.
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The New York Times - David Allen writes....For his new album, Benjamin Grosvenor delved into historical recordings of the daunting Sonata in B minor. "This is music that's probably not supposed to be played cleanly," Benjamin Grosvenor said of Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor, the centerpiece of his new album.
How do the great musicians prepare to play the great works? Each has his or her own methods, and tends to keep the strategy quiet, a secret key to success.
One thing that distinguishes the subtle Benjamin Grosvenor, 28, from the rest of the pack of young star pianists is his extensive knowledge of historical recordings. This listening has paid off in a spellbinding Liszt recording out on Decca on Friday, crowned with a typically thoughtful account of the treacherous Sonata in B minor.
"I almost feel like you should know the notable recordings of a work like this," Grosvenor said of the sonata in a recent interview. "More than anything, it helps you understand what works and what doesn't work. You react to some things positively and you react to some things negatively, and that fuels your imagination."
What do you think about the opening bars of the sonata, which are so spare compared to what follows?
It's foreboding, and mysterious, and a little bit threatening. It would be quite interesting to just line up eight recordings of the first bar. For someone who is a music lover but who is not that acquainted with putting a piece together, it might just be interesting to hear how two notes can essentially be interpreted in so many different ways.
There are many valid approaches. What Vladimir Horowitz does in a large hall in his Carnegie recording, this kind of demonic thing, works very well. Cherkassky's is interesting; it sounds like he's improvising, like it's something that's just come to him in the moment, but it's obviously conscious because he executes it in the same way at the end of the slow movement as well.
I was aiming for something mysterious, almost - so the notes are not too present. They're quite soft, very much like plucked strings, the bass more in it than the treble, like what Alfred Brendel does.
So comparisons with orchestral sounds help you define what you are trying to achieve, even in a work as pianistic as this?
As a pianist you've been playing the piano all of your life; you have a natural association with piano sound. So it's only when you're forced to put it into words that you try to make those associations. But it is an appropriate way to think, because, for most composers, the piano is always trying to imitate other instruments, because of its nature as a percussion instrument. Again, it's a line of thought that adds fire to the imagination, and the colors that you then draw out.
One of the challenges in the piece is how to create tension over the whole, or even just over shorter periods of double octaves, or continuous fortissimo dynamics. You picked out a section near the start as an example.
In this double-octave passage there is a lot of fortissimo playing, and you vary that in terms of dynamics, but the meter is the same for a while, with these continuous quavers.
Horowitz, in the final rise and descent, just pushes through. There's lots of wrong notes, but it's raw. It's exceptionally difficult because of the octaves, but if you can push through it in that way I think it's very effective, all the way to the lowest note on the piano.
So when you are playing the piece live, does atmosphere matter more than precision in passages like this?
Yes, this is music that's probably not supposed to be played cleanly. Part of the struggle is, it is technically difficult, but that's what makes it exciting. Someone said of Horowitz that his playing is not exciting because he plays fast, but because he plays faster than he can. In this music there's an element of that. Lupu generates the tension in a different way; it's tension by holding back, by creating a limit that you're working against.
Then the slow movement poses quite different challenges.
It's magical music. The most incredible bit for me is this ascending line in the right hand, the scales after the climax. It's the most static point of the piece, and a groove needs to be found between static to the point of no motion, and finding the magic that's in it. Not to play it too casually. Claudio Arrau there is very special; it's such a wonderful moment with these triple pianissimos - finding that beautiful color, and where to take the time.
Then comes the fugue, a moment when I'm always wondering how fast a pianist is going to try to play. Is this another place where aura matters more than accuracy?
The counterpoint needs to be clear. So it's the point at which you can still characterize it, and that point is different for each pianist, as long as it builds and builds gradually to the right point.
Intellectually speaking it's not necessarily correct, but I quite like the idea of treating the first five bars as a kind of fanfare. They don't carry enough to push forward out of the slow movement, so to me they inevitably sit somewhere in between if you are going to take it at that tempo. I like the change of pace there.
The magic, and the music, of the slow movement return on the very last page.
It's this final transition from darkness to light: the rumbling in the left hand, then the way that it ascends to the top of the piano. Those diminished chords are little shards of light, then it comes away to the very low notes, then these transcendent last chords. That's what the last page is about: transcendence. You can't help but think that the last note is an awakening from a dream.
Close listening brought out the enormous range of possibilities in a work that presents an intellectual challenge of interpretation as much as a punishing test of technique. The piece is a Faustian struggle between the diabolical and the divine; the question is how to make it cohere over more than 30 minutes.
Image“You react to some things positively and you react to some things negatively,” Grosvenor said, “and that fuels your imagination.”
"You react to some things positively and you react to some things negatively," Grosvenor said, "and that fuels your imagination."Credit...Kalpesh Lathigra for The New York Times
There is no single answer. The example of Radu Lupu points in one direction. "It has this great inevitability about it," Grosvenor said of Lupu's interpretation. "In terms of the way he controls the pulse it's quite symphonic, and also in the kinds of sounds he produces."
Shura Cherkassky, a figure beloved of pianophiles whose impulsive, visionary performances were so idiosyncratic that Grosvenor said he would never dare imitate them, offers something else in a live recording from 1965. "Sometimes it feels kind of improvisatory and sometimes he doesn't quite do what's written in the score," Grosvenor said. "But he somehow makes this miracle of his own unique narrative from it."
Perils lurk whichever way a pianist turns. "The danger in pursuing this symphonic, quite rigid, controlled outlook is that it could quite easily become something more of an academic exercise than the fantastical piece that it is," Grosvenor said. "And obviously if you go along the Cherkassky route, you could make it sound like something that doesn't make much sense."
If Grosvenor successfully traces a course between those extremes, he also takes inspiration from how his forebears have resolved the many difficulties in a work of this scale. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
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.
Grammy and Oscar-nominated songwriter and composer Stephan Moccio has released a brand new solo piano version of ‘Earned It', a track he co-wrote and co-produced with The Weeknd for the 2015 blockbuster film Fifty Shades of Grey.
This brand-new recording marks the continuation of Leipzig's Bruckner Cycle with Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester
Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig continue their award-winning Bruckner cycle.
Analekta is proud to present Angele Dubeau & La Pieta's new album, A Time for Us. The CD features an array beautiful film scores, all favorites of the virtuoso violinist who has led a dazzling career in the great concert halls of the world. In this album you will discover pieces by Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), John Williams (Memoirs of a Geisha and Far and Away), John Barry (Dances with Wolves), Nino Rota (Romeo and Juliet), and many more. The album also includes My Heart Will Go On, in a setting by Claude "Mego" Lemay. As a bonus, the album includes five other film music tracks, featured on previous albums of the ensemble, including the unforgettable theme from John Williams' Schindler's List and Franois Dompierre's Fairy Tale.
Crossover Media Projects with Angele Dubeau & La Pieta
With a career spanning over four decades and an impressive discography of more than forty albums, Angèle Dubeau continues to leave her mark in today's music world. Her virtuosity brings her on the most prestigious stages and she continues to be awarded international prizes for her recordings and to receive honors for her career.
Pulsations, the violinist's new album, brings together works that evoke strong images and possess a profound emotional intensity. In addition to the excellence of her playing, she has a flair for finding and recording the works of remarkable composers, thus placing her at the center of the post-minimalist movement, one of the most relevant musical genres of our time. The public's increasing interest for some of these composers whose works are featured on Pulsations tells us that we are witnessing the emergence of a golden age for this contemporary music.
In December 2017, with two sold-out concerts at the Maison symphonique de Montréal, the tour celebrating Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà's 20th anniversary came to an end. This tour of thirty-three concerts was, for the violinist, an opportunity to thank her Quebec fans for the support they had given her throughout her career.
It was on that tour, during the concerts at Palais Montcalm in Quebec City, that Ovation was recorded. This new album features a retrospective program composed of works by the likes of Einaudi, Richter, Glass, Enescu and Saint-Saens and which have been landmarks of the first 20 years of La Pietà's career. The album also showcases a violinist at the top of her form and a concert where magic and perfection are in symbiosis.
Angèle Dubeau has always stood out for the quality of her playing, her adventurous musical undertakings and her irreproachable artistic journey. An artist very much her own and a musician of her time, the violinist has often found a source of inspiration and an important influence in contemporary works. The new album Max Richter: Portrait by Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà is a striking addition to the Portrait series, music of great depth and acute sensitivity.
13 NEW 58 TOTAL
SYND: C24, CBC Direct: Music Choice, MOOD, SpaFax Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Minneapolis, Portland, Detroit, Denver, Santa Fe, MN(Statewide), CO(Statewide), WV(Statewide), AL(Statewide), WI(Statewide) INTER: Canada, UK Online: allmusic, AccuRadio
Having personally done the research for this directory, choosing a variety of film music extracts, I had in mind to revisit their original version are bringing another dimension of sound with my violin and these wonderful musicians that I lead and around me. I also worked closely with various composers and arrangers that I thank and congratulate. Thank you to all the team for Analekta trust over the years the support and expertise worthy of the greatest. My reason for being as a musician is my audience and that is that I realized that 40th, oops, double I said, 41st album. - Angele Dubeau
22 NEW 50 TOTAL
SYND: Classical 24, CBC Direct: MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Hartford, Madison WI, Honolulu, AL(Network) Online: AccuRadio
Portrait is a string of recordings presenting contemporary composers with a unique musical signature. Ludovico Einaudi is one of them. A music that captivates the listener, a sonic landscape to discover"says Angèle Dubeau. Driven by the works of this grand and prolific Italian composer, the internationally renowned violinist shares once again her passion with the excellent musicians of her string orchestra, La Pietà. For her 39th album in career, Angèle Dubeau offers a unique revisit to Ludovico Einaudi's music, "changing its texture, rethinking its character, while bringing a new sonic dimension."
25 NEW 61 TOTAL
SYND: PRI/Classical 24, CBC Direct: Music Choice, Spafax Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Portland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Austin, New Orleans, Memphis, Albuquerque, Columbus OH, Canada Online: Taintradio, ClassicallyHip
"BLANC like purity and serenity. BLANC for luminous music that can bring interior peace through its strength and powerful evocation. Fully charged emotions that reflect the strange solitude found in illness. After months of battle against cancer, music has been my focal point, it has brought me comfort, tranquillity and sometimes, an essential escape. This music is of Brubeck, Dompierre, Golijov, Hisaishi, Morricone, Mozetich, Munsey, O'Connor, Phillips, Sakamoto, Schyman and Stevens. A music without artifice, real and filled with hope. This album tells my story, the story of a woman like many others who had to fight against illness and, serenely, came out of it stronger." The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation Thanks You Thank you. By buying this album, you will be helping the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation to finance research and innovation, to support women affected by breast cancer and make breast cancer health a priority thanks to initiatives in education and awareness.
8 New 'ON' 134 TOTAL
SYND: PRI/Classical 24 Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Memphis, Buffalo
Online: Taintradio, allmusic, Le Huffington Post, The WholeNote
Canada's internationally acclaimed and best selling violinist, Angele Dubeau, along with her chamber ensemble La Pieta, turn in a resolutely contemporary direction for their new album on Analekta: a musical portrait of Philip Glass. The prolific American composer has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. Here, Dubeau paints a dramatic portrait of Glass with some of his most significant works for strings.
4 New ON this week / 62 Total
Synd: APM/Performance Today, PRI/Classical 24 Networks: MN, TX, OR, WV, CT Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans Direct: Spafax/Air Canada Online: RadioIO, Taintradio