It's a well-known predicament - the idea of ferrying someone to your mind space. When sitarist Anoushka Shankar takes us there as she translates loss, separation and pain in her personal life in Love Letters, she is accompanied by German-Turkish singer-songwriter Alev Lenz's voice. Through a string theory that Shankar builds with her sitar in Bright Eyes - a heaving piece from Love Letters - Lenz's bare voice fits like a glove. It's as if it was made to be sung along with the sitar. She modulates her voice, goes up and down the scales effortlessly and finds minor yet majestic inflections that make the song a very tightly-knit merger (fusion is a wretched word, as most serious musicians believe). On Friday, at Delhi's Siri Fort auditorium, when she sat behind a piano and sang, the now very famous piece, live, along with Shankar, among other accompanying artistes, she built on the sense of catharsis that the two found while creating Love Letters.
"It was really natural," she says. "We were just two friends making songs that we felt were important and things we wanted to communicate as women. It was creatively the most satisfying process. We didn't have the usual pressure that people do while making an album. Since both of us were dealing with heartbreak around the same time, it became a common process," says Lenz.
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27-year-old Benjamin Grosvenor is considered to be one of the greatest pianists of his generation, or any other generation, for that matter. Ever since emerging in his teens as a prodigy mature beyond his years, Grosvenor continues to evolve artistically, as he builds a legacy of recordings that often achieve reference status, such as his Chopin Scherzos and Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, and a new release encompassing both Chopin Concertos.
This week, Grosvenor will be the featured guest on Episode 243 of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, hosted by The Classical Network's Artist-in-Residence, composer/pianist Jed Distler. "Benjamin was an absolute delight to interview," says Distler. "He's warm, affable, unassuming, yet completely comfortable with his high place in the pianistic firmament, and passionate about a wide range of music. Long after our official conversation ended, we kept on talking shop and sharing repertoire ideas. No wonder all of my pianist friends adore Benjamin, personally and artistically."
Grosvenor's new recording of two concerto favorites: Chopin's Piano Concertos Nos.1 and 2, released on Decca Classics, was recorded with Elim Chan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). The album marks Benjamin's fifth on Decca Classics, following the hugely successful Homages in 2016, and is his first orchestral album since 2012.
Tune in to Between the Keys this Tuesday February 18th at 10:00 PM with special guest Benjamin Grosvenor, including musical selections by Ravel, Mendelssohn, Bach, Chopin and Brett Dean, only here on The Classical Network and WWFM.org New Jersey.
Ted Poor, who the NY Times wrote; "a trustworthy engine in countless modern-jazz settings," isn't your typical jazz drummer, and either is his New Deal/Impulse! debut recording 'You Already Know.' If you're at all familiar with the Seattle-based Poor's explorative career-or the wide-ranging work of his principal collaborators here, the deeply influential guitarist-producer Blake Mills and the saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo-this should come as no surprise.
Poor's album release show is set for the Columbia City Theatre on March 7,8
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Robert Plant, Karen Dalton, Elton John, Stephen Malkmus, Maria McKee, Shabaka Hutchings and Iggy & Bowie – plus our CD of the month's best music – all feature in the new Uncut, dated April 2020 and available to buy in UK shops from February 20. Inside the issue, you'll find: SHABAKA HUTCHINGS: The cosmic torchbearer of the London jazz scene, lynchpin of Sons Of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming and Shabaka And The Ancestors, invites Uncut round to talk "ecstatic improv", radical reinvention and esoteric philosophies. On March 13, Shabaka & The Ancestors will make their Impulse! debut with the band's sophomore album 'We Are Sent Here By History.'
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From a deeply stirring Mass to hauntingly re-imagined Leonard Cohen masterpieces, LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood encompasses 25 years of vocal and choral works by the innovative American-Canadian composer. The composer-portrait album features new and compelling performances from The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and NOVUS NY conducted by Julian Wachner, cellist Matt Haimovitz, soprano Devon Guthrie, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata, and Broadway actress Nancy Anderson.
Luna Pearl Woolf's new opera JACQUELINE, about the life of Jacqueline du Pré, premieres at Tapestry Opera in Toronto this week.
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Alterations is jazz vocalist/composer Robin McKelle's follow-up to her 2018 Melodic Canvas which we covered on these pages. While that was mostly an album of originals, McKelle chooses here to, as she says, "fuse jazz, soul, r&b, blues and rock while keeping continuity in the music." These are mostly familiar songs from some of the most celebrated women in song interpreted through a jazz lens. They include Dolly Parton, Sade, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Janis Joplin, Carole king, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, and Land Del Ray. For good measure, McKelle adds just one of her own, in tribute to female artistry.
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Flamenco guitarist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Dave Soldier has been exploring cultural boundaries throughout his life. He founded a string quartet that fused punk, classical and R&B, but also played punk Delta Blues and started the Thai Elephant Orchestra. Now he explores the roots of pop songs, and found them about a thousand years ago at the crossroads of Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures in southern Spain, more specifically in Andalusia at the time of the Moors. The song titles of these compositions are therefore in English, Arabic and Hebrew. The lyrics were always sung, are based on muwashshaha & zajal, and were taken over by singers in Provence. And that is what our Western pop music would be based on, from Schubert, The Beatles, Hank Williams, to opera. These old texts have now been given a flamenco, jazz and world music twist and are usually sung by Ana Nimouz. They sometimes sound cheerful, sometimes mysterious, and sometimes as fusion. A special release for those who are interested in the origin of our music, and who are not averse to world music. - Patrick Van de Wiele
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Milan Records today releases THE NEW POPE (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SKY – HBO – CANAL+ SERIES produced by FREMANTLE'S THE APARTMENT and WILDSIDE, co-produced with HAUT ET COURT TV and THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO) with music by LELE MARCHITELLI.
Referred to as "the Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele," Jake Shimabukuro is a true virtuoso, and exhibits his talents once again with the release of ‘Trio', available February 14th through Music Theories Recordings.
You Already Know, the New Deal/Impulse! debut from the acclaimed drummer Ted Poor-"a trustworthy engine in countless modern-jazz settings," per the New York Times-isn't your typical jazz drummer's recording, almost defiantly so.
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.
17 NEW 52 TOTAL
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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.
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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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