When thinking about putting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to music on Voices, Composer Max Richter tried to capture the essence of "the world we haven't made yet."
Richter has scored soundtracks and had his music placed across film and television, including recent Hollywood movies such as Mary Queen of Scots, Hostiles and Ad Astra. But Richter's also a composer who's not afraid to take on political issues in his music. In his previous works, he's responded to the conflict in Kosovo, the Iraq War and the 2005 London terrorist attacks. On his latest album, Voices, he takes inspiration from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
NPR's Gemma Watters spoke to Max Richter about the echo between the post-World War II world and today, finding a narrator after watching If Beale Street Could Talk and the way the album fits into the present moment, even though he started work on it 10 years ago.
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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
Daniel Barenboim is one of the most famous classical musicians on the planet and one of the greatest artists of our time. As a pianist he is particularly admired for his interpretations of the works of Mozart and Beethoven. Since his conducting debut in 1967 he has been in great demand as a conductor with the world's leading orchestras. Daniel Barenboim was married to cellist Jacqueline du Pré and they became the music industry's golden couple. In 1999 he founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, with the academic Edward Said, which features Arab and Israeli musicians. Daniel Barenboim is currently music director of the Berlin Sate Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin. Discover more about his life and music.
Daniel Barenboim's latest release in his acclaimed Elgar series is Elgar's Sea Pictures and Falstaff.
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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.
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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.
Ben Cooper of Radical Face struggles with stasis in 'Doubt' video / FLOOD MAGAZINE
Posted: March 28, 2019 12:00 AM
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Ben Cooper's latest EP as Radical Face is titled Therapy, in large part because speaking with a professional helped to get his career as a musician back on track. Over the eight years Cooper worked on his deeply personal three-part Family Tree series-including The Roots (2011), The Branches (2013), and The Leaves (2016)-the singer-songwriter grew increasingly drained, both creatively and emotionally. In Therapy's lush compositions, though, Radical Face has managed to let go of his troubled past and focus on the present. Though thematically simple, the vid for the new single is the most technically and physically demanding video Cooper has ever done.
Radical Face's cult classic Ghost has been streamed over 150 Million times on Spotify alone, has been featured on numerous TV shows and movies such as Weeds, Blacklist, Skins and Humboldt County, as well as the song "Welcome Home, Son" becoming the theme song for brand Nikon globally for 8 years. The growth over the last decade has been completely organic and continues to sell and stream more today and it did upon its release. Ben made the record in a shed behind his moms house in Jacksonville Florida between midnight and 6 a.m. so he could record without car noises in the background. He wrote, produced, mixed, mastered and performed everything on the record as well as created all original artwork.
"Hello, Hope, it's been a while," go the opening lines of "Dead Ends", the centerpiece of Ben Cooper's latest EP as Radical Face. After giving eight years of his life, creatively and emotionally, to his three-part The Family Tree series -- The Roots (2011), The Branches (2013), and The Leaves (2016) -- Cooper had indeed lost touch with hope. He'd too long grasped ideas and perceptions that held him back from peace. Speaking with a professional finally enabled him to let go, something he's honored by naming his new effort Therapy.
On Therapy, Radical Face has let go of all his past narratives. Instead of an intricate saga, he's kept his parameters simple. Instead of acoustic folk, he's written lush compositions. Instead of his troubled past, he's focused on his scarred present. Unsure yet confident, battered yet resilient, Cooper is taking Radical Face in a poignant new direction. And there's hope there.
Bear Machine Records is excited to announce the release of "Missing Film" by indie-folk artist Radical Face. Known for his cinematic and emotional music, Ben Cooper wrote and produced this 12 song collection with film makers in mind, focusing on mood and entirely instrumental arrangements -- a direct contrast to his traditional concept and story-driven albums. He has partnered with Noisetrade to give away the album, and is offering the music to students, young directors and content creators to use for free use in all non-commercial media.