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.
In 1943, Decca Broadway released the first-ever cast album of all time. The musical was Rodgers and Hammerstein's groundbreaking Oklahoma!. Fast forward 76 years, the newly-relaunched Decca Broadway, part of Verve Label Group, announces the release of the new cast recording for the revival of Oklahoma!
The 2019 revival of Oklahoma! is making history as the first time the Rodgers and Hammerstein estate has allowed new arrangements of the original score. The New York Times said of these new versions, "The well-known melodies have been reimagined – by the brilliant orchestrator and arranger Daniel Kluger – with the vernacular throb and straightforwardness of country and western ballads." Daniel Fish's reimagined revival of Oklahoma! officially opened April 7 at Circle in the Square Theatre. The cast is led by Rebecca Naomi Jones as Laurey and Damon Daunno as Curly and the cast album will be produced by Dean Sharenow and Daniel Kluger.
In 1943, Decca Broadway released the first-ever cast album of all time. The musical was Rodgers and Hammerstein's groundbreaking Oklahoma!. Fast forward 76 years, the newly-relaunched Decca Broadway, part of Verve Label Group, announces the release of the new cast recording of the hit musical Tootsie.
The new comedy musical Tootsie, adapted from the 1982 film, began previews on Broadway March 29, following an acclaimed out-of-town tryout in Chicago last fall. Variety called Tony-winner David Yazbek's score "strikingly over-the-top: You know something's right when the music itself feels witty." Meanwhile, The Chicago Tribune commented, "The sound has a movie-score quality… many of his tempos are arrestingly up – so much so…that they keep amping the pleasures of the piece." Tootsie officially opens at the Marquis Theatre April 23. Tony nominee Santino Fontana leads the cast as Michael Dorsey, a talented but difficult actor who struggles to find work until one show-stopping act of desperation lands him the role of a lifetime – as the star of a new Broadway musical.
TOOTSIE features an original score by Tony Award-winner DAVID YAZBEK (The Band's Visit, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), a book by ROBERT HORN (13; Dame Edna, Back with a Vengeance), choreography by Tony Award nominee DENIS JONES (Holiday Inn, Honeymoon in Vegas), and musical direction by ANDREA GRODY (The Band's Visit). TOOTSIE will be directed by eight-time Tony Award nominee and Olivier Award winner SCOTT ELLIS (She Loves Me, On the Twentieth Century).
Sony Masterworks Broadway announces today's release of RENT – ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK OF THE FOX TELEVISION EVENT, featuring music from the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical RENT, as performed by the star-studded cast of FOX's television event, the soundtrack is produced by Stephen Oremus, executive-produced by Marc Platt and co-produced by Derik Lee.
The soundtrack features performances by actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens (Maureen Johnson), singer/songwriter Jordan Fisher (Mark Cohen), recording artist Tinashe (Mimi Marquez), actress Kiersey Clemons (Joanne Jefferson), newcomer and singer/songwriter Brennin Hunt (Roger Davis), R&B/Pop superstar Mario (Benjamin Coffin III), performer Valentina (Angel Dumont Schunard) and Emmy nominee and Tony Award winner Brandon Victor Dixon (Tom Collins). Additionally, Keala Settleperforms the iconic solo from "Seasons of Love."
THE PROM – ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING is available on from Sony Masterworks Broadway. Produced by Scott M. Riesett and Tony Award Nominee Matthew Sklar, with music by Sklar and lyrics by four-time Tony Award Nominee Chad Beguelin, the album is also available to stream and download everywhere now. The Prom cast celebrated the release with two CD signing events – at the annual BroadwayCon fan convention and at Theatre Circle.
The producers of Head Over Heels, the new musical comedy featuring the iconic songs of The Go-Go's – the most successful female rock band of all time, and Sony Masterworks Broadway today release The Original Broadway Cast Recording. Included in the 20-track cast album is a true bonus from The Go-Go's themselves: an exclusive new recording of one of the band's most popular songs, "This Town," which marks their first studio recording in more than 17 years since their album God Bless The Go-Go's (2000). The track, produced by Scott Sigman, was recorded exclusively for the Broadway collection by members Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin. The album is produced by Scott M. Riesett and Tom Kitt with co-producers Louise Gund and Christine Russell, engineered by Isaiah Abolin and Lawrence Manchester, and was recorded at the DiMenna Center in New York City on August 26-28.
The Original Cast Recording from the hit musical comedy Desperate Measures is now available digitallyfrom Masterworks Broadway, with the CD set for release August 10. With music by David Friedman (Listen to My Heart) and lyrics by Peter Kellogg (Anna Karenina), the album is produced by 7 time Grammy and Tony NomineeRobert Sher (Patti LuPone's Gypsy, Daniel Radcliffe's How To Succeed…) with liner notes by Peter Filichia. The album is Executive Produced by Mary Cossette (The Will Rogers Follies; Woody Sez; Carol Welsman'sWhat'Cha Got Cookin'?) and Willette Klausner (The Band's Visit; Smokey Joe's Café; Latin History For Morons). Described by the Huffington Post as "a good old-fashioned musical comedy… a happy surprise of a show filled with enjoyable songs," Desperate Measures is currently playing at New World Stages in New York City and tickets are on sale at: www.DesperateMeasuresMusical.com
The Original Cast Recording of SpongeBob SquarePants – The New Musical - album features a score of original songs unlike anything Broadway has ever heard and is produced by Scott Riesett and Tom Kitt, with executive producers Scott Farthing, Doug Cohn and Susan Vargo. A special two-LP vinyl version of the recording will be released November 3, in anticipation of the show's Broadway performances which begin November 6 at the Palace Theater in New York City.
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