Like Rachmaninoff, Danill Trifonov was born in Russia, and is already considered one of the world's great pianists at age 29. He is also a composer, and made his way to the United States where he settled in New York. Despite all these parallels, Trifonov didn't start studying and performing Rachmaninoff's music until he was 21, but he has made up for lost time by releasing three albums devoted to the composer: an album of Rachmaninoff's three sets of variations in 2015; "Departure", featuring concertos 2 & 4, in 2018; and "Arrival", featuring Concertos 1 & 3, in October 2019. All three were done in collaboration with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. It was in January 2019, just a few months after the release of Departure, that WETA evening host James Jacobs spoke to Daniil Trifonov backstage at the Kennedy Center during a week in which he was appearing with the NSO. In a wide-ranging conversation Trifonov shares his thoughts on Rachmaninoff and reflects on his own career.
LISTEN TO THE WETA: Wash DC INTERVIEW
Nina Simone's Fodder On My Wings was initially recorded not long after she moved to Paris in 1982. Simone always loved the album, but it remained rather obscure as it was recorded for a small French label and was often in and out of print. It is now being reissued in CD and LP formats with three bonus tracks from a French reissue in 1988. You may have already heard audio or videos for the jubilant "I Sing Just to Know I'm Alive" or "Liberian Calypso."
This is not the rebellious Nina of "Mississippi Goddam" or even the jazzy "My Baby Just Cares For Me." Yet, her signature powerful crescendos ("Thandewye") and shimmering piano flourishes ("Le Peuple En Suisse") are all over the album which is anything but even. These are deeply personal songs, including the aforementioned, "I Sing Just To Know That I'm Alive" and "I Was Just A Stupid Dog To Them," as well a searing lyrical improvisation about the death of her father on "Alone Again (Naturally)."
At the time she recorded the album, Simone was living in France and was extremely lonely; her mental illness was increasing, and her family life was fractured. It's this despair that spawned one of the many album standouts, the near title track "Fodder In Her Wings. "A top music outlet wrote that, the composition "captured with startling intimacy the pain of this period, and she returned to it frequently through the next decade, cutting another studio version three years later (the synth-heavy take on Nina's Back!) and including it on several live albums, including an awe-inspiring performance on 1987's Let It Be Me, continuing, "Simone's vocal makes a song of weariness and defeat carry an air of defiance, a wise word from someone who survived to tell the tale."
Recorded at a time when Simone was feeling rejuvenated by her surroundings and by the African musicians she met in her newly adopted France, Fodder On My Wings is an essential Simone album that is making a long-overdue reappearance.
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When Víkingur Ólafsson was about 5 years old, he already knew what he wanted to be. "It sounds crazy, but I always saw myself as a concert pianist," he says. "Even if I wasn't a good pianist."
The Icelandic musician, who turned 36 last month, has become a very good pianist indeed. Whether playing baroque or contemporary music, Ólafsson's technique is formidable, but it's transparency combined with warmth that has defined his singular sound. He is sought after by the world's top orchestras and concert venues and has signed on with the swanky Deutsche Grammophon record label. After well-received albums of Philip Glass and J.S. Bach, his latest album, Debussy – Rameau, was released March 27.
The recording unfolds almost like a classical mixtape, with Ólafsson juxtaposing tracks by two French composers, born almost two centuries apart, who both broke new ground in music. The pianist says he tried to create a conversation between Jean-Philippe Rameau, the baroque master who literally wrote the book on French harmony, and Claude Debussy, who, straddling the 19th and 20th centuries, absorbed those theories and then, as Ólafsson says, "threw them out the window."
Over the phone from his home in Reykjavík, the young pianist spoke with NPR about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on his relationship to music, the idea of Debussy as a "bank robber" and why he has been dubbed "Iceland's Glenn Gould." This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
To one generation, Karsh Kale needs no introduction- he is one of the pioneers who defined the Asian Underground musical scene of the early '90s. To another generation, he is the guy who scored the famous Train song for Gully Boy (2019). Point this out, and he laughs. Because Kale has always been fiercely protective of his independent artiste tag, and it is ironic that he is known to GenZ for a film song.
""I have experienced situations where I knew it was my skin tone that didn't land me the gig!"
"I am 45 and I have been doing this for too long to be swayed by adulation," he says. "The joy of making music is what you have written and not what happens after the track is released. It is not because you have got so many likes on YouTube, but because you believed in that piece of work before anyone else even heard it. Everything else – numbers and views – is just an illusion."
Kale is also evolving. "I don't want the same things I did when I was 18, and I don't want to die doing the same thing. I have written a few scripts and I want to direct a film. But at the right time!"
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"Why does the world need a Piano Day? For many reasons. But mostly, because it doesn't hurt to celebrate the piano and everything around it: performers, composers, piano builders, tuners, movers and most important, the listener." – Nils Frahm
Piano Day, a annual worldwide event founded by a group of likeminded people, takes place on the 88th day of the year – in 2020 it's the 28th March – because of the number of keys on the instrument being celebrated.
The aim of the day is to create a platform for piano related projects in order to promote the development of musical dimensions and to continue sharing the centuries-old joy of playing piano. Piano Day welcomes all kinds of piano lovers - young and old, amateur and professional, of any musical direction – to join in this years festivities. It is intended to be the most joyful of all holidays!
Celebrate World Piano Day with livestreamed concerts and recitals from across the world.
Five for Five, or five quintets with five different solo instruments: bassoon, English horn, clarinet, oboe and transverse flute accompanied by and dialoguing with a string quartet was written by Michael Fine. Before being a composer, Michael Fine was a clarinetist, label director, artistic orchestra manager, conductor and a popular producer.
We find there what makes the quintessence of the music of the American composer where each work has almost its universe as descendant of an aesthetic line specific to the instrument. For the one for bassoon, we will think of the music written for this instrument by Devienne (for the relationship between the soloist and the strings), Jean Françaix or Roger Boutry. The one for clarinet between lyricism and swing recalls Copland. There is almost a kind of neo-classicism in that for oboe but sometimes with a touch of jazz. The one for flute and the Elegy for English horn have an almost impressionist side.
The work and the writing of Michael Fine will not transcend the music of our time but this disc, by being interested in rather original formations deserves to be listened to.
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I'm on a musical voyage again, and I am now wondering if this is the most exciting sojourn through tone and sound I have taken this year, as Michael Whalen is back with Scared Spaces a breath taking new offering from the artist, and a completely new direction from all that I have heard before.
Michael known recently for his lush and moving piano work on Cupid Blindfolded, has delivered a truly refreshing new offering of electronic ambient and new age styles for us to enjoy.
This is powerfully illustrated by the opening piece entitled A Metaphysical Morning, a wonderfully upbeat and literally sparkling new composition that sets the scene musically for us, with one of the most empowering performances on keyboards that I think I have ever heard; this is true music to raise the rhythms.
The title track Sacred Spaces is up next, the combination of synths and keyboards here transports us to a whole new musical realm entirely; this is an extremely smooth performance by Whalen, one that has to be both admired and deeply enjoyed; the mix here is sublime, it's a track that if listened to carefully, moves you from one space to another with such a crafted sense of movement employed in the presentation.
READ THE FULL Steve Sheppard Music Review
‘Love Letters' marks a different direction for the internationally celebrated artist; it offers a shift in intimacy and content and comes at a pivotal time in her career as she signs to her new record label, Mercury KX.
What we have here is an extremely rare example of a "complete" musician among the violinists of the present day: one of the most sought-after soloists in today's world of music, he regularly performs with leading international orchestras under the most high-profile conductors.
Milan Records today announces the February 28 release of WENDY (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by award-winning composer, songwriter and producer DAN ROMER and the film's award-winning director BENH ZEITLIN.
Wolfgang Muthspiel, whom The New Yorker has called "a shining light" among today's jazz guitarists, returns to the trio format with Angular Blues, the Austrian's fourth ECM album as a leader, following two acclaimed quintet releases and his trio debut.
Debussy has been with me as far back as I can remember, but my first encounter with the keyboard music of Rameau was Emil Gilels' 1951 recording of "Le rappel des oiseaux", which I came across during my student days in New York.
Puccini: Turandot from Anna Netrebko's Verismo is the WFMT: Featured New Release
Posted: September 3, 2016 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
The long-awaited studio album from Anna Netrebko, "Verismo" features magnificent Italian arias from the late 19th century, composed by Puccini, Leoncavallo, Ponchielli, Boito, Giordano, Cilea and Catalani. Netrebko illuminates the stylistic and psychological complexities of verismo with her distinctive timbre and power of expression. Having successfully broached the weightier Verdian roles of Giovanna d'Arco and Lady Macbeth, Netrebko is continuing to expand her vocal and artistic range, as demonstrated on this new album by her portrayals of Puccini's Manon, Butterfly and Tosca, Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur and Giordano's Maddalena (Andrea Chénier).
Fresh from making her sensational Wagnerian debut as Elsa in Lohengrin at the Dresden Semperoper – four performances, all of which were met with thunderous ovations – Anna Netrebko, the best-known soprano of our time announces her forthcoming recording, VERISMO. Set for international release on September 2, 2016 VERISMO, highlights the evolution of this classical superstar's impressive career, as she explores some of the darker reaches of the soprano repertoire. Having successfully broached the weightier Verdian roles of Giovanna d'Arco and Lady Macbeth, she is continuing to expand her vocal and artistic range, as demonstrated on this new album by her portrayals of Puccini's Manon, Butterfly and Tosca, Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur and Giordano's Maddalena (Andrea Chénier).
18 NEW 34 TOTAL
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Little known outside Russia, Tchaikovsky's Iolanta is one of Anna Netrebko's favourites. She stars in this new recording of the opera, released as she prepares to sing the title role at the Met. Most of us are unfamiliar with Iolanta, but Anna Netrebko has long been a passionate champion of the work, which she feels is one of the most beautiful operas ever written. Over the years she has frequently revisited the role of the king's daughter who doesn't realise she is blind because the whole court has protected her from that knowledge. Iolanta is a lyrical fairy-tale with its own inner world of music – and an astonishingly modern parable.
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What better way to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Richard Strauss than with one of the world's most renowned sopranos, Anna Netrebko performing Strauss' Four Last Songs. In an album dedicated to Richard Strauss, Netrebko is accompanied by conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim and one of Germany's oldest and most prestigious orchestras, the Staatskapelle Berlin. The recording will be available December 9, 2014 on Deutsche Grammophon. Recorded live in Berlin earlier this year, this marks Anna Netrebko's first recording of these iconic Strauss songs. Known for her poise, her voice's unmistakable color, and her coloratura technique, Strauss' Four Last Songs are a perfect match for Netrebko's expressive style. The album also features Barenboim and the Staatskapelle performing Ein Heldenleben, one of the most vivid and popular tone poems by Strauss, who himself conducted the Staatskapelle over 1,200 times as the General Music Director over a century ago.
With her first studio album in five years, Anna Netrebko celebrates the mighty power and compelling human drama of Verdi's music. Propelled by her unforgettable interpretations of landmark roles, the Russian soprano has surged to the top of the opera world since the release of her debut recording for Deutsche Grammophon a decade ago. Anna Netrebko – Verdi is destined to stand out among major highlights of the composer's bicentenary year, thanks to its carefully selected program, thoughtful interpretations, and passionate music-making, Netrebko's eloquent artistry evokes the golden age of singing that Verdi and his compositions helped create.
49 New 'ON' this week
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