Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The French label Alpha has got in first to record the Canadian soprano in her other role as conductor, for release next year. From the press pack: With the Amsterdam-based orchestra LUDWIG, of which she is associate artist, Barbara Hannigan has devised a programme including Berg’s Lulu Suite and Gershwin’s Girl Crazy in a Suite newly arranged by the multi-award-winning American composer Bill Elliott. To complement these two pieces, she has recorded Berio’s spectacular Sequenza III for solo voice. …This album, entitled Crazy Girl Crazy, brings together the character of Lulu, a key role in Barbara Hannigan’s career, the heroines of Gershwin’s musical comedies and their famous songs like ‘But not for me’ and ‘I got rhythm’, and Sequenza III, that incredible musical sculpture built from words and the human voice: the result is an album that forms an evocative musical portrait of the artist.
Park Avenue Armory, New York Taking a trip to the cavernous art space and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the NY Phil explored Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s sumptuous, theatrical workOn this season’s opening night, back in September, the New York Philharmonic’s outgoing music director, Alan Gilbert, led a subtly activist gala program that included Gershwin’s Concerto in F. The performance was activist in nature because it allowed the night’s soloist – jazz virtuoso Aaron Diehl – to improvise in and around Gershwin’s written part. And it was subtle because the chance-taking worked so thoroughly and elegantly: an experimentalism that didn’t have to call attention to itself.This week, the Philharmonic is making another of its periodic visits to one of New York’s contemporary performance art palaces, the Park Avenue Armory. As usual, the venturesome quality of the trip outside Lincoln Center is being more explicitly underlined. This is the same site that saw Gilbert and the Philharmonic’s performance of Stockhausen’s multi-orchestral masterpiece Gruppen (along with “spatial” music by Mozart and Boulez). This time around, the organizational theme centered on the sumptuous textures of works by contemporary Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, in a concert conducted by Philharmonic composer-in-residence Esa-Pekka Salonen. Continue reading...
Madge/Sakramentskoor/ARMAB O/Blomhert (CPO)Composed as a dance and mime show at the height of the second world war, and never published during the composer’s lifetime, Frank Martin’s Totentanz is based on a series of 15th-century murals that once adorned the walls of a Dominican monastery in Basel. In the paintings, Death is seen as a benign figure, a gentle mediator between the worlds of the living and the dead, and the eight scenes in Martin’s work depict his encounters with ordinary people who may or not be about to die, but are guided to the afterlife if they are. A solo dancer takes the role of Death, with mimes playing the characters he meets. The musical forces include a boys’ choir, a group of baritones, wind band, string orchestra and solo piano, as well as three Basel drums, a type of military drum. The score partly comes from Martin’s earlier works and makes prominent use of a 16th-century soldier’s hymn. Brittle marches and uptempo chorales are interspersed with choral numbers; there are echoes of Stravinsky (The Soldier’s Tale) and Kurt Weill, even Gershwin. It’s a curiosity, really, but the music’s pervasive melancholy is oddly touching in this first-ever recording, which seems to have been prepared meticulously by Bastiaan Blomhert . Continue reading...
1 Mozart piano concert 27, K595 (Brendel) 2 Vivaldi Four Seasons, 1958 L’Oiseau Lyre 3 Elgar: Enigma Variations, with Sospiri 4 Barber Adagio 5 Mozart Requiem 6 Cosi fan tutte 7 Handel Messiah 8 Rossini: Messe solonelle 9 Schumann symphonies (SWR Stuttgart) 10 Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (Philharmonia)
We have been sent a list of the 100 most searched classical pianists on Wikipedia, the global reference site. Since the site lists every musician who ever touched a keyboard as a pianist, it’s not suprising that Mozart comes first with an average 5,631 searches a day, Beethoven second with 4,668 and Chopin third with about half as many. The big eye-opener is who comes fourth. It’s John Cale, one of the founders of Velvet Underground and about as classical as Johnny Rotten. 5 Gershwin 6 Liszt 7 Stravinsky 8 Ludovico Einaudi, the icy Italian minimalist 9 Herbie Hancock 10 Leonard Bernstein, averaging 1,077 searches a day 11 Rachmaninov 12 Shostakovich. No one else tops 1,000 searches a day. The findings, collated over viewings in the past two weeks, suggest that Wikipedia needs to tighten up its search criteria to define what is classical and what is a pianist. Among other personalities listed are Samantha Bentley, an English porn star (421 views) and Mark Rutte, Dutch prime minister (338). It may be safely assumed that those searching their names on Wikipedia are not planning to book them for a Liszt concerto. From the above data, we have compiled a mini list of professional concert pianists still alive and playing. Click here for thrills and spills.
The pianist and conductor who died suddenly last month, aged 43, was widely loved and is sorely missed. So friends are putting on a concert at the end of the month to share memories and celebrate his life. Details here. Come one, come all. Message from the One World Symphony: The musical Tribute will include music from Beethoven’s Fidelio and Pastoral Symphony, Arvo Part’s Fratres (“Brothers”), Joan Tower, Lawrence Rush (one of Lloyd’s many friends), and Lloyd himself. During the “Fellowship” (potluck reception), the Bob Page Jazz Trio will serenade all the guests. Like many musicians, One World Symphony’s Sung Jin Hong has been devastated and has been reeling from the unexpected loss of his dear friend Lloyd. With One World Symphony, Lloyd has performed as the featured soloist on Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in the sold-out Town Hall Debut and Ravel’s Piano Concerto. He was also the collaborative pianist for numerous auditions and rehearsals for many of our opera productions. Sung Jin has been working non-stop to reach out and gather artists to celebrate the life and spirit of Lloyd during this high summer. At this time, we’ll have more than 60 musicians at Lloyd’s Tribute and Fellowship. Many of our artists have shared their memories of Lloyd in the “Artists’ Opening Chords”: http://oneworldsymphony.org/concerts2016_LloydArriolaTribute_chords.shtml
George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera, Porgy and Bess (1935). He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin. George Gershwin composed music for both Broadway and the classical concert hall, as well as popular songs that brought his work to an even wider public. His compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations. Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs.
Great composers of classical music