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Classical Music Discoveries
Classical Music Discoveries
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963 Episodes
SYMPHONY NO.1 John Robertson Deeply committed to a beauteous aesthetic, composer John Robertson's second album SYMPHONY NO.1 once more delivers a neoclassical triumph with tremendous potential for repeated listening. This release flaunts an unapologetically exuberant elegance ever-present in the composer's oeuvre. The heart of the album is, of course, Robertson's Symphony No. 1, a three-movement epos which explores the vast realm of classical tonality. While the first movement starts out touching upon 20th-century harmonies reminiscent of Prokofiev, the second one already harkens back to the late Romantic school. Still, remaining very much a contemporary composition in its essence, this symphony offers plenty of innovation: not only does it push the limits of the traditional symphonic fast-slow-fast movement order, it also spearheads intensely lyrical soloistic parts such as the third movement's elaborate solo violin introduction, from which all other instruments organically spring forth. In the same vein, the Suite for Orchestra Op. 46 is easy on the ear, oscillating between the exaltation of the introductory Fanfare, the natural grace of the subsequent Waltz, the profound tristesse of the Elegy, and the uplifting, resolute splendor of the concluding March. The form of musical variations, the calling card of a composer's skill and craftsmanship throughout the ages, receives an apt treatment in the form of Robertson's Variations for small orchestra, Op. 14. In just over 18 minutes, they explore the possibilities of thematic development from every imaginable angle, ranging from the solidly-classical to the breezingly and self-confidently outlandish. John Robertson's straightforward formal choices render all of these compositions intuitively accessible, yet make no compromises in terms of technical and musical complexity, which remain sophisticated throughout. SYMPHONY #1 proves that new music can be rooted in tradition, yet offer a breath of creative fresh air – effortlessly and naturally.
6 hours ago |
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315 ENSEMBLE CHRIS CRESSWELL Arjun Jethwa Luke Newby Laurie McGee Laetitia Van Wyk Heather Duncanson Chris Cresswell Ravello Records presents 315 ENSEMBLE, the self-titled debut album of composer/electric guitarist/sound artist Chris Cresswell’s sextet, recorded live at Birmingham Conservatoire in England. Cresswell’s 315 Ensemble is dedicated to exploring possibilities in electroacoustic music as well as commissioning works from outstanding composers worldwide. This album premieres two compositions by Creswell exclusively. 315 Ensemble is “a chamber ensemble masquerading as an electro-acoustic band or an experimental band masquerading as a chamber ensemble,” includes Arjun Jethwa (flute/bass flute); Luke Newby (clarinet/bass clarinet); Laurie McGee (violin); Laetitia Van Wyk (cello); Heather Duncanson (piano); and Chris Cresswell (electric guitar/electronics). In Cresswell’s blurs the line between white noise, digital sampling, ambient electronic textures, and classical instruments, with an organic structure and a restrained instrumentation. This culminates in a provocative exploration of tonalities through which the listener is challenged to hear sound graphics as the foreground. This journey is aptly reflected in the first work “From Dreams, We Emerge,” about which, the composer writes: “the work explores subtle, shifting electronic textures built from white noise, sampled instruments, and static.” The album also premieres “The Lost Art of Losing Sleep,” the first work Cresswell wrote specifically for the ensemble. The music, an exploration of electroacoustic tone clusters, is accompanied by a poem: woven fragments wash over him as he rediscovers the lost art of losing sleep
1 day ago |
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HIPSTER ZOMBIES FROM MARS PIANO MUSIC FOR A POST-IRONIC AGE Nicholas Vines, composer Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, piano Nicholas Vines presents HIPSTER ZOMBIES FROM MARS, his third PARMA Recordings album. This collection of three major piano works by Dr. Vines was recorded on location at Cornell University with artist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough at the piano. For all of the flash one might expect from the album title, Vines bypasses gimmickry in order to capture something sophisticated. Standouts include the four-movement Terraformation for pianoforte, inspired by Kim Stanley Robinson’s science-fiction novel “Red Mars.” Vines depicts the technology’s influence on nature by lifting traditional classical forms and acclimating them to a modernist viewpoint. McCullough captivates the listener with his careful attention to the futuristic timeline into which Vines’ tone clusters have been poetically mapped. Indie Ditties: Twelve Scapes for Piano is a social commentary on the modern hipster movement. The multi-genre piano melodies are thoughtfully constructed, telling a story that is both interesting and musically complex. Concentrating carefully, a keen listener will hear familiar incidental phrases in the most unexpected of places (hint: Movement III, Bad Appletude is not about produce). Vines describes his compositional technique as “ firmly rooted in the technical resources of the Western classical canon, while embracing sounds and ideas from an array of popular, experimental, Australian and non-Western traditions. This combination of rigour and pluralism gives rise to music at once vectored and kaleidoscopic.” Popular media outlets have called the work of Dr. Nicholas Vines “exquisite,” “riveting,” “arresting,” “edgy, bright and entertaining as hell.” HIPSTER ZOMBIES FROM MARS does not fail to deliver on these accolades.
2 days ago |
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THE MORE YOU KNOW Ron Paley Exuberant and exciting is the Big Round Records debut of big band pianist and composer Ron Paley. This is not “just another pops album.” Paley’s work is cool, clever, and ridiculously fun. Seven of the ten tracks on THE MORE YOU KNOW are completely composed, arranged, and performed by Ron Paley. “Theme” is energetic, exploring elements of upbeat jazz and classic boogie woogie. Fast-paced, too, is “U of M” where the artist/composer delves into the genres of gospel and rock as well—surprising the listener at the end with his impressive talent for percussing vocally. “A Beautiful Soul,” and “P&Q” are exquisite jazz ballads that are par with the perfection of those Weill, Porter, or Gershwin. This is demonstrated, too, in Paley’s Ballad Trilogy. “Listen to the Sound,” explores the rhythmic character inherent in Latin dance genres. The title track, “The More You Know,” is fresh and improvisatory. Paley’s mash-up arrangement of Dietz and Schwartz’s “Alone Together” and Orbison’s “Pretty Woman,” is the most experimental track on the album and demonstrates Paley’s gift for transforming the expected into something altogether new. Paley’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers,” is a lounge treat, unlike any other interpretation of the favorited Nutcracker tune. Paley brings the same sort of originality to his fabulous arrangement of Chopin’s Prelude in C-Minor, which concludes this treasure of a recording. For complete track listings and credits, please visit: http://www.bigroundrecords.com/epk/themoreyouknow/credits---the-more-you-know---ron-paley.html
3 days ago |
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TABLEAU TEMPEST & TANGO Clipper Erickson, piano Navona Records artist Clipper Erickson presents a solo piano album of works by composers Richard Brodhead (1947- ), David Finko (1936-), and Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) entitled TABLEAU TEMPEST & TANGO. The mostly Russian-themed album climaxes with Erickson’s masterful interpretation of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The original version for solo piano precedes the iconic orchestrations by many composers, most notably Maurice Ravel. For Erickson, the piano is his orchestra, and he conducts it marvelously through every movement, down to the famed finale, The Great Gate of Kiev. Stellar, too, is Erickson’s interpretation of Finko’s Fantasia on a Medieval Russian Theme, which is inspired by a grievous poem about the oppression of the Russian people. Mussorgsky also used this poem, incorporating it as part of the libretto for the Act I choral scene of his Khovanshchina (1880). The severity, which is truly captured in Finko’s fantasy, is made spiritual by Erickson’s interpretation. Finko’s Sonata No. 1 Solomon Mikhoels is next. It has folk roots--budding from the composer’s interest in Yiddish and Slavic cultures. Erickson executes the polarity in dynamic contrast and rhythmic complexity with incredible manual dexterity. Finko writes that his Sonata No. 2 “expresses the acute feelings of a sensitive intellectual who goes through several stages of personal sufferings and struggle.” This journey is demonstrated by Erickson’s acute attention to mood, even in the subtlest of harmonic progressions. Finko’s Sonata No. 3, composed in 2009, is evocative of the evolution of the composer’s technique since his first sonata in 1964. Erickson, too, shows an evolution -- the melodies become more fluid, the separation between each note more precise. The listener is transported to Argentina where Erickson presents Richard Brodhead’s Una Carta de Buenos Aires, a truly dark tango. It is mysterious and vacant, but Erickson handles it like a delicate flower. The finale is Brodhead’s Sonata No. 2, Sonata Notturna, dark, too, in its presentation, but Erickson’s light shines on the meditation of terrors we hear at night. As evidenced on his previous recording, 2015’s MY CUP RUNNETH OVER, Professor Erickson’s prodigious performances are not only products of his superior musicianship, but also the in-depth studies he completes on every work performed. This is the best collection of such works to date. TABLEAU TEMPEST & TANGO is a must-have for the collections of piano dilettantes and savants alike. As the LA Times notes, Erickson plays “with extraordinary dash and power and he never let[s] flamboyance obscure art.” For complete track listing and credits, please visit: http://navonarecords.com/catalog/nv6170/track-listing---credits---tableau--tempest---tango---clipper-erickson.html
4 days ago |
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THE FIFTH ROW Stuart Weber Find your seat and settle in with THE FIFTH ROW, the latest album by guitarist Stuart Weber. These twelve compositions, recorded in several historic American theaters, employ Weber’s strong yet delicate guitar playing along with the acoustics of the rooms in which he recorded. Combining elements of classical and folk, Weber embraces the elegance of high-brow compositions as well as the grit of stripped-down Americana. Conversely, Weber’s interpretation of “America The Beautiful" cracks the hardened shell of the country’s staple song and exposes the pearl underneath that brings a brand new, marvelous way of looking at the classic. Weber’s folk and classical elements are diversified throughout the album. “Spanish Creek" combines elements of the tango and flamenco guitar, while the “Jefferson Waltz” maintains that triple time rhythm to inspire the famous gliding dance. Under the influence of the legendary Christopher Parkening, Weber finds his own sound through the humanizing element of folk in his compositions. He employs as much of an Andrés Segovia influence as he does a Jackson Browne influence. With Weber playing off of the acoustics in the performance halls in which he recorded the album, the experience of listening to this album feels as though the listener is sitting in the front row, hearing the pluck of every finger in real time.
6 days ago |
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Daniel Roberts has performed Solo Recitals around Europe in Germany, UK, Norway, and performed for the 1st time in the USA in February 2017. He has featured in Radio interviews on the BBC, and enjoyed a Chamber Duo collaboration with Violinist Hannah Woolmer. Orchestral performances in the UK, and Brazil have included concertos by Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaniov, Gershwin, Grieg, and Tchaikovsky. Daniel was greatly influenced by his late mentor, the world renowned Pedagogue Peter Feuchtwanger, and Daniel helps other Pianists to learn this approach to playing that takes away strain and tension in the body. Website: www.danielrobertsmusic.com Solo Album featuring Rachmaninov´s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and solo pieces by Schumann, and Daniel. Physical copies available for worldwide delivery: https://www.danielrobertsmusic.com/solo-album/
6 days ago |
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INEFFABLE TALES John Alan Rose Composer/Performer John Alan Rose presents INEFFABLE TALES, an album of four of his ensemble compositions, recorded at Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic. In addition to renowned soloists Jungwon Choi (cello), Moni Simeonov (violin), the recording features the composer’s wife Sing Rose (soprano), and the composer himself (piano). The album also features the Moravian Philharmonic, under the direction of Miran Vaupotic. Rose stuns from the outset with his imaginative piano concerto “Tolkien Tale,” a programmatic fantasy with clear Eastern European folk elements. In the first movement “Setting out on a great adventure,” the listener, perhaps on a journey with famed hobbit Bilbo Baggins, is introduced to playful syncopations and pentatonic explorations -- perhaps in homage to folk explorations of Bartok, Brahms, Dvorak, and Prokofiev. The Earth and all its elements can be heard in Rose’s masterful orchestration, highlighting impressive writing for chimes and percussion. The warm “Lullaby,” the second movement, is a short interlude, a breathtaking look at tandem possibilities for keyboard instruments and woodwinds. Concluding the work is “March,” a continuation of the fanciful literary journey with musically atmospheric projections of things encountered along the way. The work is solid, accessible, and most of all memorable -- one that could work itself into standard orchestral repertoire for years to come. Next is “Old Father Time” for cello and orchestra, a nostalgic, yet timeless work demonstrating the composer’s mastery of the neo-Romantic style and the complexities of storytelling through music. Maestro Vaupotic has created such a purity in timbre and sonority that the listener will be astonished at how clearly critical every part is in creating a whole. As concertist Jungwon Choi (cello) humbly shares the stage as part of the orchestra. The two-minute violin introduction to “25,000 Years of Peace” is modern, seemingly improvisational and likewise experimental. The violinist somehow replicates the hollow breaths heard in folk woodwinds. It is meditative and almost religious. Direction is unclear. But then the grand orchestra enters and the listener is transported to the Western frontier in an Ives-like montage of New World folk tune, Native American chant, and Shaker hymnsong. The modern aesthetic is so seamlessly woven into the fabric, one wonders, at times, if Fleck and Wooten have entered the picturesque scene. LIsteners will enjoy “Ticket to the Theater” featuring soprano, Sing Rose and the dark comedic narration of actor Tyler Bunch (Sesame Street). John Alan Rose explains, “my goal was to contribute a new piece to the vocal/orchestral repertoire suggesting a grand operatic performance, but requiring only one performer, one narrator and no set. It is supposed to seem off-the-cuff, and since "invented" by a musician onstage, resorts to the barest of bones of a plot, without an identifiable lead character!” This album is brilliant in every way and is the work of a very thoughtful composer. INEFFABLE TALES makes the future of the orchestral canon quite bright. Quite bright indeed!
7 days ago |
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ON & BETWEEN Lin Ma & Zhen Chen U.S. immigrants live in the dualities of cultures and identities. ON & BETWEEN is a musical exploration of the dualities and the accompanying anticipation, agony, pride and compromise – poignantly capturing the states of mind of an immigrant on the journey of home-seeking and assimilation. Award winning composer Zhen Chen explores new possibilities by weaving traditional Chinese music instruments and folk tone with piano and Western style chamber music. A sweeping and at times epic recording, ON & BETWEEN is a masterstroke of sophisticated storytelling performed by a stellar ensemble of musicians. Played by Lin Ma, the solo instrument and protagonist on this recording is the pipa (Chinese Lute), a traditional musical instrument with more than two thousand years of history. Collaborating artists include Grammy-nominees Cho-Liang Lin and Elmira Darvarova (violin), Manhattan School of Music’s David Geber (cello), the New York Philharmonic’s Liang Wang (oboe) and Howard Wall (French horn), MET Orchestra’s Shenghua Hu (violin) and Milan Milisavljevic (viola). Jazz musicians Braxton Cook (saxophone) and Curtis Nowosad (drums) add yet another dimension to this multilayered recording. ON & BETWEEN’s first track, “Arrival,” deftly references the “Going Home” theme from the second movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony to display the solemn respect and sense of promise the United States places in the hearts of new immigrants. The rolling piano figures and long cello phrases combine render a scene of the gradual landing of an airplane and the beginning of new life and discovery. “Lost in the Midtown” bursts forth with inspired personification of each instrument as they create a tango inspired arrangement depicting an immigrant’s fight against social institutions. The monotony of the cello represents a cold, harsh institutional structure, while the pipa displays an immigrant’s sense of stress and panic in navigating political bureaucracy. The music contracts into a vertigo like quiet section spreading out into a rapid glissando articulating depression, anguish, and helplessness. As the recording unfolds, we discover love at first sight (“Encounter”), the NYC nightlife (“Cocktails”), and a jazzy stroll through the city on “Walk on the Fifth” displaying our protagonist’s increased comfort in their new home. ON & BETWEEN’s concluding track, “Harmony,” revisits the opening “Going Home” motif. This time, played on the pipa, the foreign becomes familiar. Subtly showing the immigrant’s adoption of their new home while bringing the entire recording to a wholly satisfying and affirming close.
8 days ago |
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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25 Dominique Beaulieu, conductor CMD Philharmonic of Paris in Orleans
9 days ago |
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