Igor Levit: Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski / theartsdesk review

Three massive sets of variations on three discs is a lot of music to digest, along with 104 separate tracks. So clear an evening and turn to the third CD first. Be blown away by Frederic Rzewski's mind-boggling sequence of 36 variations on the Chilean song The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, a tune originally written as an anthem for the Allende government. Rzewski's variations were composed in 1975. It's a brilliantly catchy melody, and what Rzewski subjects it to will amaze; several centuries' worth of virtuoso piano technique compressed into an hour. The faster, percussive variations border on the unplayable, but Igor Levit makes everything sound lucid and logical. There's a hefty quote from the Eisler/Brecht Solidarity Song midway. Levit slams the piano lid down, and whistles. Some moments sound like Rachmaninov, others like Ligeti, though the contrapuntal wizardry repeatedly suggests Bach. And, as with the Goldberg Variations, the theme returns to close the work. It's phenomenal, and this performance has to be one of the greatest piano recordings in years.   SEE ALL REVIEWS
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Rolando Villazon - Treasures of Bel Canto / WFMT: New Release Of the Week

Italian music in the 19th century is most often summed up in a single word: opera. Yet, for all its importance, opera was only the magnificent tip of the iceberg of Italian musical life. Instrumental, orchestral and, in particular, sacred music all abounded in Ottocento Italy.  The fours composers featured in this all-new recital are all known mostly for their operatic output, yet each was also an accomplished writer of songs, a fact that Rolando Villazón has chosen to highlight. On Treasures of Bel Canto, the tenor presents a recital of 18th-century Italian songs by Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi. Most of the songs were written for voice and piano, but Villazón has commissioned orchestrations. According to the tenor, "The songs were asking to be orchestrated. I could hear the orchestra in my head as I sang them." Villazón is joined by mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli for one selection, and Marco Armiliato conducts the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra. Rolando Villazon: Treasures of Bel Canto on Deutsche Grammophon is the WFMT: Chicago - NEW RELEASE OF THE WEEK. Featured tracks are: Verdi: Deh, pietoso, o Addolorata (4:41), Rossini: La danza (3:13) Rolando Villazón, tenor; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra / Marco Armiliato
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Valentina Lisitsa - Nuances / WFMT Featured New Release

Valentina Lisitsa, who has a formidable track record when it comes to mining the works of left-field composers, turns her attention to Alexander Scriabin with her new release, Nuances. While Scriabin was dramatically pushing at musical boundaries by the end of his short life, his early works are suffused with a fresh innocence – this selection from his lesser-known piano repertoire reflects the striking stylistic differences that characterised his all too brief career. Marking the 100th anniversary of the composer's death in 1915 at the age of 43,  Scriabin: Impromptus, Op 14 (8:08) from Valentina Lisitsa: Nuances on Decca is a WFMT: Chicago Featured New Release
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Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood app / Sinfini review

A new album/app, Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood, aims to update Prokofiev's classic tale for children of the digital age. But what will they make of it? Sinfini's Alison Crutchley gave the app to a crack squadron of junior reviewers to find out. Deutsche Grammophon's new Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood is a retelling of the children's classic set in modern-day Los Angeles, narrated by Alice Cooper and available as a digital album, CD and animated iPad app created by production company Giants Are Small. The story follows Peter's arrival in Hollywood to live with his hippy grandfather, and his heroic attempt to catch a wolf that escapes from a local zoo. The updated story contains plenty of lively nods to modern life: Peter pursues the wolf in a giant robot, and the hunters are sharp-shooting paparazzi. The app's visuals are cartoon-like, with an intriguing mix of static scenes and action, while Alice Cooper provides witty and characterful narration. The music is performed by the National Youth Orchestra of Germany under Alexander Shelley.  READ THE FULL Sinfini ARTICLE
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Dr. Ed Calle - Mamblue wins Latin GRAMMY for Best Instrumental Album

Showcasing more than 100 South Florida music legends that, as a group, appear on more than 10,000 CDs by superstars ranging from Frank Sinatra to Celia Cruz and the Bee Gees to Barbra Streisand, we proudly announce the release of Dr. Ed Calle Presents Mamblue. This two-album tribute to Miami and its culture, music, and musicians is an Afro-Cuban jazz orchestra extravaganza featuring all original compositions, arrangements, and orchestrations by Ed Calle. The selections are masterfully brought to life by a superstar  jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble comprised of studio music giants. The ultimate A list. Congrats to Dr. Ed Calle for Mamblue. Latin GRAMMY Winner for Best Instrumental Album
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Arturo Sandoval interview / WCLK: Atlanta

Join Jay Edwards on Jazz Tones - Jazz 91.9 WCLK: Atlanta this Saturday, November 21 from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. as he interviews - Arturo Sandoval.  Born in Cuba and is now a citizen of the United States, Sandoval has won 10 Grammy Awards and has been nominated 19 times.  He has received six Billboard Awards and an Emmy.   He is a 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient.   Sandoval is one of the world's most acknowledged guardians of Jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer. Sandoval recently released - Live At Yoshi's on the Alfi label, and has also penned a book, The Man Who Changed My Life, which chronicles his relationship with Dizzy Gillispie.   Sandoval was a protege' of Gillispie.   In addition,  Sandoval wrote the entire underscore for the movie about his life For Love or Country.   His latest recording is Live at Yoshi's. LISTEN TO THE Arturo Sandoval interview on WCLK: Atlanta
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Leif Ove Andsnes' video guide to Beethoven's Emperor Concerto / CLASSIC fm

Leif Ove Andsnes is one of today's greatest living pianists – and he's particularly brilliant when it comes to Beethoven. So, when we met him at his home in Bergen, we asked him to guide us through one of the composer's greatest works. In these series of videos Andsnes demonstrates the amazing opening to Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto and to explain exactly why it's so revolutionary. He goes over the First Movement of the 'Emperor' Piano Concerto, guides us through the different themes that the great composer uses in this section, the development section, Beethoven with the octaves. Andsnes also explains exactly how Beethoven breaks your heart. He also explains the transition between the second and third movements – perhaps the most revolutionary moment in the whole concerto. Leif Ove Andsnes' film 'Concerto – A Beethoven Journey' is available to buy on DVD now.  And there's plenty more about our trip to Bergen to meet Leif Ove Andsnes right here. WATCH THE VIDEOS
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The Bill Frisell Trio plays Florida State Univ. / Tallahassee Democrat

Let's just be blunt about this: Bill Frisell is one of the best guitarists on the planet Earth. The Grammy Award-winning Frisell is usually described as a jazz player but he's really a restless genre-jumper who's hard to pin down. Frisell is just as comfortable playing a Beatles cover, a surf tune, an Aaron Copland composition as he is with one of his original instrumentals such as "Monroe," his nod to bluegrass king Bill Monroe. The eclectic, intellectually fidgety Frisell never stays in one place for too long. His most recent album was called "Guitar in the Space Age!" With all that in mind, I shouldn't have been surprised when I asked him what's on the set list for his upcoming concert with The Bill Frisell Trio at Florida State and he said, basically, he had no clue. "Well, that's a good question," Frisell, 64, said and chuckled over the phone from Seattle. "We've been playing together so long and we've made I don't know how many records together. So, when we play as a trio, it's really, really wide open. The possibilities are just huge. ... We never plan it out with the trio, it's just evolved to a point where it's like a language, it's a conversation."    READ THE FULL Tallahassee Democrat ARTICLE
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St Paul's Cathedral Choir - Carol Of The Bells / Scunthorpe Telegraph review

London's oldest and most illustrious cathedral choir, St Paul's Cathedral Choir, CAROL OF THE BELLS - (Decca Classic FM): A unlikely but seasonal challenge for the festive number one album spot comes from the 40-strong London choir and their director Andrew Carwood. The 19 tracks include time-honoured favourites like Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and O Come, All ye faithful. This album is Britain at its best and after almost 900 years the boys and men from St Paul's deserve some chart glory 9/10. SEE ALL REVIEWS FROM THIS PAGE
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Inbal Segev feature in NUVO

Just a few weeks ago, Israeli-born cellist Inbal Segev was giving a concert in Brooklyn of all six Bach Cello Suites, arguably a pinnacle of the cello repertoire, over two days. (That performance came only a few days after the news of her recording of said work made the first rounds of Grammy nominations.) Just the other day she was playing Beethoven with the Amerigo Trio (of which she's a founding member) and now, fast forward in the repertoire nearly two centuries, Segev will be performing Dmitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto no. 1 in E flat with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Jumping from genre to genre seems like it might induce a sort of musical whiplash, but Segev spoke of the challenge with relish. "From playing the Bach, which is soft, more vibrant, to the Shostakovich which has a cutting sound, almost ugly….and that's ok! I'm kind of a chameleon, I try to play everything!" she said laughing.

And play everything she certainly seems to do. She's recorded Bach, Beethoven, and Boccherini, and then commissioned works from Avner Dorman, Timo Andres, and Gity Razaz. Right after speaking about all of that, she went on about playing tangoes in South America, and it was clear how passionate and driven Segev is about the instrument she chose to play at age 5. "I always want to challenge myself, I want to find new things. Whatever is good, I want to play it!"   READ THE FULL NUVO ARTICLE
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Black Violin set to play Stockton Performing Arts Center / At the Shore Q&A

Generally speaking, when you think of performers who use stringed instruments such as the viola or violin, you likely picture stuffy aging white men, seated deep within the pit of a concert hall, each draped head to toe in formal wear, entertaining throngs of incredibly well-behaved - and seated - aristocrats. Essentially, classical music is what comes to mind. What does NOT generally come to mind, is the world of hip-hop, with its reputation for wild crowds, party vibes and love of all things weed-related. No, for most, those musical worlds seem far, far apart. Of course, not everyone has heard Black Violin - yet. Wil B and Kev Marcus have taken on the task of merging the seemingly un-mergeable genres of hip-hop and classical music, while throwing in bits of bluegrass, jazz and fusion, as well. That is the essence of Black Violin. While these genres may seem at odds, audiences have ignored the implied boundaries, embracing the Floridian duo, who's show-stopping performances at both Bonnaroo and NBC's "Showtime at the Apollo" helped to cement their reputation within the last decade. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, the band will appear at Stockton University's Performing Arts Center. We had a chance to chat with violist Wil B and get his take on hip-hop, stringed instrumets and what it means to "prove it" every night. Here's what he had to say.  
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Maria Schneider Orchestra plays London Jazz Festival / theguardian review

The sound of jazz is often brittle, urgent and urban, but the music of the great US jazz composer and bandleader Maria Schneider evokes the glide of birds and the vistas of prairies more than it does the edgy clamour of the streets. As with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell, and not infrequently Aaron Copland, too, Schneider's music is about a more innocent and unconflicted America, still hoping that humanity might one day get into the kind of harmony with itself and its environment that she hears in her head. Following a short, sharp and pithily deconstructivist approach to familiar songs by the inventive London pianist Liam Noble, Schneider's orchestra opened their London jazz festival gig with the rich themes from her new album, The Thompson Fields – inspired by the composer's returns to old Minnesota haunts. The softly squeezed accordion intro and swelling brass and flute lines of A Potter's Song suggested, as Schneider's compositions often do, a music involuntarily borne on air currents rather than propelled.   READ theguardian REVIEW
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Top 10 Albums for November

Soundtracks :


Decca/Universal Music Classics is releasing one of the most anticipated film soundtracks of the year: SPECTRE – the 24th James Bond adventure. After the success of Skyfall and winning a BAFTA for best film music, Thomas Newman (‘American Beauty', ‘The Shawshank Redemption') returned on SPECTRE to create an original score to accompany the film.  The soundtrack album includes a new instrumental version of Sam Smith's new Bond main title song ‘Writing's On The Wall'. Thomas Newman comments: "It was a real honor to write the score to SPECTRE. The Bond films have such a rich musical heritage so it's been an incredible privilege to return to the franchise after Skyfall and create a soundtrack for this spectacular new movie." 24 Total  SYND: The Score, Sixty Second CD, Westwood One Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, Stingray, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Detroit, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Long Is. NY, Canada Online: Taintradio
Various :

The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours

The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours has been created for the listener who has had their first few dates with the classics and is contemplating a lifetime commitment. For them, Deutsche Grammophon has created this album that moves far beyond a collection of greatest hits. While the hits are included - one will find Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony - The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours includes other lesser known works such as string quartets by Bartok, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Great music, yes. Greatest hits' Not yet! 73 TOTAL SYND: NPR, C24, CBC Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Austin, Memphis, Albuquerque, Buffalo Online: AccuRadio
John Scofield :

Past Present

John Scofield updates his early-'90s quartet with drummer Bill Stewart and saxophonist Joe Lovano by recruiting bassist Larry Grenadier for his fetching, appropriately titled impulse! debut, Past Present. Between 1990 and 1992, the celebrated guitarist released three well-received discs – Meant to Be, Time on My Hands and What We Do – for the Blue Note label as the John Scofield Quartet. On those records, either Marc Johnson or Dennis Irwin played bass. Nevertheless, Grenadier also has history playing with Scofielld; he toured with Scofield in support of the 1996 disc, Quiet. The nine exciting tunes Scofield penned on Past Present also reflects his philosophy on playing jazz music. He stresses the importance of being knowledgeable of the music's deep, complex roots while simultaneously being spontaneous and in the moment while performing it. For an artist with such a multifaceted discography as Scofield's, getting to the root of jazz means channeling the blues, as demonstrated on the disc's closing, titled-track.  11 NEW  257 Total SYND: NPR/Songs We Love, PRI/Jazz After Hours, Voice Of America Direct: SiriusXM/Real Jazz, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Portland, St. Louis, San Diego, Detroit, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Orlando, Berkeley CA, Tampa, Honolulu, Montreal, Vancouver Online: MOJA, Something Else, Taintradio, Jazz From Gallery 41, Party 934, KUHS, Green Arrow, Jazz Weekly, Jambase, PopMatters, Kaleidophonic Jazz, relix, Dirty Dog, animajazz INTER: Canada, Australia, Ireland, Italy 65 Jazzweek ADD's
Soundtracks :

The Walk

Alan Silvestri has scored some of the most iconically revered and profitable films in Hollywood history, amassing over a hundred credits to the tune of two Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, as well as three Grammy awards. While stylistically diverse, the unifying voice of Alan's work is an unmistakable rhythmic melody whose themes continue to embody movie excitement and drama for generations of moviegoers. Silvestri has scored well over 100 films of every imaginable style and genre. His energy and experimentation has brought excitement and emotion to the (…) scores. The Walk is a new production of the decades long collaboration between Silvestri and filmmaker Robert Zemeckis. (…) no film partnership defines their creative relationship better than Zemeckis' 1994 Best Picture winner, "Forrest Gump", for which Silvestri's gift for melodically beautiful themes earned him an Oscar nomination and the affection of film music lovers everywhere. (Alan Silvestri Homepage) 24 Total  SYND: The Score, Sixty Second CD, Westwood One Direct: Music Choice, Stingray, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Portland, New Orleans, Detroit, San Antonio, El Paso, Long Is. NY, Canada Online: Humboltdt 101, Live 365, GURU, Taintradio
Arturo Sandoval :

Live at Yoshi's

Melbourne, Australia's ALFI Records present the new album from brilliant trumpet player Arturo Sandoval - Live at Yoshi's. The prolific Cuban-born, Los Angeles-based Sandoval has squeezed a whole lot of living into his 65 years. His bio reads so much like a film script that his life was actually turned into an HBO movie starring Andy Garcia. Trained in classical music at the Cuban National School of Arts, Sandoval eventually defected from Cuba while in Europe on tour with Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra and settled in Miami to begin his musical life anew as a jazz composer, performer, producer and bandleader. 6 NEW  148 Total SYND: PRI/Jazz After Hours Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Miami, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Portland, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Louisville, San Antonio, Hartford CT, Boulder CO, Honolulu, Vancouver Online: Taintradio, MOJA, Jazz From Gallery 41, Dirty Dog, M3, SoulandJazz 51 JazzWeek ADD's
Julia Wolfe :

Anthracite Fields

Haunting, poignant and relentlessly physical, Julia Wolfe's Anthracite Fields is a lovingly detailed oratorio about turn-of-the-20th-century Pennsylvania coal miners, and a fitting recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music. NPR Music's Tom Huizenga describes the piece as "...almost a public history project and a music project at the same time," which hints at the work's universal appeal. Weaving together personal interviews that she conducted with miners and their families, along with oral histories, speeches, rhymes and local mining lore, Wolfe sought to honor the working lives of Pennsylvania's anthracite region. "It's not necessarily mainstream history," she told NPR shortly after she received word of winning the Pulitzer. "The politics are very fascinating-the issues about safety, and the consideration for the people who are working and what's involved in it.  4 NEW  13 Total Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Houston, Detroit, Austin, Baltimore Online: Second Inversion, Taintradio
Max Emanuel Cencic :

Arie Napoletane

The award-winning Max Emanuel Cencic celebrates the musical riches of Naples in his latest solo album for Decca. Arie Napoletane follows naturally from the prodigious countertenor's critically acclaimed recording of opera arias by Hasse, Rokoko. This new album includes ten world premiere recordings of virtuoso arias by Porpora, Leo, Vinci and Alessandro Scarlatti. Cencic's selection of repertoire reflects his determination to breathe fresh life into neglected masterworks from the 17th and 18th centuries. His rich blend of technical agility, daring artistry and tonal clarity is ideally suited to his choice of works, which includes the heroic "Quel vasto, quel fiero" from Porpora's Polifemo and "No, non vedrete mai" from Leo's Siface. Cencic is partnered by his long-standing artistic collaborators Il Pomo d'Oro and Maxim Emelyanychev, who also performs the flamboyant solo keyboard part in Domenico Auletta's Concerto in D for harpsichord, two violins and continuo. 25 NEW  28 Total SYND: Classical 24, CBC Direct: Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Seattle, Minneapolis, Portland, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Houston, Austin, Canada Online: Taintradio
Laura Karpman :


"Ivesian collage with club-culture remixing"- The New York Times "Carnegie Hall reaches a climax with Laura Karpman's new work"- The New Yorker "Fevered, restrained, super-lush in turns...always impressive."- Vanity Fair "Audacious, mesmerizing… Karpman has the skill to shift musical gears with ease." - Gramophone ASK YOUR MAMA - Setting of  Langston Hughes' 1961 epic poem by Emmy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman A Carnegie Hall commission & RELEASED via AVIE RECORDS. A plural vision of the American dream deferred, ASK YOUR MAMA bursts the boundaries of time, place and expression, tracing the currents and tributaries of cultural diasporas, from African to the Americas, the South to the North, cities to suburbs. The prophetic voice of Langston Hughes echoes throughout, "ONE'S COUNTRY IS YOUR MAMA." Commissioned by Carnegie Hall and released by Avie records. 10 New  33 Total SYND: PBS: NewsHour Direct: MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit, Albuquerque, Orlando, Tucson, Montreal Online: Variety, Huffington Post, examiner.com, Gramophone, Smithsonian.com, Taintradio, Thought Catalog  
Yo-Yo Ma | Kathryn Stott :

Songs from the Arc of Life

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott create a unique classical music experience with their new Sony Classical recording Songs from the Arc of Life available September 18, 2015. This all-new recording also celebrates thirty years of friendship and collaboration in concerts and recordings for Ma and Stott. The album includes pieces they have frequently performed but never recorded, as well as a handful of discoveries. 13 NEW  200 Total SYND: NPR/First Listen, Classical 24, CBC Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Pittsburgh, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Louisville, Buffalo, Madison WI, Columbus OH, Honolulu, Canada Online: Associated Press , axs, AARP, Today Show Weekend, Wall Street Journal, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Live With Kelly & Michael, New York Magazine, AllMusic, Classicalite  Taintradio, Pop Sugar
Black Violin :


Wilner "Wil B" Baptiste (viola) and Kevin "Kev" Marcus Sylvester (violin) are Black Violin, a duo who radically fuse hip-hop and pop with classical music to create a kaleidoscope of sounds uniquely their own.  Classically trained musicians, they have opened for such diverse top names in music as Kanye West, 50 Cent, Aerosmith and Tom Petty, and also creatively collaborated with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Linkin Park, Wyclef Jean and Alicia Keys, the latter for the Billboard Music Awards. Set for release on September 18 on Universal Music Classics, their major label debut was produced by Eli Wolf (The Roots & Elvis Costello, Norah Jones).    30 NEW  39 Total SYND: UnderCurrents, WoodSongs, CBC Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Houston, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Montreal Online: Taintradio, MOJA, Eclectic Chair