Contrabass Conversations writes......Mark Helias is a renowned bassist, composer and producer who has performed throughout the world for more than four decades with some of the most important and innovative musicians in Jazz and Improvised Music including Don Cherry, Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Anthony Braxton, Abbey Lincoln, Cecil Taylor, and Uri Caine. Mark recently released Some Kind of Tomorrow with saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom.
We talk about what life has been like during the pandemic, this latest remote album collaboration with Jane and about remote collaboration in general, and many lessons learned from Mark's years working as a jazz bassist.
The debut album of Joe Lovano's Trio Tapestry was one of 2019's most talked-about releases. This musical concept is taken to the next level on its second album, Garden of Expression, a recording distinguished by its intense focus.
Lovano, a saxophonist whose reach extends across the history of modern jazz and beyond, plays with exceptional sensitivity in Trio Tapestry. The music he writes for this group-tenderly melodic or declamatory, harmonically open, rhythmically free, and spiritually involving-encourages subtle and differentiated responses from his creative partners, creating interactions in which Lovano describes as "magical." Carmen Castaldi's space-conscious approach to drumming further refines an improvisational understanding that he and Lovano have shared since the early 1970s. The trio is also an inspired context for Marilyn Crispell's solos, counter melodies, and improvisational embellishments. Her feeling for sound-color helps the chamber music character of the group bloom.
Joe Lovano sat down with Ruth Fisher of JazzFM's Full Circle. Ruth commented that she was "Really thrilled to be in conversation with the incredible sax man. SEE THE POST
Hilary Hahn's new recording pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of a city that has been close to her heart throughout her career. Released by Deutsche Grammophon on 5 March 2021, Paris sees the American violinist resume her productive partnership with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and its Music Director, Mikko Franck. The three-time Grammy Award-winner's album presents the world premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara's Deux Sérénades, commissioned by Mikko Franck. It also includes Ernest Chausson's Poème and Sergei Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No.1, which received its first performance in the French capital in 1923.
Montana Public Radio's John Floridis interviewed HH about the new recording. LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
udiscovermusic.'s Sharon Kelly writes.....Oboist Albrecht Mayer has released his new album Mozart, a personal and affectionate tribute to one of the greatest composers who ever lived. Albrecht Mayer has lived with Mozart's music for almost half a century. He first discovered the composer while he was a boy soprano in the Bamberg Cathedral Choir, an early experience which is perhaps partly responsible for the warm, singing quality of his oboe playing. Albrecht Mayer's new album Mozart is inspired by his lifelong love for the composer's music and is his first all-Mozart album. Photo: Christoph Köstlin
READ THE FULL udiscovermusic. ARTICLE
In her first new recording in a decade, Joy Harjo – the first Native American named Poet Laureate of the United States – digs deep into the indigenous red earth and the shared languages of music to sing, speak and play a stunningly original musical meditation that seeks healing for a troubled world – I Pray for My Enemies, was released from Sunyata Records/Sony Orchard Distribution on March 5, 2021.
Collaborating with producer/engineer Barrett Martin on this unique new album, Harjo brings a fresh identity to the poetry and songs that have made her a renowned poet of the Muscogee Creek Nation and one of the most authentic and compelling voices of these times.
"The concept for I Pray for My Enemies began" says Harjo, "with an urgent need to deal with discord, opposition. It could have been on a tribal, national or a personal level. I no longer remember. The urgency had a heartbeat and in any gathering of two or more, perhaps the whole planet, our hearts lean to entrainment – that is, to beat together."
Join Spokane Public Radio's 'Soundspace' as Zan hosts a phone interview with the multi-instrumentalist musician, poet, performer, activist and 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, as she speaks about what inspired her recent album. LISTEN
KDFC - KUSC's Brian Lauritzen and Jeffrey Freymann write.....Minari tells the story of a Korean family that moves to Arkansas in the 1980s, hoping to find their American dream by working a farm. For almost every film, the score is the last element to be added – after all the other editing has been done, and the actors have moved on to their next projects. But composer Emile Mosseri approached his score to Minari another way, writing many of the original themes when there was only a script, and the film hadn't yet been shot.
He says he sent director Lee Isaac Chung sketches for the score even before he was officially hired as the film's composer, and thinks that the music would have had a less important role if it had been written later.
Mosseri has only scored a handful of films, including the critically acclaimed The Last Black Man in San Francisco and Miranda July's Kajillionaire, yet won this nomination (one of six for the film) with a score about the intersection of two cultures that doesn't try to sound like either of them.
Listen to Brian Lauritzen and Emile Mosseri chat on KDFC: San Francisco & KUSC: Los Angeles
WFMT's Lisa Flynn writes.....The new album by Charles Richard-Hamelin presents two important works by Frédéric Chopin and consolidates the musician's place in the highest ranks of the pianistic world. Describing the 24 Preludes, Richard-Hamelin says: "One can hear the entire scope of Chopin's output inside the microcosm that are the Preludes. Across all the different major and minor keys, we get hints of his Études, Nocturnes, Impromptus, Mazurkas, and even fragments of larger works such as the Ballades. Yet, there is also a sense of an overarching story being told in 24 chapters of various lengths and weights. It is Chopin at his most beautiful, heart-wrenching, experimental, dissonant, sometimes even violent. It is a fascinating journey through the human psyche and my interpretation aims to show precisely that."
For April 13, 2021, Charles Richard-Hamelin: Chopin Preludes is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release'
Icelandic pianist and post-classical composer Eydís Evensen has confirmed details of her debut album, BYLUR, which will be released on 23rd April, 2021 by XXIM Records, Sony's new imprint for innovative, post-genre instrumental music.
On 26 March 2021 the ambitiously multifaceted musician/composer Clark presents his chillingly affecting ninth studio album Playground In A Lake, on which he broadens horizons and tries new things, with profound results.
Three-time GRAMMY Award-nominated pianist Joey Alexander follows his major-label debut album, WARNA (Verve Records), with three new singles "SALT" (March 19: LINK), "Under the Sun" (April 23), and "Summer Rising" (May 28) set for global release on Verve.
In January 2020, Nelsons and the BSO were looking ahead to a concert tour of Asia, followed by the last chapters of the 2019-2020 season. The tour, however, was cancelled as the now world-wide pandemic took hold in the very countries the orchestra was to have visited. And eventually, those last dynamic chapters of the season, including Nelsons's return, were also stricken from the schedule.
In a radically changed world, Nelsons and the orchestra were finally reunited to record three concerts for BSO Now, the Boston Symphony's online concert series. And in a remotely-produced interview, Nelsons described each concert, revealing the ways his relationship with Beethoven's symphonies have evolved, as well as how the impact of those symphonies is refracted through compositional voices of our time.
I began by asking Nelsons to describe the feeling of returning to Symphony Hall after being gone for so long.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andris Nelsons continue their critically acclaimed Under Stalin's Shadow series on Deutsche Grammophon with the release of Shostakovich's Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 together with the composer's Suite from the Incidental Music to King Lear and the Festive Overture on February 22.
The new double-disc set follows the 2018 release of a compelling pairing of Shostakovich's Fourth and Eleventh Symphonies, which has been nominated in the Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Album (classical) categories for the 2019 Grammy Awards.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra and its Music Director Andris Nelsons will release the latest instalment in their Grammy Award-winning cycle of Shostakovich's symphonies on Deutsche Grammophon – Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11, two works that highlight the composer's life-threatening relationship with Stalin and the Soviet régime. The album is set for international release on July 6.
Raised in Latvia during the Soviet Union's dying years, Andris Nelsons acknowledges that the political conditions under which Shostakovich worked inevitably influenced his compositions – yet his music transcends the circumstances of its creation.
"I want to distance myself from the political situation," the conductor comments. "Yes, I would say that the Fourth Symphony shows a big protest against what the Soviet Composers Union expected as a style of music. At the same time, Shostakovich was very interested in music from other countries. He was looking behind the political curtain, which is what music should do. His friends and colleagues advised him not to perform the work, because it would risk his life, which is why he put it away for over twenty years. The Fourth Symphony shows the direction he would have taken if he had not been accused of being an anti-communistic composer. Performing it now, we see how it stands apart from politics. It's a masterpiece by a genius that speaks about universal things."
The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, and Deutsche Grammophon have expanded their award-winning recording partnership by extending their original agreement, which focused primarily on Shostakovich Symphonies 5-10 (works composed during the period of Shostakovich's difficult relationship with Stalin and the Soviet regime, mid-1930s to 1953), to include live recordings of the composer's entire canon of 15 symphonies, plus the masterpiece opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. The first album of the new partnership between the BSO, Nelsons, and DG, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10, released in July 2015, won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance at the 58th annual Grammy Awards in February 2016.
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Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow marks the first release in a multi-year recording partnership between Deutsche Grammophon, Andris Nelsons, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The recording focuses on works composed during the period of Shostakovich's difficult relationship with Stalin and the Soviet regime. - starting with his fall from favor in the mid-1930s and the composition and highly acclaimed premiere of his Fifth Symphony, and through the premiere of the composer's Tenth Symphony, one of the composer's finest, most characteristic orchestral works, purportedly written as a response to Stalin's death in 1953. Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow features the Passacaglia from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, the opera that appalled Stalin and propelled Shostakovich out of the dictator's favor, and the acclaimed Symphony No. 10. The album was recorded this past April at Symphony Hall in Boston.
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