NYSMusic's Andie Chapman writes...... Four-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo has often advocated for human rights as she has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2002. Her music is imbued with compassion, and throughout the years she has contributed songs for important causes, such as her contribution song "Leila" for the Enough Project which raised awareness for women's rights in Raise Hope for Congo.
In 2020, the singer and activist recorded the song "How Can I Tell You?" by composers Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty who wrote "Ragtime," "Once on This Island," "Anastasia," and many more notable works. This song was included in a documentary directed and produced by Jeff Kaufman titled Nasrin. Often referred to as the "Nelson Mandela of Iran," Nasrin Sotoudeh fought for human rights in Iran, eventually leading to her arrest in June 2018 for defending women who publicly protested Iran's mandatory hijab law. The government sentenced her to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Nasrin now has COVID-19 and a heart condition, but even from the confines of prison she has continued to challenge the authorities.
READ THE FULL NYSMusic ARTICLE & WATCH THE VIDEO
The Guardian's Dave Gelly writes....August Wilson's 1982 play, and the 2020 Netflix film, are about a lot more than music, but Gertude "Ma" Rainey ("Mother of the Blues") was a real person, and the action takes place around what was a real recording session. Music, and how it's treated, is the basic metaphor here, so music is an important accompaniment to the story. In this case – like the clothes, the cars and the surrounding scene – it must also persuade us that we are in Chicago in 1927. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis has certainly spared no effort in recreating authentic period sounds. Photograph: David Lee/AP
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WBGO'S The Checkout: SIMON RENTNER writes......We've always admired Shai Maestro's fearless approach to music. When he sits down at the piano, especially in an improvisational solo setting, he checks the temperature of a space and lets the music come to him, allowing one idea to flow into another. But he wasn't always that free.
On this episode of The Checkout, Maestro remembers a difficult moment on tour with bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Mark Guiliana - a moment that would shape his career. In the middle of a performance, while playing his tune, the trio took an unexpected detour and he completely freaked out. That meltdown would change his thinking, and approach to music, forever. To hear Maestro tell it, what he became after this experience was more human - which is also the title of his new album, which ECM will release on Jan. 29.
READ THE FULL WBGO: Newark NJ ARTICLE & LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
Following the success of the Busoni The Visionary series, Jeni Slotchiver is humbled to introduce something so intimately close to home. With Southern roots of her own, Ms. Slotchiver's debut ZOHO CD release American Heritage is her homage to the legendary composers preserving American folk music and creating anew. What was once familiar, is reborn.
Spanning 125 years, from Louis Moreau Gottschalk's The Banjo (ca. 1854-5) to Frederic Rzewski's Down by the riverside (1979), American Heritage presents piano compositions by composers of concert music, inspired by the melodies, dance rhythms, harmonic inventions and various stylistic elements evocative of the American experience. Of the eight composers represented, six are of African descent and two of these are women. There are quotes from spirituals, use of the African American pentatonic scale, the African call and response structure popularized in southern church tradition, polyphonic rhythms of jazz, and the rich, sultry harmonies of blues. With the exception of the rich musical heritage of Indigenous people, the largest and most important American folkloric body of work arrived on American shores with the first enslaved African people.
Jazz Weekly's George W. Harris writes....Pianist Jeni Slotchiver gives solo interpretations of music from early to late 20th Century, taking you to a different world of patience and space. While classically trained, Slotchiver has a rich blues touch and a bona fide feel for gospel and folk material. Material ranges from a homespun read of "Swanee River" to the spiritual "Down By The Riverside" as well as the folk classic "Shenandoah" but with an arrangement by Keith Jarret. Parlor moods are presented in a collection of pieces from Harry Thacker Burleigh and the genteel pen of Louis Moreau Gottschalk, on "Union" and "The Banjo" while traditional pieces like "Deep River" and even 1967's "Troubled Water" feel like they've both been drawn from the same well. A journey to another world and world view.
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Soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias come together to create duets discovered in the moment in a way that is rarely heard today with Some Kind of Tomorrow. The long time bandmates, separated by space and time find a way to play in real time with one another and the results are magical. Two master improvisers and composers bring listeners up-close and personal to the first spark of their imaginations at work, recording eleven duet improvisations over the spring, summer, and fall of 2020. The music is raw, authentic, intimate, alive, and unapologetic in its passion. Their sound is deep wood and polished brass recorded with a depth that is hard to describe. They played the music, recorded it, mastered it firsthand and are now making it available to listeners for the first time as a digital download on Bandcamp. Don't miss these fearless jazz explorers as they face the future.
Heard on Fresh Air, here's Kevin Whitehead's piece. LISTEN & READ THE TRANSCRIPT
Shunia is a duo that combines addictive melodies, ancient chants and polycultural rhythms into a sound that feels both new and timeless. Their music captures and conveys deep energies and spirit. The state of "shunia" means stillness, receptivity. Shunia's members, Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson both performed with the Washington National Opera for 20 years before finding continued success in their solo careers. Coming together as Shunia, they combined their influences, inspirations and experiences to create genre-defying music with the power to transform and to connect you to the energy within and around you. It can put you in touch with something as simple as your five senses or as mysterious as the infinite.
American Songwriter's NADIA NEOPHYTOU writes......To press play on Shunia's new album of chants is to allow a wave of calm and relaxation to wash over one's whole self. For Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson, who've known each other for 30 years, sharing the gift that's been a major part of their lives with others is the reason they began recording together as the duo Shunia in the first place. "Music in and of itself is such a powerful medium," Reagan tells American Songwriter. "It is the language of our humanity and our souls. We know these mantras are tried and true, and we have personally been chanting them for years."
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WFMT: Chicago 's Candice Agree writes....From the age of 3, CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe toiled at a keyboard-not in typing, as unintended preparation for his 13 years at the Washington Post, but in studying classical piano in Delmar, a suburb of Albany, NY. Although he loved playing, his interest in current events and politics pulled him into a journalism career. No stranger to Chicago, in 2008, O'Keefe was in Grant Park the night that Barack Obama was elected president. O'Keefe, 37, is about to become a fixture in the White House press room, as he will cover the Biden administration for the TV network he joined in 2018. But he has never left his first passion far behind. He shared some musical memories with us before taking on his new assignment at CBS News as Senior White House & Political Correspondent. Photo courtesy CBS News)
READ Candice Agree's Q&A with Ed O'Keefe.
An ensemble that attracts rave reviews and sell-out crowds at prestigious venues everywhere from Vienna to New York, the sensational SIGNUM saxophone quartet are now set to present their first Deutsche Grammophon album.
Hope -- who has experience writing, producing and broadcasting - seemingly overnight created a high-production, high-quality show which he broadcast every single day six weeks from his living room in Berlin. It's lovely to watch, and his guests included classical celebrities such as Christoph Eschenbach, Sir Simon Rattle, Christian Thielemann and Robert Wilson. He didn't stop there -- he created a sequel, Hope@Home on Tour! In all, he's created almost 70 episodes, which have been streamed more than eight million times. He's also raised tens of thousands of Euros for artists in need. (You can find these and watch them for free on Hope's Facebook page.)
So what could be next? He decided to bring the show to San Francisco, to create six new Hope@Home Next Generation shows with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, a group that has not played since January due to the ever-worsening COVID situation in the United States. Hope has served as Artistic Director of the group since 2018, following violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's tenure. Here is the first show, which was streamed today:
The shows will be archived and available free of charge for 30 days after the streaming date. The episodes will stream daily at 10 AM PST, from today through Nov. 23, and you can Click here to see the archived episodes.
Violinist Daniel Hope spent his period of social distancing by performing chamber concerts online from his living room in Berlin with specially invited guests including Christoph Israel, Till Brönner, Matthias Goerne and more. Deutsche Grammophon is proud to present Hope@Home the album, a selection from this series of livestream events which attracted a combined audience of 2.5M viewers. Every track is live, one take only. As Hope says, "There were no patches or editing, no second takes. Sometimes life doesn't allow for second takes. This was my world for six magical and highly unusual weeks. I hope you enjoy listening."
It was the age of the Lumière Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell, Karl Benz, the Wright Brothers and Louis Blériot, Marie Curie and Louis Pasteur – an age not unlike our own, marked by rapid scientific and technological development as well as intense literary, artistic and musical activity. The Belle Époque, the period between the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 and the outbreak of World War One in 1914, was a time of apparent peace and prosperity but with a darker reality of social and economic deprivation lying not far beneath its gilded surface. This era of creativity and contradiction has long fascinated Daniel Hope: "I often wish I had a time machine to go back to the salons of Paris, indeed to that entire age," he says.
Belle Époque– Hope's 17th recording for Deutsche Grammophon – offers a panoramic snapshot of the music that came out of this world, capturing its mix of late-Romantic, Impressionist and Modernist styles. The violinist's double album places popular repertoire by Massenet, Debussy and Elgar alongside rarely heard miniatures by Rachmaninov, Charles Koechlin, Frank Bridge and members of the Second Viennese School.
Daniel Hope returns to core repertoire with Journey to Mozart, an intimate exploration of Mozart's world comprising both works by the titular composer and pieces by his contemporaries Gluck, Haydn, Mysliveček and Salomon. Performed with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Journey to Mozart features two popular violin concertos by Haydn and Mozart (both in G Major), the famous Adagio in E Major, K. 261 and more.
Concerned with nature's eternal cycle of decline and renewal, Daniel Hope's latest album for Deutsche Grammophon explores the creative relationship between music, art and the ever-changing calendar. For Seasons includes the violinist's first recording of Vivaldi's evergreen collection of seasonal concertos together with a dozen companion works associated with the months of the year. His choice of repertoire reveals the imaginative scope unlocked when composers turn for inspiration to the seasons and evokes our strength of attachment to the landmarks of passing time. Vivaldi's The Four Seasons leads the way in a program that spans everything from venerable compositions by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Johann Melchior Molter and Johann Sebastian Bach to recent works by Aphex Twin, Nils Frahm, Chilly Gonzales and Max Richter.
24 NEW 104 TOTAL
SYND: Classical 24, WFMT/Beethoven, CBC Direct: SiriusXM, MOOD, AccuRadio Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Cleveland, Portland, Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Austin, Cincinnati, Denver, New Orleans, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Louisville, Memphis, Albuquerque, Columbus OH, Santa Fe, Hartford CT,NE(Network), AL(Network), IN(Network), WV(Network), SC(Network), KS(Network), Barcelona INTER: Canada, UK, Spain, Romania Online: Musicas Imaginadas, Beyondcriticism.com, Green Arrow Radio, Violinist.com, Troonradio.com, Passion Musique et Culture
2016 marks the centennial of Yehudi Menuhin, the violin legend whose playing Einstein once cited as a reason to believe in God. To honor this anniversary, on February 5, six-time ECHO Klassik Award-winning violinist Daniel Hope releases his tenth Deutsche Grammophon recording, titled My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin. Having grown up within the Menuhin household, Hope went on to partner him in more than 60 concert performances, sharing a close association with the older violinist that was truly unique. His new album celebrates the rich diversity of his friend and mentor's musical tastes, combining works by Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Elgar, Ravel, Bartók, Tavener, Enescu, Jo Knümann, Steve Reich, Hans Werner Henze, and Bechara El-Khoury.
8 NEW 66 TOTAL
SYND: PRI/C24, CBC, CMI Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Cleveland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Houston, Baltimore, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Austin, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Portland, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Buffalo, Columbus OH, Honolulu, Canada Online: AccuRadio, Taintradio, The Classical Reviewer
"Daniel Hope is a force to be reckoned with." Gramophone
Deutsche Grammophon releases Classical BRIT-Award-winner Daniel Hope's new recording, Escape to Paradise: The Hollywood Album, in the US (The album is released in Europe a day earlier.) The British violinist has a "thriving solo career" per the New York Times, which "has been built on inventive programming and a probing interpretive style." The new release draws on Hope's extensive research into European composers - among them Eric Wolfgang Korngold, Miklós Rózsa, Hanns Eisler, and Franz Waxman to name a few - who fled fascist persecution to relocate to Los Angeles where they penned some of the 20th century's most iconic film scores. Recorded with Alexander Shelley leading the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and guest artists including vocalists Sting and Max Raabe, Hope's unprecedented new collection juxtaposes examples of the émigré composers' film and concert music with selections by those they influenced – like leading contemporary movie composers John Williams, Ennio Morricone, and Thomas Newman – in a nostalgic search for the quintessentially lavish "Hollywood sound.
40 NEW 48 Total
SYND: PRI/Classical 24, CBC Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Portland, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Austin, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Baltimore, Louisville, Buffalo, Canada Online: Taintradio, ClassicallyHip