THE Violin Channel writes......The United States Marine Band commissioned American composer Peter Boyer for special fanfare at Biden/Harris Inauguration, to be performed at the U.S. Capitol on January 20th, 2021. Boyer's new work, "Fanfare for Tomorrow," will be performed as part of the one hour prelude music of the inauguration, conducted by Colonel Jason K. Fettig., the Marine Band's Director.
The piece was originally for solo French horn, was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra. Boyer significantly expanded and developed it for a full concert band for this inaugural commission.
The United States Marine Band, the "The President's Own," is America's oldest continuously active musical organization. It is said that debuted in 1801 for Thomas Jefferson's inauguration. "I had just over a week to compose and orchestrate the piece," Boyer said. "Col. Jason Fettig had cautioned me about writing too high for the brass, due to the very cold conditions in which the piece would be performed outdoors. I had just a few hours to create and deliver this lower key version of the piece to the Marine Band. Happily, It seems to have worked out well!"
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NPR: Tiny Desk's Bob Boilen writes......Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I'll experience all year. Now, given the pandemic's challenges and the hardening of international borders, NPR Music and globalFEST moved the 2021 edition from the nightclub to your screen of choice and shared the festival with the world. We called it Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST. We presented 16 artists in intimate settings (often behind desks donning globes), all hosted by African superstar Angélique Kidjo.
Recording from her apartment in Brooklyn, award-winning Argentine vocalist and songwriter Sofia Rei provides a concert that blends South American folk traditions with experimental pop and electronic music. That mix of tradition and modernity extends to her surroundings, which features traditional iconography, robotic 'saints,' exuberant plants and looping pedals. This performance took place during the opening night of our 2021 festival. --globalFEST
"Un Mismo Cielo" (The Same Sky)
"Negro Sobre Blanco" (Black On White)
"Escarabajo Digital" (Digital Beetle)
Sofia Rei: vocals, charango, electronics
JC Maillard: guitar, bass, programming, background vocals
Leo Genovese: keys
Jorge Glem: cuatro
Ana Carmela Rodriguez Contramaestre: background vocals, percussion
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The New York Times, Jon Pareles writes.... With 16 bands over four nights, the festival expanded its reach at a time when live music with audiences is in short supply.
Minyo Crusaders set an old Japanese song, from a tradition called minyo, to a Nigerian Afrobeat groove. DakhaBrakha, from Ukraine, roved from Eastern European drones and yipping vocals to something like girl-group rock. Aditya Prakash, from Los Angeles, sang a joyful Hindu devotional over upbeat jazz from his ensemble, sharing its melody with a trombone. Rachele Andrioli, from southern Italy, sang a fierce tarantella accompanying herself with a tambourine and electronic loops of a jaw harp and her voice. Hit La Rosa, from Peru, topped the clip-clop beat of cumbia with surreal lyrics, surf-reverbed guitar solos and psychedelic swoops and echoes.
They were all part of the 18th annual Globalfest, the world-music showcase that moved online this year as a partnership with NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts series, which will preserve the performances online. Previous Globalfests were one-night live showcases in New York City for a dozen bands on club stages. But for this pandemic year, musicians recorded themselves performing live at home: living rooms, studios, a record-company office, a backyard barbecue. Angélique Kidjo, the singer from Benin who appeared at the first Globalfest, played virtual host in eye-popping outfits; musicians made sure to have at least one globe on camera. The sets were short, just two or three songs each. But Globalfest's potential audience has been hugely multiplied.
While necessity forced Globalfest online, networking has long been built into its music. Many musicians who cherish local and traditional styles have decided that the way to ensure their survival is through adaptation and hybridization, retaining the essence while modernizing the delivery system. For musicians, fusion is also fun: a chance to learn new skills, a way to discover creative connections. There are commonalities in the ways voices can croon or bite or break, in mechanisms like repetition or call-and-response, in wanting people to dance. Modernization doesn't have to mean homogenization.
There were traditionalists at Globalfest. Dedicated Men of Zion, a multigenerational band of family members, sang hard-driving gospel standards like "Can't Turn Me Around," rasping and soaring into falsetto, from a backyard in North Carolina with a smoking barbecue grill. Edwin Perez led a 10-piece band - mostly Cuban musicians - updating a New York style that flourished in the 1970s and 1980s: salsa dura, propulsive and danceable with jabbing horns, insistent percussion and socially conscious lyrics. (One song was "No Puedo Respirar" - "I Can't Breathe.")
But tradition often came with a twist. Nora Brown adeptly played and sang Appalachian banjo songs from Kentucky, passed down through personal contact with elder generations, even though she's a 15-year-old from Brooklyn, where she performed in a tunnel under Crown Heights with a train rumbling overhead. Rokia Traoré, from Mali, has an extensive catalog of her own songs, but her set reached back to a tradition of epic song: centuries-old historical praise of generals who built the West African Mande empire - "Tiramakan" and "Fakoly." She sang over mesmerizing vamps, plucked and plinked on ngoni (lute) and balafon (xylophone), progressing from delicacy to vehemence, from gently melodic phrases to rapid-fire declamation, putting her virtuosity in service to the lore she conveyed.
Musicians securely grounded in their own cultures also felt free to experiment with others. Martha Redbone - born in Kentucky with Cherokee, Choctaw and African-American ancestors - punctuated bluesy, compassionate soul songs with Native American rattles and percussive syllables. Elisapie sang in her Native American language, Inuktitut, as she led her Canadian rock band in volatile songs that built from folky picking to full-scale stomps. Emel, a Tunisian singer influenced by the protest music of Joan Baez, sang two songs from a living room in Paris. They were introspective, brooding, keening crescendos: "Holm" ("A Dream"), which envisioned a "bitter reality that destroys everything we build," and, in English, "Everywhere We Looked Was Burning."
Labess, a Canadian band led by an Algerian singer, had musicians performing remotely from France and Colombia; its set roved from Arabic-flavored songs to, for its finale, "La Vida Es Un Carnaval," a kind of flamenco-samba-chanson amalgam with French lyrics and a button-accordion solo. Natu Camara, a singer from Guinea now based in New York, gave her West African pop a tinge of American funk as she offered determinedly uplifting messages.
And Sofia Rei, an Argentine singer now based in New York, conjured a wildly eclectic, near hallucinatory international mix from her living room with her band: Andean, Asian, jazz, funk, electronics. True to Globalfest's boundary-scrambling mission, she sang about living under "Un Mismo Cielo": "The Same Sky."
New Classical Tracks, Julie Amacher writes....Ofra Harnoy returns to the stage with her new album - On The Rock (Analekta)
"We came here for a vacation, and it was within days that we decided to start looking for a house here and we found the perfect house, which is on a lake. I can look out and see eagles flying across the lake. Every day the weather's so different that it's like watching an ever-changing painting."
That beautiful scene in the province of Newfoundland is what inspired Ofra Harnoy's 44th recording, On the Rock. It's her second recording with her husband, multi-instrumentalist and arranger, Mike Herriott.
"Well, 'The Rock' is kind of a slang or nickname for the province of Newfoundland. My husband and I actually moved here about two years ago and we came up with a list of music that we thought could be beautifully arranged to suit the cello.
"Our hope with the album was to be true and respectful to the Newfoundland tradition but also share my love of this music through the voice of the cello. So, the music had to be suitable for that. I think we came up with a beautiful collection of songs that really tell a story. I think it's a universal story for any seaside or oceanside community. It has the love, the longing, the ballad, the pub culture, and the fun."
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Deutsche Grammophon releases Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's performances of the complete Charles Ives symphony cycle. Called "a revelation" by the Los Angeles Times, the rarely heard symphony cycle was recorded in early 2020 as part of the LA Phil's Dvořák and Ives festival.
THE CLASSIC REVIEW's David A. McConnell writes.....Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and DG deserve our warmest thanks for releasing new recordings of these endlessly fascinating works. The label "Complete Symphonies" is misleading however, since the "New England Holidays" Symphony is not included. Given the excellence of these performances, I hope Dudamel and Los Angeles turn their attention to that work in the future. Nevertheless, it is fantastic that one of America's finest orchestras has recorded this repertoire.
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FanFare's Henry Fogel writes.....Gregoriadou is a Greek guitarist who draws a remarkably wide range of color from her guitar. The calm beauty of the third movement of the Bach violin sonata, simply marked Andante, is followed by a brilliantly executed final Allegro that manages to wed crisp articulation with lyrical flow.
Britten's Nocturnal after John Dowland, written for Julian Bream, is given a superb reading. The music is a set of variations that appear before the Dowland theme itself emerges at the end. Britten said that the music contained "disturbing images," though he never specified what they were. This is unsettled music that seems to stop and start, building tension in its halting, quiet way. Release, at least to a degree, is found at the end with Dowland's original theme. Gregoriadou's performance emphasizes the work's underlying tension without overplaying it.
Sofia Gubaidulina's Serenade was composed in 1960 when the composer was 29, and is a gentler and more introspective work than we are used to from her. At three minutes, it is also very brief. Not unlike the Britten, the music is tonally ambiguous until resolving in what Gregoriadou, in her excellent notes, calls "a therapeutic G major chord."
Jacques Hétu was a Canadian composer (1938–2010) who wrote his Suite pour guitare in 1986. It is predominantly a lyrical work, much of it at soft dynamics. The third movement, "Ballade," is marked by an underlying darkness that is relieved in the following "Rêverie." After these two quiet movements the work ends with a brilliant finale, in the style of a moto perpetuo.
What is special about this recording is Gregoriadou's focus on timbre. Her technique is exceptional, but it is always at the service of creating a sound world with a wide spectrum. Her dynamic shading in the last movement of the Hétu is astonishing, and it is so effortlessly achieved that you don't think about technique as you listen. I don't think of Gregoriadou as a guitarist. I think of her as a musician who happens to play the guitar. This is a very beautiful guitar recital, with recorded sound that makes it seem as if you are in the room with Gregoriadou, and at just the right distance for the best perspective.
HAPPY's Rian Howlett writes.....2020 was an incredible year for gaming for a few reasons. A lot of free time went around the place, imminent next-gen releases pushed everyone into a gaming frenzy, and Keanu Reeves called another man, and all of us, breathtaking. And just like the titles they represent, the video game soundtracks released in 2020 were top notch.
We trawled back through the year that was to single out who we thought brought true heat to the musical table. For the most part, these OSTs are albums you can listen to in their own right, some of them however just complemented the game so perfectly that now it's hard to think of one without the other.
From electrically charged thrash metal to spine-tingling orchestral scores, HAPPY picks the 10 best video game soundtracks of 2020. On the list is Gustavo Santaolalla - The Last Of Us Part 2.
Gustavo Santaolalla has stood as the invisible third piece of the Joel and Ellie puzzle for as long as we've known them. The guitar in the original TLOU was a sparse, exquisite affair. Barely noticeable builds, and almost entirely acoustic. It was haunting and instantly recognisable.
With all of the weapons of the contemporary music producer at his arsenal, he brought a much bigger world for our ears to play in. While absolutely different to the original, there wasn't anything lost through the shift in the music from part one to two. The Last Of Us Part 2's soundtrack is a gorgeous, expansive experience that complemented the jump from adolescence to adulthood that Ellie makes between the games.
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"The London-based trio The Comet Is Coming-made up of the saxophonist King Shabaka, the percussionist Betamax, and the keyboardist Danalogue-thrusts empyrean jazz into an apocalyptic future, where raucous psych rock and danceable electro-grooves ride lush tenor lines to outer space.
Sony Music Masterworks today announces the release of THE PROM (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX FILM), an album of music from the forthcoming Netflix film directed by Ryan Murphy and based on the hit Broadway musical from Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin, and Matthew Sklar.
In essence, he is talking about the first half of the 20th century. In musical terms this means the generation dominated by Stravinsky and Prokofiev, who both spent long periods away from their Russian homeland and whose music straddled international boundaries.
Trifonov's new two-disc set, Silver Age, is devoted largely to these two composers. It is clearly designed to make a major statement, including not only key solo piano works and a smattering of smaller rarities, but also two of the most challenging concertos of the period - Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Scriabin's Piano Concerto.
There is plenty of virtuoso playing to be heard, but the character of Trifonov's performances is not simply that. Stravinsky's technically dazzling Three Movements from Petrushka come across precise, detailed, whimsical, rather than an attempt to mirror an orchestral showpiece on the piano. Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 8 similarly is much more than just wartime driving energy.
Daniil Trifonov's latest album for Deutsche Grammophon, recorded with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra, recalls a time when Russia's composers, poets, artists, dramatists and star performers were among the most original anywhere in the world. Internationally released today, November 2020, Silver Age illustrates the artistic audacity and brilliance of a turbulent era in the country's history with works by three of its most pioneering composers.
The Russian pianist's new album, which will be available in double disc and e-album formats, includes Scriabin's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in F sharp minor Op.20, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor Op.16 and Stravinsky's Three Movements from Petrushka. The tracklist also comprises Stravinsky's Serenade and excerpts from The Firebird (arranged for piano by Agosti), together with Prokofiev's Sarcasmes Op.17, Piano Sonata No.8 in B flat major Op.84 and the "Gavotte" from 3 Pieces from "Cinderella" Op.95 No.2.
After the highly acclaimed album "Destination Rachmaninov – Departure" Daniil Trifonov concludes his Rachmaninov project on 11 October 2019 with his new album "Destination Rachmaninov – Arrival". For this occasion, DG will release a 4 LP Gatefold set exclusively as D2C product, which will include all 4 Piano Concertos by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov.
In addition to the Piano Concertos, this album features a selection of Daniil Trifonov's own Rachmaninov transcriptions including Rachmaninov's famous "Vocalise" and virtuosic "The Silver Sleigh Bells". Finally, the product features an unreleased track of the heart-rending "Vocalise" in an exclusively long version.
As a teenager, Daniil Trifonov absorbed lessons from the recordings of Sergei Rachmaninov, lessons that fed the creative process of his latest Deutsche Grammophon project, Destination Rachmaninov – Departure, the first of two albums comprising Trifonov's cycle of the great Russian composer's piano concertos. Destination Rachmaninov – Departure, set for release on October 12, 2018, features Concertos Nos. 2 and 4, along with Rachmaninov's solo piano transcriptions of three movements from Bach's Violin Partita in E major. Together with its upcoming October 2019 sequel Destination Rachmaninov – Arrival, which contains Concertos Nos. 1 and 3, Trifonov's new album documents a journey of artistic exploration made in company with the Philadelphia Orchestra and its music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who have a special, historical connection to Rachmaninov. Rachmaninov first performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and its then Music Director Leopold Stokowski in 1913 as a soloist in his own Third Piano Concerto and returned many times as pianist and conductor before his death thirty years later.
Pianist Daniil Trifonov's latest Deutsche Grammophon album captures the magic of Chopin's music and traces its influence through the works of five other composers. Chopin Evocations is set for release on October 6, and Trifonov will perform in the United States throughout October and November. On this double-disc set, Trifonov performs Chopin's two piano concertos and a selection of some of his earliest and latest solo works as well as tributes to Chopin by Grieg, Mompou, Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Barber. This recording features world premiere recordings of new orchestrations of the Piano Concertos by Trifonov's fellow pianist-composer Mikhail Pletnev, who conducts the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in these renditions.
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Daniil Trifonov is one of the few pianists to have recorded Liszt's concert Études in one concentrated period and the first to record them in full for Deutsche Grammophon. He set down his visionary interpretations within the space of five days, a feat in keeping with the tireless energy and superhuman spirit of Liszt himself. Trifonov's approach to Liszt is informed by the legacy of the Russian school of piano playing in which he was raised and by his profound understanding of the composer's musical language. "Liszt's technical virtuosity is just a means to evoke extremes of emotion," observes Trifonov. "His daring harmonic and structural innovations revealed new horizons for emotional and psychological expression in music. His compositions can be described as dynamic depictions of the spiritual experiences of a Romantic soul."
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Daniil Trifonov's latest recording for Deutsche Grammophon, released on August 28, 2015, pays homage to his musical idol, Sergei Rachmaninov, as the 24-year-old Russian artist connects with the soul and spirit of his fellow countryman's art. Rachmaninov Variations, his first studio album, unlocks the romance, energy and sheer virtuosity of the fiendishly difficult Variations on a Theme of Chopin and Variations on a Theme of Corelli, both ideal showpieces for this young pianist's talents. By way of a perfect interlude between these two classics of the solo piano repertoire comes the world premiere recording of Trifonov's own Rachmaniana, created as a tribute to the legendary pianist-composer.
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For Daniil Trifonov, January 28 marks the U.S. release of Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, his debut album as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist. Last February – the day before his sold-out main-stage Carnegie Hall recital debut –the young Russian pianist signed with the illustrious label, and the first release of their new partnership is a live recording of that performance. Capturing his accounts of Liszt's formidable B-minor Sonata, Scriabin's "Sonata-Fantasy" in G-sharp minor, Chopin's 24 Preludes, and, as an encore, the second of Medtner's Four Fairy Tales, the new disc has already scored a multitude of rave reviews in Europe; Germany's Bayerischer Rundfunk spoke for many in observing: "At 21, Daniil Trifonov has already cultivated a pianistic freedom that…will probably remain out of most pianists' reach all their lives." The U.S. release is timed to coincide with Trifonov's return to Carnegie Hall on February 6, when he will play Schumann's Symphonic Etudes alongside works by Ravel, Debussy, and Stravinsky. The same program serves as the vehicle for his Symphony Center recital debut, presented by the Chicago Symphony, three days later (Feb 9).
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