Piano legend Ludovico Einaudi has released a brand-new album of 12 tracks, which is now available on all major streaming platforms. The Italian recorded this new release at home on his own upright piano during the Covid-19 lockdown in Italy. Einaudi designed the artwork himself. During the lockdown, he was regularly hosting live online performances for his thousands of fans, and it was the experience of these self-broadcasts that inspired him to create this album.
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Singer and comedienne, Liza Pulman has teamed up with the legendary million-selling German artist, Max Raabe to duet on his song, Willst Du Bei Mir Bleiben (Will You Stay Beside Me).
The song, taken from his 2018 award-winning album Der Perfekte Moment, has been re-interpreted into an intimate and achingly beautiful duet; with two unique voices that marry together in perfect harmony. With shades of the smoky Parisienne feel of a Jacques Loussier arrangement.
The track also features both the internationally acclaimed classical pianist Simon Lepper and the highly sought-after jazz drummer, Ian Thomas and was produced at Real World Studios by the veteran producer Chris Porter. It is a song that will stay with you from the very first moment you hear it.
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Cinematic legend John Williams made his historic debut with the Vienna Philharmonic earlier this year, conducting the orchestra in his most iconic scores in the world-famous Golden Hall of Vienna's Musikverein. Joining him on stage was virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter, who played some of the violin arrangements he had written specially for her, including the magical ‘Hedwig's Theme'.
We also heard a spectacular rendition by the Vienna Phil of ‘Flight to Neverland' from Hook (watch here) and the formidable ‘Imperial March' (watch here ). Williams described leading one of the world's finest orchestras as "one of the greatest honours of my life", adding: "I treasure this moment." The magnificent show will be streamed online, thanks to DG Stage.
Here's how to watch John Williams and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter's full concert of film favourites with the Vienna Philharmonic at the world-famous Golden Hall of Vienna's Musikverein tonight at 7pm BST (8pm CEST) here.
Classical radio is preserved in America on a small island in public broadcasting. So stations dedicated to classical have the responsibility, if not the mission, to continually refine and improve their music service. Success is in the details, and some straightforward tweaks might make your sound more appealing. It is not easy stepping back from your enterprise to apply original ideas or reconsider old ones. Enter a fresh set of ears.
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Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, at 25, has already made a strong impression in the world of Baroque opera and beyond, with his powerful yet supple voice. The American countertenor, who has made several recordings (including contemporary music, such as by Kenneth Fuchs), specializes in 18th-century music when the male singer known as the Castrato reigned supreme. Nowadays a specially-developed voice technique, countertenors are prominent parts of productions such as in Handel's Saul, recorded recently by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicholas McGegan. Mr. Cohen shares some great stories about his experiences singing onstage, the history of countertenors, and his almost-Portland debut in "Bazajet" before the pandemic brought that opportunity to a standstill.
All Classical Portland Host John Pitman shares his interview, along with selections featuring this prominent young singer. LISTEN
Acclaimed singer, songwriter and musician Mary Chapin Carpenter's new single, "Secret Keepers," is debuting today. The song is the latest unveiled from Carpenter's anticipated new album, The Dirt And The Stars, which will be released August 7 on Lambent Light Records via Thirty Tigers.
Of the single, Carpenter shares, "‘Secret Keepers' is about holding onto things that feel too dangerous to let go of, too perilous to share, too complex to shine a light upon. The deeper you think you've buried something, the more power it seems to have over your life. The scars may be invisible but that doesn't mean the pain that caused them has disappeared. It's a constant reminder to be kind out in the world, because you never really know what someone is carrying around…"
Produced by Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon) and recorded entirely live at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in Bath, in southwest England, the album finds the 5-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer-songwriter pondering life's intimate, personal moments and exploring its most universally challenging questions at an unprecedented time. Written at her rural Virginia farmhouse before stay-at-home orders became the "new normal," the songs celebrate invaluable experiences and irreplaceable wisdom, while also advocating exploration of the best in all of us. In advance of the release, the album's title track, "Between The Dirt And The Stars," premiered last month. Listen/share HERE.
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Canadian songwriter and children's entertainer Raffi is marking the 40th anniversary of his perennially popular "Baby Beluga" with a new version of the bouncy song about a little white whale. He has enlisted cellist Yo-Yo Ma to accompany him in a virtual performance. Pay special attention to the way Ma imitates whale song during the transition to Raffi's newly coined verse, written especially for adults - he calls them "beluga grads" - who remember the song from their youth.
'Beluga grads' bringing their kids to his shows, and Raffi couldn't be more pleased
"Grown-up beluga, sing a song of peace," he enjoins them. "Sing a song of diversity, child-honouring, social justice, climate action. We need to hear you."
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Sony Music Masterworks today releases Not Our First Goat Rodeo, the long-awaited follow-up album to the GRAMMY Award-winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile.
In the fall of 1968, a sixteen-year old high school student named Danny Scher had a dream to invite legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk and his all-star quartet to perform a concert at his local high school in Palo Alto, CA.
Blues Hall of Famer Bettye LaVette has decided to release her stirring rendition of "Strange Fruit" ahead of schedule as it says as much about the history of American racism and the state of the country today.
Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it.
In 1911, my conducting teacher and beloved friend Carl Bamberger, then nine years old, returned home from a day at his Viennese grade school to find his mother sitting at the kitchen table staring into space, a newspaper spread out before her. The headline stabbed young Carl straight into his heart: "Mahler is dead!"
To music loving Viennese one hundred nine years ago, the conductor Gustav Mahler was a god. Most music lovers knew that he composed as well, but Mahler was then more famous as the music director of major opera houses, such as the Court Opera in Vienna. A few years before his death he had left Austria (seen off at the station by Gustav Klimt and Alban Berg among many others) for hopefully more lucrative work at the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Mahler's sojourn in the states soon ran into whirlwind opposition by Arturo Toscanini at the Met and the ridiculously short-sighted prejudices of the patrons and lawyers at the orchestra. Mahler fled from New York City with a bacterial infection that would end his life on that day in 1911 when young Carl entered the kitchen to find his mother staring into space.
Carl's best friend Joseph Braunstein (later a well-loved musicologist and the program annotator of Musica Aeterna concerts in New York) was ten years older and had remarkable memories of Gustav Mahler during those Viennese years.
Braunstein related that he was a student of Arnold Schoenberg, the influential teacher and composer, at the conservatory in Vienna. Braunstein possessed a bold sense of humor and recalled Schoenberg throwing him out of class on more than one occasion. Braunstein remembered seeing Mahler walking alone in the Prater in Vienna, deep in thought. Braunstein, always eager, thought of going up to Mahler and introducing himself, but felt the need to check himself and did not speak, but watched the solitary composer walk by.
Braunstein later played in the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under the illustrious direction of Richard Strauss and Arthur Nikisch, but Braunstein deeply regretted never having played under Mahler.
One wonderful story remembered by Braunstein was of seeing Mahler at the performance of one of Schoenberg's premieres. While the Schoenberg piece was being played, several in the audience began to make derisive comments. One audience member was so loud and negative, the music might have been shouted down unless someone acted quickly to prevent a fiasco. Right in front of Braunstein, Mahler stood up and told the objectionable audience member to shut up, sit down, and be quiet. Mahler was immediately dumped upon by the rude audience member that at the premiere of the composer's Fifth Symphony worse obscenities had been shouted, and now Mahler should shut up and sit down!
One cannot imagine such a reaction occurring today when no one seems to care much about anything.
Yet during this time of pestilence, I have initially had great difficulty in composing or even listening to music. It does not help that I am stressed to the brink in worrying about my loved family and friends.
Gustav Mahler was no stranger to these feelings. His music is full of expressions of worry, life and death concerns, the German word angst nowhere more apt. Just listen to the beginning of the Third Symphony for its representation of the most significant and basic issues we face. Other works such The Song of the Earth, I am Lost to the Earth, Primal Light, Songs on the Death (I cannot finish the title), place Mahler straight up against the worst we may face or are indeed facing.
Carl's mother was not alone in her shock and hurt in learning about Mahler's death. The Viennese culture of the period was ravenous in its appreciation of Mahler and his contemporaries. Yet, Mahler had a special place in their hearts as he was Jewish, his conversion to Catholicism never hiding his Old Testament prophesies and cares. And for those that listened to his music, there was something that stuck and was personal. Mahler's combination of Yiddishkeit, Middle European rootlessness, cosmopolitan virtuosity, and simultaneous passion for old and new galvanized.
The Bamberger family in Vienna was no stranger in its love of Kultur. Carl's later wife Lotte Hammerschlag (a string player and the first principal viola of the Palestine Orchestra) was the daughter of Alma Schindler Mahler's personal gynecologist, Dr. Albert Hammerschlag. Dr. Hammerschlag was a neighbor and close friend of Sigmund Freud, etc. etc. When the Hammerschlags visited the Freuds for dinner, little Lotte was dispatched to the nursery only to be psychoanalyzed by Freud's daughter Anna (who later became a well-recognized child psychologist). Lotte remembered her encounters on Anna's couch with disgust.
The bottom line was that they all knew each other.
Mahler's music ponders every moment, asks questions which he often does not and cannot answer. But asks questions that were not foreign to his contemporaries and remain valid now. Macabre dances, marches by vulgar bands, lead into ecstasy or into depths from which there is no escape.
(And there was no escape for Carl's mother. After the Anschluss of 1938, she vanished into the miasma of the Holocaust, murdered in Theresienstadt.)
Despite the death of Gustav Mahler from a bacterial infection (that a few decades later might have been defeated by antibiotics) and the destruction of Viennese culture by religious hatred that gave us this music, and so much more, Mahler's lessons still ring true. His titanic symphonies are somehow directly personal, the largest means chosen for their most intimate effect.
I understand and feel deeply his intent in every bar. This is not music one can easily render over time. Musicians must shape every bar, every phrase, every note to give it context. It cannot just happen. It has to LIVE.
I will never forget Carl Bamberger and Joseph Braunstein and certainly, Carl's dear mother. They link us to Gustav Mahler, whose love and caring will forever carry us through trying times.
One lesson is to care as much as they did. Listening to this music, I cannot avoid doing just that. I look into Gustav Mahler's face and find peace.
Notes by the composer..........My Second Symphony is a work of absolute music.? It has no subtext; it tells no "story"; it just is.? I had always wished to write a four-movement symphony, containing a serious first movement, a scherzo, a lyrical slow movement, and a set of variations concluding in transcendence.? Working in 2010 with Maestra Marin Alsop and the virtuosic Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (for the California premiere of my Roller Coaster) provided inspiration to open my symphonic veins further, write a large work for large orchestra, and out came this purely instrumental symphony (my first, Symphony Pomes Penyeach, is a song cycle).? The Second Symphony is scored for full orchestra including the usual complement of winds, brass, percussion, and strings, but adding alto flute and English horn for their special pungency. Its premiere reading with The Chappaqua Orchestra in the United States was immediately followed by this recording in July, 2015 with the miraculous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at CBSO Centre in Birmingham, UK. ? The recording sessions with these great musicians confirmed the sounds, textures, timbres, rhythms, and, yes, emotions I intended to impart when I wrote the work.? It is preserved now for listeners to hear, and, I trust, be moved by ? a symphony in four movements for orchestra, plain and simple, colorful and complex, a work that is absolutely what it is.? The symphony is dedicated to Marjorie Perlin.
Duration of the Second Symphony: 36'
Michael Shapiro breathes new life into the famous Toccata from the Fifth Organ Symphony by Victorian French composer Charles-Marie Widor with this arrangement for full orchestra named Widorama! played by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by the composer. Shapiro's arrangement of the famous Toccata, frequently used by organists for weddings and church services, brings the work into the concert hall in highly dramatic fashion.
‘Archangel Concerto for Piano and Orchestra' features pianist Steven Beck (New York Philharmonic, Brooklyn Knights). The Concerto is probably the most programmatic piece of music Michael Shapiro has ever written. Archangel is in two books or movements. Book One depicts the war between the forces of good and evil set forth in John Milton's Paradise Lost. Book Two portrays Adam and Eve (and the Serpent) in Eden and their being cast out into the world we all live. Archangel is therefore about the most basic and terrifying truth, the fight between good and evil raging to this day.
‘Perlimplinito, Opera Sweet, A Lace Paper Valentine for Orchestra' contains the entr'acte music from Shapiro's first opera, based on the play by Federico Garcia Lorca. The fantastical story of an old man who falls tragically in love with a beautiful young woman who cuckolds him on their wedding night with the five races of the earth, the music of Perlimplinito is emotional, visceral, and beautifully lyrical. A perfect piece for Valentine's Day!
‘Roller Coaster for Orchestra,' is a five-minute wild ride. Premiered at the Cabrillo Festival in California by conductor Marin Alsop, the piece is a musical representation of the Coney Island (Brooklyn NY) Cyclone amusement park ride and a metaphor for life's ups and downs.