MusicWeb writes.....Once the preserve of Russia's Orthodox churches, this rich choral tradition has now found some fine exponents further west. Several conductors/ensembles spring to mind, among them the Phoenix and Kansas City Chorales, led by Charles Bruffy. I first heard them in Gretchaninoff's Passion Week, a much-cherished Chandos release that was also one of my top picks for 2007. They followed that up in 2014, with a similarly successful account of Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil. (My comparative review was headlined by a 2012 BIS recording of the same work, featuring Kaspars Putniņš and the Netherlands Radio Choir. This is yet another partnership that excels in this repertoire.) Staying Stateside, there's Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, whose 2013 album, The Sacred Spirit of Russia, was ‘a joy from start to finish' (Harmonia Mundi). And one mustn't overlook Alexander Lingas and his Oregon-based Cappella Romana, whose own-label recording of Maximilian Steinberg's Passion Week so impressed John Quinn back in 2015.
Nearly all the works in More Honourable than the Cherubim are new to me, but, as I soon discovered, there's so much to enjoy here. Indeed, the opener, Petar Dinev's ‘It Is Truly Meet' has a purity of tone and certainty of line that augurs well for what's to come. One of the most striking things about Chesnokov, as revealed in Teach Me Thy Statutes, is the sheer strength and consistency of his work. That's borne out by ‘O Theotokos, We Shall Never Cease Proclaiming', the first of several contributions to this new collection. Its thrilling weight and amplitude are a pleasing foil to the Dinev; that's a sign of astute programming. Different again is Gretchaninoff's ‘Let us Hasten with Fervour', the burnished, gold-leaf loveliness of this choir sure to ravish the ear and batter the heart. (Such epiphanies move me to say that as much as I admire Pavel Grigorievich's output, that of Alexander Tikhonovich occupies a very special place in my affections.)
A magnificent release, beautifully conducted, flawlessly sung and incredibly well recorded; indeed, it's sure to be one of my Recordings of the Year.
READ THE FULL MusicWeb REVIEW
La Scena Musicale's PAUL E. ROBINSON writes......The lockdowns and restrictions have been trying for all. For those who care about classical music not to be able to hear music live has been frustrating. And for those who make music for a living it can be soul-destroying or even career-destroying. Yannick Nézet-Séguin has seen his usual whirlwind of concerts in Montreal, New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere reduced to a trickle. Last summer, when he was able to do almost no conducting he reverted to the piano and the result is this fascinating solo album recorded in the concert hall at Domaine Forget in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. In effect, Yannick was forced to make music by himself. But there was another inspiration. His longtime piano teacher Anisia Campos (1928-2020) had just passed away. Madame Campos was born in Brazil and later studied with Cortot and Arrau. Yannick studied with her in Montreal for nearly 10 years.
Yannick recently appeared with the Orchestre Métropolitain playing Mozart, but his solo performances are rare. But as might be expected with such a gifted musician, when he sits down at the piano, he has something to say. In this album repertoire has been carefully chosen to relate to the melancholy many of us have felt during the past year. None of the pieces chosen are about technical virtuosity. Even the Scarlatti (Sonata in B minor K. 87), Haydn (Sonata No. 33 in C minor) and Mozart (Adagio in B minor K. 540) pieces are tinged with sadness, and yes, introspection. Yannick plays them all with care and conviction and resists the temptation to make them express more than their composers intended.
READ THE FULL La Scena REVIEW
HollywoodSoapbox - Jon Soltes writes.....It's not everyday that a new orchestral piece comes around that has been inspired by robotics, artificial intelligence and the relationship between humans and inanimates, but that's exactly what listeners can expect when taking in the sounds of Lim Fantasy of Companionship for Piano & Orchestra. The new work comes courtesy of French composer Manu Martin, who was commissioned to write the piece by Dr. Susan Lim, a pioneer in robotic surgery from Singapore, according to press notes.
Both Lim and Dr. Christina Teenz Tan are billed as creators of the work, and their efforts have now produced a recording of the piece, out now from Signum Records. Included on the album are pianist Tedd Joselson, London Voices and the London Symphony Orchestra, all under the direction of maestro Arthur Fagen.
The album was recorded in 2019 at Abbey Road Studios, and the songs are pulled from another project, a musical named ALAN, which is also the name of the inanimate robot at the center of the narrative. Recently Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Tan about the project. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style.
READ THE HollywoodSoapbox Q&A with Dr. Christina Teenz Tan
Piazzolla: Cien Años (Centaur) commemorates the 100th birthday of the Argentine bandoneón virtuoso and composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). Bandoneón soloist Juanjo Mosalini joins the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, under the direction of its Conductor Emerita, Gisèle Ben-Dor. The recording opens with Piazzolla's bandoneón concerto, Aconcagua. Four world premiere recordings follow, all, like Aconcagua, scored here for bandoneón and orchestra. First is Mosalini's vibrant Tomá, Tocá (Take It, Play It), dedicated to Tomás Gubitsch, an electric guitarist who performed with Piazzolla. Mosalini composed the reflective Cien Años (One Hundred Years) in memory of his grandfather. The timing of the work's creation also coincides with the Piazzolla centenary. Mosalini's arrangements of Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (Cuatro Estacíones Porteñas) and Libertango conclude the disc. Cien Años and the arrangement of The Four Seasons were both commissioned by Ben-Dor. Mosalini is a superb instrumentalist, a technically brilliant artist whose playing is both unfailingly kinetic, and suave in tone and phrasing. It is seductive music making; and isn't that perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to an interpreter of tangos? Mosalini layers improvisational elements into Piazzolla's three-movement Aconcagua, certainly appropriate for the character of this music, and highly effective. Both Mosalini's Tomá, Tocá and Cien Años are brief, single-movement works that feature a convincing and beguiling synthesis of various popular and classical elements, very much in the Piazzolla tradition. Piazzolla composed the movements of the work now known as The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires separately, and over a period of about 5 years. It is now known as a unified work (sometimes a concert companion to Vivaldi's Le quattro stagioni) and has been arranged for various complements of instruments. In his arrangement for bandoneón and orchestra, Mosalini adds connective tissue so that that the four movements are performed without pause. It's a lovely effect, and one that fits into the work's 25-minute time span without strain. The disc concludes with a stirring rendition of one of Piazzolla's signature works, Libertango. Conductor Gisèle Ben-Dor has long been a superb advocate for Latin-American music. Here, she leads the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in performances that are teeming with color, style, and irrepressible energy. The recording, which positions the listener in close proximity to the artists (but not oppressively so), packs considerable impact. Both Pablo Aslan and Ben-Dor contribute lively and informative commentary for the CD booklet, which also includes artist bios. A worthy and highly engaging centenary tribute to the father of the Tango Nuevo. Recommended. - Ken Meltzer
It's a meeting of electronic and acoustic percussion and ethereal moods with Jomoro. This is the project of percussionists Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco with guest artists including Sharon Van Etten and Lucious. Veterans of artists like David Byrne, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Atoms for Peace and more, they've conceived an album that's like Can meets Tropicália meets the avant-garde on their debut album, Blue Marble Sky. We beat the drums of Jomoro on Echoes.
SEE THE ECHOES PAGE LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
RTE's Ruth Barton writes......40 years after its release and with the Olympics in full swing, it's time to reassess the film with the iconic theme tune. If ever there was a film for a sporting occasion, Chariots of Fire is it. As we conclude the final lap of the marathon that is 2021's delayed Olympic Games, it is to the tune of Vangelis' iconic soundtrack that the IOC must surely move as they take their places looking down over the (empty) stands.
Directed by Hugh Hudson, produced by David Puttnam and written by Colin Welland, Chariots of Fire is routinely nominated as Best Olympic Film Ever 40 years after its release. More than that, it is also Joe Biden's favourite film. He referenced it in his 2008 run for the White House and again in his first address as president-elect. This, after all, is a story of good men and heroes who stick by their principles and win.
READ THE FULL RTE ARTICLE
Lowak Shoppala' expresses Chickasaw identity through the medium of modern classical music and theatre through eight scenes and features orchestra, narration of a libretto by Chickasaw poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Linda Hogan, children's chorus, traditional Chickasaw and classical vocal soloists, and Chickasaw storytellers. Each scene (Fire and Light, Double Header, Shell Shaker, Clans, Removal, Spider Brings Fire, Hymn, Double Header & Finale) depicts a part of Chickasaw culture and history and is sung in Chickasaw.
The recording, conducted by Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, features the Chickasaw Nation Children's Chorus and Nashville String Machine, an ensemble made up of musicians from the Nashville Symphony, and soloists including narrators Richard Ray Whitman, Lynn Moroney, and Wes Studi (Dances with Wolves); baritone Stephen Clark; and sopranos Chelsea Owen and Meghan Vera Starling.
Born in Oklahoma, Mr. Tate lives under dual citizenship – United States and Chickasaw. His father is a Chickasaw lawyer and tribal judge who authored the current tribal constitution and his mother is of Manx descent originally from Nebraska. In addition to being an active leader of American Indian law and politics, Mr. Tate's father is a classically trained pianist and baritone and his mother was a professional choreographer and dancer, leading to Mr. Tate's immersion into American dance, musical theater, and opera. Like his classical composer role models such as Claude Debussy (France), Bela Bartók (Hungary), and Igor Stravinsky (Russia), Mr. Tate strongly identifies with his culture and imbues it into all of his compositions.
LISTEN TO THE Classic 107.3 - St. Louis SEGMENT
Nézet-Séguin's gift will underwrite the Festival's Conducting Fellowships over the next three years. Nézet-Séguin stepped forward with this multi-year gift after a major grant from the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation, which was awarded in 2010, sunsetted this year.
The Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conducting Fellowships will provide free tuition and travel support to the top-tier Fellows of the Cabrillo Festival Conductors/Composers Workshop. The Workshop brings together leading faculty, the award-winning Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and early career conductors and composers for a professional training program that focuses on the creation and performance of new music. "I firmly believe we must invest in the future generation in order for our art form to thrive and inspire," said Nézet-Séguin.
Famous conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin is also a versatile pianist. In Summer 2020, when the pandemic turned down most of the cultural life all over the world, he found, as he describes it, "kind of a salvation" in playing the piano – and recorded his very first Piano Solo Album, inspired also by the memory of his admired teacher Anisia Campos who had passed away that year.
Playing the piano "gave me an opportunity for introspection, something that I think most of us did – not only artists and musicians, but every human being – recalibrating our priorities, what our purpose is in life, and what our aspirations are", says Yannick Nézet-Séguin about this project. However, "now that I'm a conductor, when I go back to my instrument, I especially want to find the intimacy and the softer colors, the soothing ones and also the painful ones, the unknown areas where composers go".
"It was important for me to reflect the whole range of repertoire that Madame Campos taught me," continues Yannick Nézet-Séguin "and to offer this album as a journey through some very dark and intimate places, but also through some dreamy ones, more positive and hopeful. It's a broad spectrum from Scarlatti to today." One piece included on this album (D‘après Hopper) has been composed especially for Yannick Nézet-Séguin by the great composer Éric Champagne and dedicated to him during the pandemic.
Sergei Rachmaninoff's symphonic works, among the most powerful and popular in the concert repertoire, hold a special place in the story of one of America's greatest musical ensembles. The Philadelphia Orchestra and its Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin are about to add a thrilling new chapter with the landmark launch of a cycle of Rachmaninoff's three symphonies and other orchestral scores for Deutsche Grammophon. The project follows naturally from their recordings of the Russian Romantic composer's piano concertos with Daniil Trifonov, the most recent of which – Destination Rachmaninov · Arrival – is in the running for a 2021 Grammy Award.
The first album, scheduled for international release in physical and digital formats on 29 January 2021, pairs the early Symphony No.1 with the Symphonic Dances, Rachmaninoff's last major composition, written for and dedicated to The Philadelphia Orchestra and its then conductor Eugene Ormandy and premiered by them 80 years ago this month. The second (Symphony No.2 and The Isle of the Dead) will be issued in early 2022, while the third and final recording (Symphony No.3 and The Bells) will appear as part of the commemorations of the composer's 150th birthday in April 2023.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin's new Mahler recording marks a return to the core symphonic repertoire with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mahler's Eighth Symphony was billed as the "Symphony of a Thousand," exploring themes of redemption through the power of love. The "sublime, transcendent" (The Philadelphia Inquirer) performances under the baton of Nézet-Séguin in March 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the U.S. premiere by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1916, conducted by Stokowski
Commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the inauguration of the Kennedy Center in 1971, Bernstein's Mass draws from religious and secular genres as well as the tumultuous ‘60s. Requiring two orchestras, a rock band, a marching band, multiple choirs and musical singers, Mass is rarely performed and even more rarely recorded. Recorded live by the Philadelphia Orchestra and several American ensembles under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, this album is DG's first Mass in its vast catalog.
To mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe records the complete Mendelssohn symphonies, including the Reformation Symphony (No. 5), under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Designate of the Met Opera. This release is the latest installment in Nézet-Séguin's collaboration with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe - a recent partnership that has already garnered two Grammy nominations.
17 NEW 52 TOTAL
SYND: C24, Beethoven Net, CBC Direct: SiriusXM, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, New Orleans, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Piyttsburgh, Cincinnati, Honolulu, MN(Statewide), MI(Statewide), SC(Statewide), Canada Online: BroadwayWorld, Passion Musique et Culture
After recordings of Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, this new album is the fourth in DG's series of seven Mozart operas conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and initiated by Rolando Villazón, in collaboration with U-Live, Festspielhaus Baden Baden and with the support of ROLEX. The opera was recorded with a stellar cast, one of the brightest and most insightful conductors of our day and a handpicked orchestra performing in the stunning Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. The new recording will be released July 8, 2016.
The third of Deutsche Grammophon's series of seven Mozart operas conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and initiated by Rolando Villazón, in collaboration with Festspielhaus Baden Baden has just been released. Following up a "completely enthralling" (Opernglas) Così fan tutte and "the most exciting and consistently well-sung Don Giovanni for some years" (Opera) with another Baden-Baden Festival Mozart production, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts this similarly acclaimed 2014 Die Entführung aus dem Serail.