Composer, pianist, and conductor Michael Shapiro joins us to talk about the music on his latest disc, including his John Milton-inspired piano concerto entitled Archangel. In this action-packed work, Shapiro lays out the epic Biblical battle between good and evil as a metaphor for the challenges we all face in our daily lives (which includes the current coronavirus pandemic – something Michael recently fell victim to himself). Also on the disc: orchestral excerpts from an opera based on Federico Garcia Lorca, and a full-throttle realization for orchestra of the famous organ Toccata by French composer Charles-Marie Widor.
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION
Voice of Hope is Camille Thomas's second album for Deutsche Grammophon. The Franco-Belgian cellist's program pays tribute to people's ability to triumph over adversity, create harmony in place of chaos, and overcome hatred with love. The album presents the world-premiere recording of Fazil Say's concerto Never Give Up, a response to terrorist attacks in Paris and Istanbul written for and premiered by Thomas, and also includes an exquisite selection of songs, prayers, and laments, Bruch's Kol Nidrei and Ravel's Kaddisch among them.
For June 30, Camille Thomas - Voice of Hope is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release'
Recently French composer and pianist Lucas Debargue breathed new life into the harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and presents works outside the standard piano repertoire. The Parisian pianist has already climbed the pinnacle of piano artistry with Beethoven, Liszt and Ravel and unleashed full-blown romantic thunderstorms with Schubert's A-minor Piano Sonata no. 14 and the madcap finale of Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit.
On the album, Debargue devotes himself completely to Domenico Scarlatti. He already played four of this Italian master's sonatas on his highly acclaimed début album. Germany's Der Spiegel waxed ecstatic: "Debargue's Scarlatti recalls his mighty predecessors. He displays the subtle touch and feeling once bestowed on these miniatures by Vladimir Horowitz and imparts new sound to Scarlatti's keyboard music. … Debargue touches the outer limits of expression between joylessness and rapture: one may find it overwrought, but it's never less than gripping. And then there's the gentle Glenn Gould touch."
Debargue joins us for this mini-episode of REMOTE with a couple words on some of his pandemic-projects, reading list, and the importance of emphasizing our similarities rather than differences. READ THE Q&A
Max Richter's trailblazing 2015 composition Sleep is now available to download with the launch of a new app. The app enables listeners to reimagine the 8-hour Deutsche Grammophon recording in custom-made musical sessions to help with focus, meditation and sleep which many people will need in the midst of the pandemic lockdown. It brings to a wider audience some of the experience shared by those lucky enough to attend Richter's extraordinary eight-hour overnight performances of Sleep – complete with beds – including LTW's own Tim Cooper who wrote about it here when it came to London in 2017.
READ THE FULL Louder Than War ARTICLE
In episode 925 of "ANIMAJAZZ", conceived and conducted by BRUNO POLLACCI , broadcast TUESDAY June 30 at 20.30, on PUNTORADIO, also streaming on www.puntoradio.fm and in an immediate podcast on http: // animajazz. eu will be the protagonists CARLA BLEY - ANDY SHEPPARD - STEVE SWALLOW - CD "Life Goes On" - "Life Goes On_ III. And On "(ECM).
The third volume of a sequence of albums begun with Trios in 2013 and continued with Andando El Tiempo (2016), Life Goes On – once more recorded in Lugano and produced by Manfred Eicher - features striking new music from American pianist/composer Carla Bley, whose trio with saxophonist Andy Sheppard and bassist Swallow has a long history. (Their first recording in trio format was Songs with Legs, recorded for the ECM-distributed WATT label in 1994.) Bley has composed for ensembles of every size but, over time, the trio has established itself as an ideal unit for expressing the essence of her work. Throughout Life Goes On, Carla's terse, distinctive piano, shaping phrases irreducible as Monk or Satie, is beautifully framed by Swallow's eloquent, elegant bass guitar and Sheppard's yearning saxes. This trio has a unique collective sound, reflecting – as The Telegraph recently noted – "musical mastery of a rare order".
We remind you that "ANIMAJAZZ" can be heard on TUESDAY at 20.30 in immediate podcast on http://animajazz.eu and the "DOWNLOAD" of the episode can be made, free of charge, from the podcasts area. Happy listening.
SEE THE PLAYLIST
The 2020 Juno Awards have wrapped, announcing a list of winners that has been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the in-person Saskatoon weekend of events in March. But tonight, June 29, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and CBC combined the usual two-night series of events into an hour-and-a-half-long pre-recorded special, delivering a night that Canadian music fans have been waiting for.
Winner for 'Classical album of the year: large ensemble' is Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano, The John Adams Album.
Released to coincide with Nagano's final season with the Montréal Symphony, The John Adams Album contains his key orchestral works conducted by one of his greatest, lifelong champions "Like all great pieces, each time one returns to them and restudies them, I'm able to find something more - new dimensions that I haven't seen before, other reflections of innovation and genius." - Kent Nagano on John Adams
SEE ALL WINNERS ON CBC PAGE
How can it be possible that we're only halfway through the year? On its relentless whiplash toward the middle, the first six months of 2020 have reframed, redefined, shocked, torn down, confounded and crumbled our expectations, our priorities, our concepts of distance and closeness, of responsibility, of tragedy, of joy. They changed how we listened to music, too: so often alone, through wires and screens and glitches and delays. But in six full months packed with moments where we needed music to cope with challenges new and old, there was so much to see us through. These artists had their lives upended as well – it's amazing to look back on this six months of music and realize they made nearly all of it before the year even began. They'll give us so much more in the months to come, no doubt, as reckoning continues to rise to the surface of their songs. (Oh yeah, there's also a Beyoncé visual album on the way.)
Below, you'll find more than two dozen records from 2020's first six months that are worth holding onto for the next six, and beyond. We didn't vote on them. Each is the favorite of one member of the NPR Music team. You can find our favorite songs of the first half of 2020 here.
With a wink to heart-on-sleeve Romantic piano concertos by Rachmaninov, British composer-conductor Thomas Adès unleashes perhaps the most pleasing concerto written yet this century. A jolt of sheer joie de vivre, the piece features flamboyant orchestration (a duet for xylophone and piccolo?), sizzling passages deftly navigated by pianist Kirill Gerstein and a central slow movement that pushes yearning to new emotional levels. Adès Conducts Adès dropped in February and I listened to its concerto nonstop, until the pandemic hit hard. Then I turned to the grim and masterful Totentanz (Dance of the Dead). Adès was inspired by a 15th-century frieze depicting the figure of death waltzing with representatives of each rung of society, from Pope to peasant and finally an infant. Baritone Mark Stone sings the role of death with self-assured devilry, while mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn sensitively interprets his impotent victims. In orchestration that is massive, beautiful and frightening, Adès's music singularly underscores the inevitability of death in deadly times. -Tom Huizenga
SEE THE FULL LIST
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.
Yo-Yo Ma is trying to leave all the stress behind him / The New York Times
Posted: June 9, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
The renowned cellist, who has soothed us during the pandemic with "Songs of Comfort," also puts Fred Rogers, Pablo Casals and his Benoît Rolland bow on his list of cultural essentials.
Yo-Yo Ma has long been the person we turn to when music can express what words cannot. So in March, as the coronavirus plunged the nation into crisis, Mr. Ma asked himself how he could be helpful. Then he did what he does best: He picked up his cello, pushed record on his phone and played "#SongsOfComfort" for us, inviting the public to participate in his soothing social media project.
The response has been a flurry of videos from musicians, both amateur and professional. But if Mr. Ma likens the pandemic's initial phase to a blizzard, he sees a long winter ahead - and more questions. "How do we collaborate with the purpose of having legitimate hope?" he said. "How do we do everything possible to rebuild toward the world that we really want to live in?"
On May 24, Mr. Ma performed Bach's cello suites live from WGBH studios in Boston in memory of those lost to the pandemic. He has been busy these past few months. "Not Our First Goat Rodeo," the follow-up to his Grammy-winning 2011 ensemble album, comes out on June 19. And sheltering at home in Cambridge, Mass., has allowed the peripatetic Mr. Ma, 64, more time than ever before with his wife, Jill. "What I realized is that my wife and I have only been living under stress," he said, calling to discuss the 10 things that have helped him through the lockdown, and life in general. "What's amazing is that we're actually able to make it kind of normal. That's an unexpected joy."
These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
1. Animal Stories
I've become fascinated with some of the earlier animal stories, like "Aesop's Fables" and "Kalila wa-Dimna," which I found out when I was traveling for Silkroad had been the "Panchatantra" stories in India and are thousands of years old. Here are three different places that had essentially the same plotline. And I realized that during times of crisis, we want to go to fundamentals, to certain things that don't change. Stories are one of them, and the value of trust is another. Who do you trust right now? Who tells the truth? And who actually is helping? Those are values that I'm obsessed with. And these stories deal with, essentially, observations of the human condition.
2. His Phone
It's partly my brain, first of all, because I'm so old that it has a far better memory than I do. It's my newspaper that gives me multiple perspectives. In a way it has become my stage because I film stuff like "Songs of Comfort" from it. And it's a place where I can do research. When I was growing up, you used to go to the Britannica if you had a question. Now I go to the iPhone and I find what I need to find. Of course, I'm going to not tell you what my average screen time is.
3. Scotch Tape
Scotch tape is like a Band-Aid for music because the scores fall apart, and there are page turns with no time to turn, and they all have to fit on a music stand. Since I'm pretty scattered, I end up cutting up pages and taping them together in not such great ways, but long enough to last through a performance. If you also have to record yourself on the phone, you have to get the right angle. So I found myself using Scotch tape to tape my phone onto something so that it's poised precariously at the right angle for a certain number of minutes. I mean, it's pathetic, right?
4. Benoît Rolland
He's an artist-scientist who is an inventor, and I mean that very seriously. For my 60th birthday, my wife surprised me and commissioned a bow from him. You know, I'm not an equipment guy. I never like to think about bows or instruments or even strings and rosin. When I'm on tour, I can't count on anything. If I'm an equipment freak, I'll just be a miserable guy all the time because things are not exactly right. So when my wife first presented it to me, I thought: "It's wonderful. How thoughtful. Whatever." Then I started playing - and then I just never stopped. It did something extraordinary. I never knew that a bow can make such a difference.
5. Fred Rogers
Do we need him now or what? What an unbelievable, remarkable human being he was. One of the things he did when I met him was that he started asking me questions with his face about six inches from my face, which, if you imagine, that is very much into my personal space. You feel uncomfortable. And I didn't know why until I realized that he was actually using the space that a child has before they become socialized. He taught me that the space between the television screen and the child's face is sacred. [The] greatest lesson in trust.
6. Pablo Casals
We owe the Bach suites to him because he's the one who played each suite in its entirety. He was the first cellist who gave it that meaning that today a lot of people ascribe to as music that gives you solace, consolation. But beyond that, I loved Casals when I was 9 years old because I read that he said that he was a human being first, a musician second and a cellist third. At that time, I was being groomed: "Oh, you're going to be a wonderful cellist." And I thought: "Yuck. No, I'm not just that." So I was so pleased that my greatest musical hero said those words. And to this day I still think he's absolutely right.
What science does is to expand the limits of our perception of our five senses. So we have tools to actually look into and probe the macro world, and we have instruments that can deeply examine the micro world beyond what we can see, hear, touch, feel. The sciences are extensions of ourselves in an anthropomorphic sense - ways that we invent so that we can better live and thrive and survive. Not to pay attention to that is like saying: "We don't want to see what's beyond the cliff. Or that there is a cliff."
8. Emanuel Ax
He's one of the nicest human beings on earth. Here's this formidable person with such a gentle soul and a steel-trap mind who is like my older brother. But I call him bossy because he actually is. He always is teaching me things. I've known him for 49 years, and he'll tell me the truth. [Laughs]
He used to say: "Don't let playing concerts be an interruption of your life. Make sure that on the day of [the] concert you spend at least as much time thinking about being in the space of the music you will be playing in the evening." And that's incredibly good advice. It's a form of mental advocacy so that you are, in fact, in that place when you need to be.
I tend to have wonderful friendships with pianists. Kathy Stott, whom I've played with for over 40 years, is also the boss. It's very easy. She'd say, "If you don't listen to me, I'm just going to drown you out at the concert."
I had a back operation when I was younger, and playing the cello is not great for scoliosis. Swimming is something that I enjoy doing because it's a moment of meditation. It uses all my muscles and it counters what I do during the day. Because of my operation, I can't really turn my neck that well so I use a snorkel. It's a very good friend and allows me to get the exercise I need, and the quietude.
10. Sustainable Development Goals Pin
The pin is something that I've taken to wearing whenever I perform and I'm wearing a jacket. Why? So that people can ask me, "What is that?" And I proceed to say, "These are the goals of the United Nations for 2030 that will allow us to have a healthy planet and healthy population, no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, et cetera, et cetera."
So many of us, myself included, are looking for purpose and meaning, and we feel helpless. "The problems that are facing us are too big. I can't do anything about it." Baloney. But we can only do something if everybody participates. It takes the will of all. During this pandemic, suddenly the skies are clearer. Suddenly people can breathe. And I think if everybody finds their specific place where they can make a contribution toward getting there, we can one day really impact the goals that the younger generations certainly feel deeply.
On March 8, Sony Classical will release a recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen's cello concerto featuring Yo-Yo Ma and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Salonen's baton. Co-commissioned for Ma by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Barbican Centre, and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Salonen's cello concerto premiered on March 9, 2017 with Salonen himself conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ma and the concerto then came to the New York Philharmonic on March 17, 2017, with then-Music Director Alan Gilbert conducting; Ma and Gilbert continued the premiere season with performances at London's Barbican Centre and Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie. This recording captures the live performance in Los Angeles on February 8, 2018.
YO-YO MA releases Six Evolutions – Bach: Cello Suites today. The new album from Sony Classical marks Ma's third and final recording of the works and celebrates his nearly six-decade-long relationship with the music. Six Evolutions – Bach: Cello Suites is available to stream and download now on all digital service providers and for purchase as a 3-LP 180-gram vinyl set.
As Ma's "constant musical companions" for almost 60 years, Bach's Cello Suites first entered the cellist's life at the age of four, when he learned the first measure of the Prélude to Suite No. 1 under his father's instruction. His Grammy Award-winning first complete recording of the suites was made in his late twenties. His second, Inspired by Bach, was released in his early forties and recorded alongside a multi-genre, collaborative exploration of the works. Both previous recordings of the Cello Suites, also on Sony Classical, became landmarks in classical discography, as well as milestones in Ma's musical life. Since then these works have been a through line in his life, guiding him through times of happiness as well as hardship, prompting Ma to ask, "What power does this music possess that even today, after three hundred years, it continues to help us navigate through troubled times?"
CBS/Sony Classical has been accompanying superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma for decades on his journey through the unsurpassed works written for his instrument by Johann Sebastian Bach. The label is now pleased to announce the release of important landmarks from that journey, Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach, on a single CD. Ma's first recording of Bach's six Solo Suites, which went on to win the Grammy? for "Best Classical Instrumental Performance" and is represented here by the Sarabande from the Sixth Suite, took place in 1982. In the same year, Yo-Yo Ma recorded Bach's complete sonatas for viola da gamba with harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper which was hailed by Gramophone as "intelligent and expressive."
24 NEW 53 TOTAL
SYND: Classical 24, CBC Direct: SiriusXM, MOOD, AccuRadio Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Seattle, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Austin, Denver, Memphis, AL(Statewide), NE(Statewide), MN(Statewide), MI(Statewide) INTER: Canada, UK Online: Bradenton Herald, BroadwayWorld
Imagine a party, a musical party inspired by the holiday season. A party that celebrates the universal hopes, dreams and joy animating seasonal festivals the world over Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, Kwanzaa, Yule and New Year's Day. That is what brought Yo-Yo Ma together with a remarkable group of friends to create Yo-Yo Ma & Friends Songs of Joy & Peace, a new album of songs from Sony Masterworks.
3 New 'ON' this week: 291
SYND: NPR/Hearts of Space, APM/Prairie Home Companion & Performance Today, PRI/Jazz After Hours & Classical 24, WFMT Network/Jazz with Bob Parlocha, UnderCurrents, Folkscene, Music Of Your Life, Acoustic Cafe, Radio DeLuxe Direct: XM/Fine Tuning, Music Choice/Jazz & Soundscapes Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Wash DC, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, San Diego, Denver, Portland, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Berkeley CA, Nashville, Memphis, Albuquerque, Honolulu, Austin, Louisville, San Antonio, Columbus OH, Madison WI, Puerto Rico, Canada
An Essential Collection From Yo-Yo Ma. One Of The Most Popular Musicians Of Our Time! 34 Incredible tracks spanning Yo-Yo Ma's entire career - From his Academy Award winning performance on: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and his Grammy Winning Soul Of The Tango: to his latest Silk Road Ensemble recording: Beyond the Horizon.
8 ADD's this week: 68 Stations now "ON"
Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Cleveland, St. Louis, Cincinatti, Pittsburgh, Houston, New Orleans, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Buffalo
Comprising ninety discs, Yo-Yo Ma: 30 Years Outside the Box is a salute to Yo-Yo Ma's monumental musical achievements and to his 30-year legacy with Sony Masterworks. The exciting story of his life and work is eloquently told in a quality hard bound book of over 312 pages, lavishly illustrated with more than 150 color and black-and-white archival photos, original album artwork, liner notes and credits. Further enriching the story of this musical giant is a warm and insightful foreword by his longtime friend and esteemed fellow artist, pianist Emanuel Ax, as well as a lengthy, insightful essay by noted critic Richard Dyer.
40 New ON this week 53 Total Synd: Virtuoso Voices Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Portland, Baltimore, New Orleans, Berkeley CA Online: Taintradio, Dr. Music
Yo-Yo Ma's latest recording for Sony Classical, Appassionato, is a journey through some of the world's most romantic music-from Mendelssohn to Gershwin to John Williams. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, and with a CD catalogue of astonishing breadth and depth, Yo-Yo Ma has consistently been one of the top-selling classical artists in the world. His recordings have earned him a total of fifteen Grammy Awards.
7 New 'ON' this week: 63 Total "Stations/Shows" Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinatti, Baltimore, Salt Lake, New Orleans