Esa-Pekka Salonen and Yo-Yo Ma: “Playing with Friends” (Video)

I’m very much looking forward to hearing Yo-Yo Ma play Esa-Pekka Salonen’s new cello concerto, which he performs tonight with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert.

Music Sales has shared a group of videos of Ma and Salonen discussing the gestation of the piece (embedded below).

Hayes Biggs played by Thomas Stumpf (YouTube)

Pianist Thomas Stumpf’s latest Albany Records recording features composer Hayes Biggs’s first Piano Prelude, The Secret the Silent Lazarus Would Not Reveal. Based on the poem, “The Afterlife,” by Billy Collins, it is a virtuosic traversal of the piano’s low register, featuring sepulchrally jazzy chords and ominous angular melodies.

Stumpf’s Reflections on Time and Mortalitya two-disc set, also includes pieces by Chopin, Debussy, Janàcek, Bartók, John McDonald, and Yehudi Wyner.

Goldfrapp: “Ocean” (YouTube)

Photo: Alison Goldfrapp

Goldfrapp’s new LP, Silver Eye, is out March 31st via Mute. A more synth-filled adventure this time around, which one can hear on the album’s leadoff track “Ocean.” While not all of their tour is confirmed as yet, there are dates (below) in the New York and Philadelphia areas.

Silver Eye Tour Dates:
20th March – O2 Academy, Oxford – SOLD OUT
21st March – The Junction, Cambridge – SOLD OUT
23rd March – The Leadmill, Sheffield – SOLD OUT
24th March – BBC 6 Music Festival, Glasgow – SOLD OUT
27th March – Roundhouse, London – SOLD OUT
24th April – Theatre Of Living Arts, Philadelphia
26th April – Brooklyn Steel, New York
27th April – Brooklyn Steel, New York 
8th July – Blue Dot Festival
14th July – Latitude Festival

Fifth House and Baladino – Nedudim (CD Review)

Fifth House Ensemble & Baladino

Nedudim

Cedille Records/Baladino CD

 

Fifth House Ensemble’s second CD for Cedille, Nedudim (Hebrew for “wanderings”) employs material from a plethora of folk traditions: Appalachian American, blues, Greek, Balkan, Turkish, and Indian, to name only some of them. Fifth House enlists as their performance partners the versatile world music group Baladino. Composer Dan Visconti and Baladino member Thomas Moked Blum supply imaginative arrangements that juxtapose notated material for Fifth House and quasi-improvisatory guides for Baladino. In addition to standard Western instruments – horn, flute, clarinet, saxophone, piano, and strings – the listener is also greeted by didjeridu, duduk, oud, ney, and African percussion.

 

The combination of these two ensembles is a successful one, creating a fluidity of rhythmic interaction that many crossover albums with folk elements lack. Indeed, the coexistence of instruments East and West and pieces that hew closer to classical or folk traditions provides the CD with enjoyable variety. A star in the proceedings is the incredibly versatile vocalist Yael Badash, whose singing matches the fluency of the instrumental performances. Nedudim traverses a great deal of musical ground, but never strays.