Harold Shapero on BMOP (Best of 2020)

Harold Shapero Orchestral Works Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conductor BMOP Sound Composer Harold Shapero (1920-2013) was a central figure during the mid-twentieth century. A member of the Boston neoclassical group of composers, he was one of the first professors hired by Irving Fine for a new composition program at Brandeis University. Shapero hadContinue reading “Harold Shapero on BMOP (Best of 2020)”

Piano Concertos on DG (Best of 2020)

John Adams Why Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? Yuja Wang, piano; Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, conductor Deutsche Grammophon Thomas Adés Adés Conducts Adés Kirill Gerstein, piano: Christianne Stotijn, mezzo-soprano, Mark Stone, baritone;  Boston Symphony, Thomas Adés, conductor Deutsche Grammophon This year saw the release of two formidable new piano concertos onContinue reading “Piano Concertos on DG (Best of 2020)”

Matthew Shipp (Best of 2020)

Matthew Shipp The Piano Equation Tao Forms CD Jazz pianist Matthew Shipp turned sixty this year and celebrated in part with the solo release The Piano Equation. Shipp is an extraordinarily prolific recording artist, with dozens of releases as leader or co-leader and numerous more as a supporting musician; his solo catalog alone is extensive.Continue reading “Matthew Shipp (Best of 2020)”

Scelsi revisited (Best of 2020)

Scelsi Revisited Klangforum Wien, Sylvain Cambreling, Johannes Kalitzke, conductors Kairos 2XCD A number of prominent European composers took part in Scelsi revisited, a festival, documented on this double-CD, celebrating Giacinto Scelsi’s music. Their tribute pieces were based on unrealized tapes of Scelsi playing the Ondiola, a three-octave tube synthesizer that was his preferred instrument forContinue reading “Scelsi revisited (Best of 2020)”

Ralph van Raat Plays French Piano Rarities (CD Review)

French Piano Rarities Ralph van Raat, piano Naxos 8.573894 I was fortunate to hear the US premiere at New York’s Weill Recital Hall by Ralph van Raat of Pierre Boulez’s early work Prelude, Toccata, and Scherzo (1944). Composed when he was just nineteen, the piece is a substantial one, twenty-seven minutes long. Unlike Boulez’s worksContinue reading “Ralph van Raat Plays French Piano Rarities (CD Review)”

Amanda Palmer and Rhiannon Giddens: “It’s a Fire”

Amanda Palmer and Rhiannon Giddens have collaborated on a cover of Portishead’s “It’s a Fire,” which you can hear via Bandcamp (embed below). Proceeds from the single benefit Free Black University.

Spektral Quartet (Recording review)

Spektral Quartet Clara Lyon (violin), Maeve Feinberg (violin), Doyle Armbrust (viola), Russell Rolen (cello) Experiments in Living New Focus Records (digital release) The Spektral Quartet takes advantage of the open-ended playing time of a digital release to create effectively a double album for their latest recording, Experiments in Living. While double albums often suffer fromContinue reading “Spektral Quartet (Recording review)”

Ashlee Mack – Bagatelle for Piano (Video)

Ashlee Mack has just posted a performance video of my Bagatelle for Solo Piano. It is one in a set of three, the others being for alto flute and then a duo for alto flute and piano. You can stream or purchase a studio recording of the whole set via the Bandcamp embed below. ThreeContinue reading “Ashlee Mack – Bagatelle for Piano (Video)”

Liza Lim on Kairos

Liza Lim Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus Sophie Schatleitner, violin; Lorelei Dowling, bassoon; Klangform Wien, Stefan Asbury and Peter Rundel, conductors Kairos CD 00140220KAI Composer Liza Lim’s creative projects have long embraced a variety of ecomusicology. The environment in her home country Australia and the treatment of indigenous peoples there have featured in several works.Continue reading “Liza Lim on Kairos”

RIP Charles Wuorinen (1938-2020)

American composer, conductor, and pianist Charles Wuorinen has passed away. Wuorinen was the first person to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for an electronic music work, Time’s Encomium. He was also a MacArthur Fellow and received numerous other commissions and awards. His book, Simple Composition, is one of the clearest explications of composing using 12-toneContinue reading “RIP Charles Wuorinen (1938-2020)”