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)”

Cappella Amsterdam (Best of 2020)

Roland de Lassus Inferno – Motets for Six and Eight Voices Cappella Amsterdam, Daniel Reuss, director Harmonia Mundi CD Roland de Lassus (1530-1594)  – also known as Orlando di Lasso – was one of the most important vocal composers of the sixteenth century. His extant catalog contains more than 2,000 pieces in nearly every sacredContinue reading “Cappella Amsterdam (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)”

Best of 2020: Michi Wiancko

(Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing some of my favorite recordings of 2020. -CC) Michi Wiancko Planetary Candidate New Amsterdam Violinist-composer Michi Wianko’s recording Planetary Candidate presents a selection of solo violin works by Wianko and several of her composer contemporaries. They are “solo” in the sense of having a singleContinue reading “Best of 2020: Michi Wiancko”

Ora Singers – Spem in Alium.Vidi Aquam (CD Review)

Spem in Alium. Vidi Aquam Ora Singers, Suzi Digby Harmonia Mundi, 2020 English choral group the Ora Singers, led by Suzi Digby, present Thomas Tallis’s magnificent forty-part motet Spem in Alium on their latest Harmonia Mundi recording. Split into eight choirs of five apiece, the singers are given many opportunities to overlap in successive entrances,Continue reading “Ora Singers – Spem in Alium.Vidi Aquam (CD Review)”

Anna Höstman’s Harbour (CD Review)

Anna Höstman  Harbour  Cheryl Duvall, piano  Redshift Records, 2020  Harbour, a recital recording of Anna Höstman’s piano works played by Cheryl Duvall, reveals an emerging composer who both synthesizes her research interests – she has written about Feldman and Linda Caitlin Smith – while developing a significant voice of her own. Thus, gradually developing fieldsContinue reading “Anna Höstman’s Harbour (CD Review)”

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.