Browsing: Strings

Kimmo Pohjonen, accordion & voice; Samuli Kosminen, string & accordion samples, programming; Kronos Quartet (David Harrington, John Sherba, violins; Hank Dutt, viola; Jeffrey Ziegler, cello) Ondine ODE 1185-2 (51 min 49 s) *** Here’s a neat lesson in brand name recognition and the advantage of a dedicated fan base. The cover of this album is dark blackish brown with red streaks. The title and artists are given in tiny letters and it is necessary to look into the booklet to establish Pohjonen’s and Kosminen’s claim to composition and arrangement of the music (a commission for Kronos). Aside from credits and…

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Angèle Dubeau, violon; Louise Bessette, piano; La Pietà Analekta AN 2 8732 (60 min 36 s) ***** Le compositeur américain John Adams s’illustre principalement dans le domaine de l’opéra et de la musique symphonique. Or, Angèle Dubeau et son ensemble La Pietà s’intéressent ici à son répertoire de musique de chambre avec pour résultat un disque très bien ficelé. Le duo pour violon et piano Road Movies est ici interprété avec la fougue qu’il mérite tandis que le quatuor à cordes John’s Book of Alleged Dances est présenté avec toute la fantaisie que le compositeur lui a conférée (on regrette…

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by Paul E. RobinsonA lingering recession is the worst of times for the arts generally and for music education specifically. Hardly a day goes by without more news of cuts to funding of orchestras, theatres, art galleries, museums and schools. The bad news, however, is often offset by good news; for example, the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto, Canada) just announced a partnership with Carnegie Hall to introduce a national system of study and assessment in the U.S. modeled after the RCM’s comprehensive and highly respected programme, and the Venezuelan movement called El Sistema has taken root in the United…

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by Paul E. Robinson It was just over a year ago that Austin music lovers last heard Anne Akiko Meyers (photo: above) in an imaginative and brilliantly played recital at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas. Meyers had recently been appointed to the faculty at the school and – with a baby on the way – she and her husband had decided to move to Austin. What a coup for the school, its students and Austinites! We all looked forward to hearing Meyers on a regular basis; unfortunately, even the most carefully planned relationships don’t always…

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Werther @ The Montreal Opera: two shows left on Jan. 31 and Feb. 3It’s your last chance to catch the beloved Massenet adaptation of Goethe’s Sturm und Drang masterpiece. A success since its 1892 premiere, Werther is one of the staples of the operatic repertoire. The Montreal Opera’s production is a rare treat to sample the rare baritone scoring for the lead role, which Massenet wrote himself for Mattia Battistini in 1902. It transfers the action from late 18th-century Germany to 1920s America, in a move which the Gazette’s Arthur Kapatainis suggests alludes to a Gatsby-Daisy relationship between the troubled…

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Flash version here. With over a hundred recordings, thousands of concerts in halls all over the world, lauded appearances in festivals, collaborations with legendary artists such as Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Yo-Yo Ma and Keith Jarrett and close ties to composers such as Philip Glass, Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, John Adams, Luigi Nono, Sofia Guibadulina, Valentin Silvestrov and Lera Auerback under his belt, Gidon Kremer’s career path is nothing short of astonishing. One could imagine that such a performer might be unapproachable, crisscrossing the globe, setting down his designer suitcases in the most luxurious of hotel suites, a man who…

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Flash version here. With over a hundred recordings, thousands of concerts in halls all over the world, lauded appearances in festivals, collaborations with legendary artists such as Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Yo-Yo Ma and Keith Jarrett and close ties to composers such as Philip Glass, Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, John Adams, Luigi Nono, Sofia Guibadulina, Valentin Silvestrov and Lera Auerback under his belt, Gidon Kremer’s career path is nothing short of astonishing. One could imagine that such a performer might be unapproachable, crisscrossing the globe, setting down his designer suitcases in the most luxurious of hotel suites, a man who…

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by Paul E. Robinson Whatever else he may be as a man and a musician, Kent Nagano is insatiably curious. So far, his Montreal audiences have not only accepted, but embraced, his voyages of discovery.This week Maestro Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) gave Place des Arts concert-goers a feast of the familiar and the unfamiliar that was truly exceptional, and I think they liked it.The evening’s star attraction was the outstanding violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, now a fully mature artist after years of wonder as a young prodigy encouraged by the likes of Herbert von Karajan, Andre Previn…

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by Paul E. RobinsonSUMMER MUSIC FESTIVALS 2010Aspen Music Festival and School After a few days in Vail enjoying the music-making of Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Marita and I drove over to Aspen, about 100 miles away through the mountains. What we found there was a much older community and a festival and school operating on an equally high artistic plane but with a more varied range of goals and activities. True, Aspen has been in the news lately for its administrative infighting which saw music director and conductor David Zinman…

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