Browsing: Video of the day

Splitting time between recording Beethoven concertos, directing music festivals, and conducting the Camerata Ireland, which he founded, Irish pianist and composer Barry Douglas is a well-travelled, decorated artist. To “Tiny Desk Concert,” Douglas brings his heritage in the form of Celtic folk songs. Rippling left-hand waves, impish alternating chords, and gossamer trills come together to capture an image of pastoral Ireland from its rugged cliffs, crisp breeze, and sylvan freshness. Barry Douglas – NPR “Tiny Desk Concert”

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In light of the ongoing Montreal Jazz Festival, here’s a wonderful live performance of the pianist Bobby Timmons’s “Dat Dere” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone offers a virtuosic solo spanning the whole instrument’s range and tone palate; Lee Morgan on the trumpet slurs poignant licks; and Timmons brings his usual hard-grooving, crunchy block chords. Add in legendary Jymie Merritt on bass and, of course, Art Blakey on drums and you have a superteam that colours beyond the bounds of the hard bop classic’s lines before the idea of superteams came to be. Art…

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For another American themed video, here’s Russian-born American virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz’ piano transcription of the iconic American bandmaster and composer John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” 00Horowitz wrote this famously difficult transcription on occasion of his naturalization as an American citizen. Valery Kuleshov – Horowitz’ transcription of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”

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In perhaps the coldest concert ever recorded, Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi plays an ode to the Arctic while floating on a platform in the middle of the ocean. Associated with Greenpeace, this act of environmental activism is to raise awareness for the environmental degradation of one of the most fragile ecosystems on our planet. As Einaudi plays, parts of glaciers crack and fall into the Arctic Ocean, a chilling reminder of climate change due to the greenhouse gas effect.

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Born on June 20 1819, German-born French composer Jacques Offenbach is particularly known for his operettas. Orpheus in the Underworld and The Tales of Hoffman are still part of today’s repertoire. During Offenbach’s lifetime, Paris’s Opera-Comique was not interested in staging his works and the composer had to rent his own venue and the Champs-Élysées. Watch an excerpt of La Périchole where the title character sings after a few evening drinks.

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Austrian-born composer Ignaz Joseph Pleyel was born on June 18 1757. Living in Strasbourg during the Reign of Terror, he avoided the consequences that could have been brought on by his “foreign status” by composing highly patriotic French music. Upon moving to Paris in 1795, he founded a music publishing business and eventually started manufacturing pianos. His son Camille eventually took the reins of Pleyel and Cie, who provided pianos to Frédéric Chopin. Watch a performance of a Chopin waltz on a restored 1848 Pleyel grand piano.

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Today marks the anniversary of Gounod’s (1818) and Stravinsky’s (1882) births. Winner of the 1839 Prix de Rome, Gounod studied at the Paris Conservatory. His musical legacy comprises a dozen of operas, oratorios, and several motets and songs. His 1872 piano piece The Funeral March of a Marionette, orchestrated in 1879, achieved fame in the 20th-century as the theme music for Alfred Hitchcock Presents. One of the defining figures of 20th-century music, Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky defied convention and achieved worldwide fame with his compositions for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris. The uproar caused by the premiere of The Rite…

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On June 16 1986, organist and composer Maurice Duruflé passed away at the age of 84 years old. He stopped his musical activities in 1975, after a car accident that left him severely injured. Organist at Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church in Paris, he premiered Francis Poulenc’s Organ Concerto in 1939. His most renowned work, the Requiem Op. 9, draws inspiration from Duruflé’s predecessor Fauré, Renaissance music, and gregorian chant.

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June 15, 1843 is the birthday of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Born in Bergen, he is widely considered as one of the leading romantic composers. His music celebrates both the Norwegian Folk heritage and the width of European culture. Listen to a 1906 recording of Grieg playing Butterfly, one of his 66 Lyric Pieces for piano. Today also marks the death anniversary of the First Lady of Song Ella Fitzgerald, who passed away on June 15 1996. She led a brilliant solo career—as her 14 Grammy awards indicate—and also recorded and performed with other great jazz musicians such as Duke…

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Andris Nelsons has now taken charge of the Boston Symphony. The video comes from a concert given by Nelsons and the BSO this past July at Tanglewood. It includes excerpts from two Dvorak works: the Symphony No. 8 and the Violin Concerto, the latter with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist. By all accounts the new BSO music director has been warmly received by audiences, critics and members of the orchestra. Meanwhile, Nelsons has been very active in Europe too. When Claudio Abbado passed away earlier this year his Lucerne Festival Orchestra was left wondering what to do. The orchestra had been…

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