Yesterday’s lunchtime concert in the RBA consisted of four pieces for voice, tuned percussion and assorted other instruments by percussionist and composer Bob Becker. Apparently the tonal palette for all four was taken from the North Indian rag; Rag Chandrakosh. This is the sort of information I wouldn’t even be able to process without the help of the Wunderlemur.
Autumn Winds is a new CD of vocal and chamber music by American composer Kirk O’Riordan. Much of the music is unashamedly beautiful but it doesn’t sound in the least retro. It’s a long way from the neo-Broadway style that drives me nuts.
The first piece is Four Beautiful Songs for soprano, piano and viola. There’s both an ethereal beauty and a driving, rhythmic, sometimes jazzy, quality to the piano part adding energy to the lyrical text setting and equally lyrical viola part. It suits Ann Moss’ light, bright voice and the playing from pianist Holly Roadfeldt and Peter Dutilly on viola is lovely.
Prayer Stones, for piano and viola, is meditative and very beautiful piece. Again very nicely played. Continue reading →
If anybody in Canada is interested in seeing the HD broadcast of the Met production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess I may be able to help. I can’t do anything about this upcoming weekend’s live broadcast but I do have, courtesy of Touchwood PR, a couple of tickets to give away for the encore presentations. It’s a Canada only deal and you could pick any showing between Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, April 5th at the movie theatre of your choice. This link should serve to figure out when it’s on where. Comment with an email address and I’ll sort out logistics with the lucky winner. First come first served.
Back in the days when all British regiments had bands it was common for the band to entertain the locals with outdoor concerts in park or seaside bandstands. As well as the usual martial and patriotic fare, such concerts often featured suites drawn from operettas or operas; both old and new. Shortly before the First World War the more than averagely enterprising bandmaster of the Grenadier Guards made such a suite from Richard Strauss’ Elektra (premiered 1909). Rather pleased with it, he decided to insert it into one of those rather dull pauses that happen during Trooping the Colour. The bandsmen were also rather pleased with themselves for executing such advanced music. Unfortunately they were soon to be deflated as a liveried flunkie emerged from the palace with a message for the bandmaster… “The King does not know what the music the band just played was but it is never to be played again”. Sic transit gloria mundi. Mozart apparently is OK though as the Coldstream’s slow march to this day is Non più andrai.
I wanted to listen to Robert Fleming’s song cycle The Confession Stone today but I didn’t appear to have a recording in my strangely eclectic collection of physical and digital recordings. There’s nothing either on any of the umpty ump labels distributed by Naxos USA (lucky me has pretty much unlimited access tot heir digital catalogue) so off I went to YouTube. And I found a lovely recording by the talented duo of Wallis Giunta and Steven Philcox. Enjoy.
Explore the score is an initiative from the TSO. It’s a session where we, the audience, get to see Gary Kulesha rehearsing the orchestra in four new short pieces selected for the occasion. Each piece gets about half an hour of work with an opportunity for the composer to have his/her input.
Eight drinkers singing. Or vice versa. I forget. Anyway, last night’s extravaganza from Tongue in Cheek Productions and Opera5 at Gallery 345 was a blast. The schtick was that eight people got to choose a cocktail and a related song set while the audience could purchase their choice(s) of the said beverages. There was a lot of clowning around and some very good singing all backed up by a very serious looking Trevor Chartrand at the piano. Continue reading →