MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Lavena: in your hands

My review of the cellist Lavena is in the July issue of Gramophone:

An enigmatic soundscape shivers into being in Gemma Peacocke’s Amygdala for solo cello and fixed electronics. The cellist wends her way, tentatively, towards acoustic clarity, playing richly expressive double-stops as if coming up for air….

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Filed under: CD review, Gramophone

Yuri McCoy, Symphonic Roar

My latest review for Gramophone, in the May issue, is of organist Yuri McCoy’s debut album, Symphonic Roar:

The impetus for this debut album by Yuri McCoy was to celebrate the French Romantic organ and the gloriously rich, ‘symphonic’ sonority associated with it. But the American organist has set about doing so with a bracingly original programme of pieces…

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Filed under: CD review, Gramophone, organ

Robert Carl: White Heron

My review of this marvelous BMOP anthology of Robert Carl’s music for Gramophone has now been posted here.

Aficionados of contemporary music will already be familiar with the name Robert Carl as a writer. He has authored extensive reviews for Fanfare and a recent, thought-provoking collection of essays on the challenges faced by 21st-century composers…

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Filed under: American music, CD review, Gramophone

Bruits from Imani Winds

I reviewed the latest release from Imani Winds for Gramophone:

Musicians have felt an increasing urgency over the past year to become engaged with issues of social justice. Imani Winds were already there well before most, having devoted themselves to giving a platform to marginalised voices since they started out in 1997. So the moral focus of their new album, which addresses the effects of systemic racism, reflects much more than a current trend.

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Filed under: CD review, Gramophone

Golijov’s Falling Out of Time

Here’s my review for Gramophone of Osvaldo Golijov’s remarkable new collaboration with Silkroad Ensemble, Falling Out of Time.

Though conceived and created well before the pandemic, Osvaldo Golijov’s latest collaboration with Silkroad Ensemble seems uncannily well suited to the era of corona.

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Filed under: CD review, Gramophone, Osvaldo Golijov, Silk Road Project

Octave 9: New Letter from Seattle for Gramophone

Octave-9-Seth Parker Woods and Friends in Difficult Grace

Seth Parker Woods and Friends in Difficult Grace at Seattle Symphony’s Octave 9.

It’s been very difficult trying to think about anything other than the Covid-19 pandemic. Already several loved ones have become ill with the disease, and one admired acquaintance has died.

With so much angst and sorrow, we are only 10 days into the state of emergency declared for Washington State, while other areas — in the unconscionable absence of federal guidance and leadership — are recklessly carrying on as usual.

Here’s what now seems a surreal glance back to happier times, which I wrote only a little over a month ago for Gramophone magazine’s April issue: some thoughts on Seth Parker Woods, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and Gidon Kremer at Seattle Symphony’s Octave 9 space.


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Filed under: Gramophone, Octave 9, Seattle Symphony, Seth Parker Woods

Seattle’s Benaroya Hall: Overview for Gramophone

I’ve been contributing to Gramophone magazine’s ongoing series on North American venues, starting with a guide to Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. Here’s a link to that piece.

Filed under: Gramophone, performance venue

Gramophone 2019: A Letter from Seattle

gramophone-cover-july-19_0

Here’s a little contribution from me to this month’s Gramophone magazine:

Across the United States, the pressure is on to redefine longstanding classical music institutions that otherwise face potential extinction….

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Filed under: Gramophone, music news, Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony

Seattle Symphony Is Gramophone‘s Orchestra of the Year

As part of its 2018 Classical Music Awards, Gramophone magazine has announced the winner of Orchestra of the Year, an inaugural category whose victor was determined by a public vote. SSO was the only non-European orchestra in the running.

I wrote this for Gramophone about the award:

‘Listen boldly’ enjoins the logo which the Seattle Symphony introduced in 2011 to mark the beginning of Music Director Ludovic Morlot’s tenure. In the years since, that challenge has been directed not just to their audience but to the organisation itself. Listening boldly means acknowledging the need to reimagine its own identity and taking steps to reposition the SSO within an increasingly compartmentalised cultural landscape.

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Filed under: awards, Gramophone, Seattle Symphony

2018 Gramophone Award Winners

Gramophone has announced the ten recordings that are the winners of the magazine’s classical music awards for 2018:
CHAMBER
Dvořák: Piano Quintets
Boris Giltburg pf Pavel Nikl va Pavel Haas Quartet (Supraphon)
CHORAL
Pärt: Magnificat. Nunc dimittis Schnittke Psalms of Repentance
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir / Kaspars Putniņš (BIS)
CONCERTO
Bartók: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
Christian Tetzlaff violin Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Hannu Lintu (Ondine)
CONTEMPORARY
Dusapin: String Quartets Nos. 6 and 7
Arditti Quartet; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France / Pascal Rophé (Aeon)
EARLY MUSIC
Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, Vol 5
Blue Heron / Scott Metcalfe (Blue Heron)
INSTRUMENTAL
Brahms: Piano Pieces, Opp. 76, 117, and 118
Arcadi Volodos (Sony Classical)
OPERA
Berlioz: Les Troyens
Soloists include DiDonato, Spyres, Lemieux; Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra / John Nelson (Erato)
ORCHESTRAL
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé
Ensemble Aedes; Les Siècles / François-Xavier Roth (Harmonia Mundi)
RECITAL
Agitata
Delphine Galou mezzo-soprano Accademia Bizantina / Ottavio Dantone harpsichord (Alpha Classics)
SOLO VOCAL
Secrets
Marianne Crebassa mezzo-soprano Fazıl Say piano (Erato)

Stay tuned for the announcement of Recording of the Year on 13 September at the London awards ceremony, which will be livestreamed on medici.tv. Also to be named at that time: Orchestra of the Year, Artist of the Year, Young Artist of the Year, Label of the Year, and the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Filed under: Gramophone, music news

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