MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

James Ehnes Named Gramophone’s Artist of the Year

Heartiest congratulations to an artist I have admired for many years. James Ehnes was named Artist of the Year at Gramophone’s recent annual awards ceremony. Charlotte Gardner writes eloquently of the violinist’s extraordinary recent accomplishments in a complete Beethoven sonata set as well as his pandemic project recording the Bach and Ysaÿe solo violin works: “Ehnes’s warm, golden sound is as much a constantly changing story of articulation and timbre as ever, but sounding even more emotionally up close and personal than ever before…”

It’s deeply gratifying to see such a deserving artist receive this distinction. Here’s the playlist Gramophone has put together in conjunction with this award:

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/james-ehnes-artist-of-the-year-2021/pl.00129400a37847b9b3d5914a4f0c141e

Filed under: Gramophone, James Ehnes

Paul Lansky’s Angles

I review Paul Lansky’s latest release in the August issue of Gramophone:

After more than three decades as a computer music pioneer, Paul Lansky made a dramatic change of tack and began composing exclusively for acoustic instruments. This release is Vol 17 in the extensive series from the Bridge label …

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Filed under: CD review, Gramophone

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

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