The late Patric Standford may have written these short pieces deliberately to provoke our feedback. If so, his success is reflected in the rich range of readers' comments appearing at the foot of most of the pages.
DISCUSSION: Defining Our Field - what is 'classical music' to us, why are we involved and what can we learn from our differences? Read John Dante Prevedini's essay, watch the panel discussion and make your own comments.
Classical Music Daily publishes a high resolution PDF monthly newletter, normally on the first day of each month. A Quiet Logic, our September 2020 newsletter, has just been published. It has nine pages and four illustrations. This 1.2Mb download can be accessed by following the link below.
The short news items below have all been included in the newsletter, so you may prefer to read them there.
Due to the virus pandemic, music festivals scheduled over the last few months have had some difficult decisions to make. Those decisions have recently become a little more complex, with a third option of providing modified, socially distanced outdoor and indoor performances, but for many months it was simply a matter of postponing until 2021 or going online. In Scotland, Edinburgh International Festival's digital programme My Light Shines On, filmed primarily in empty venues throughout Edinburgh, attracted a global audience with 1,013,000 video views following its premiere on what would have been the opening weekend of the Festival. From Saturday 8 to Monday 10 August 2020, the International Festival also lit up the sky above the capital with over 750 beacons of light from thirteen venues, illuminating dark performance spaces across the Festival City. In order to create the spectacular display both on and offline, the International Festival engaged over five hundred artists and arts workers during August. Further information: eif.co.uk
The Three Choirs Festival - the world's longest-running non-competitive classical music festival, decided to postpone its Worcester 2020 festival until 24-31 July 2021, whereas nearby Presteigne Festival in Welsh border country decided to go online with Presteigne Digital, available free-of-charge with a requested donation until 31 December 2020. Its eleven videos feature seven new works - almost all of the new commissions which were to receive their first performances at the festival. There are also three literary events filmed in the Presteigne area. The festival has been able to repurpose most of its funding, allowing a string orchestra recording and a 'Presteigne Winter Festival Weekend', 27-29 November 2020, by when, no doubt, the COVID-19 guidance will have shifted yet again. Further information: presteignefestival.com
September highlights from Naxos of America: new releases from BIS include Tchaikovsky Gold Medal and Grand Prix-winner pianist Alexandre Kantorow in recital and the latest installment of their ongoing series of recordings devoted to music by Finnish composer Kalevi Aho; there are Kodály and Ligeti sonatas with cellist Gabriel Schwabe on Naxos; the latest from violinist PatKop and Il Giardino Armonico on ALPHA; and Mozart violin concertos with Latvian violinist Baiba Skride on Orfeo. From the historic vault: Hans Rosbaud conducts Mahler (SWR). Finally there's HĪBER, a digital-only release on Dacapo from Icelandic composer/bassist Bára Gísladóttir. Further information: naxosusa.com
The George Enescu International Competition in Bucharest began on 29 August with a gala concert held in an empty Romanian Athenaeum with an online audience, followed by the first round of its cello section, with fifty-four mini online recitals from cellists all over the world. The competition has violin, cello, piano and composition sections and continues until 20 September 2020. Further information: festivalenescu.ro
Harold Rosenbaum, conductor and artistic director of New York Virtuoso Singers and Canticum Novum Singers, has announced dates for their Fall 2020 concert season online events. Regardless of whether the choirs can perform live this coming season because of the pandemic, Rosenbaum will offer thirty virtual sessions/workshops/webinars via Zoom, with an emphasis on helping singers, conductors and composers. Singers from NYVS will assist Rosenbaum in presenting several of these Tuesday evening events, which run from 15 September until 15 December 2020. All the sessions are free of charge, but donations will be accepted. Further information: nyvirtuoso.org and canticumnovum.org
On Friday 23 October 2020, cellist Diana Golden will release Tanbou Kache, an album that celebrates Haiti's rich and fascinating art music traditions, on New Focus Recordings. Tanbou Kache (Hidden Drum) outlines the stylistic and chronological trajectory of key composers within this tradition from the twentieth century to the present, painting an ever-changing, historical picture of the leading composers of the Haitian national school of classical composition. Recorded with pianist Shawn Chang, the album highlights Haitian cello and piano music by Jean 'Rudy' Perrault, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Julio Racine, Carmen Brouard, Frantz Casséus, Werner Jaegerhuber and Justin Élie. The album cover artwork was painted by Haitian-American artist Gina Samson and the liner notes were written by Claude Dauphin, a leading scholar of Haitian music. Further information: goldencello.com
Four hundred years since the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, four composers from nonclassical, the London-based music promoter, record label and events producer founded by composer Gabriel Prokofiev, will present a multimedia piece that takes journeys, migration and cultural identities as its themes. The project, which has been commissioned by the City of London Corporation for its Our City Together programme, will stretch across sixty-six days – the duration of the Mayflower’s journey to North America. Each of the four composers from nonclassical will collaborate with another artist - Lola de la Mata with Britta Thie; Blasio Kavuma with Jess Nash; Dan Samsa with Alison D'Souza and Yfat Soul Zisso with Sasha Balmazi-Owen. The works will be premiered online on 16 September 2020 at 6pm BST (5pm UCT/GMT), marking the day the Mayflower set sail, carrying her passengers - often referred to as the 'Pilgrim Fathers' - who were escaping religious persecution under James I's reign. Further information: nonclassical.co.uk
Next month, the Bard Music Festival (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, USA) joins forces with The Orchestra Now (TŌN) and the Bard College Conservatory to present Out of the Silence: A Celebration of Music, a series of four free live-streamed concerts for string orchestra, piano and percussion, 5-26 September 2020, coming to UPSTREAMING, the Fisher Center's virtual stage. All programs are free, but reservations are requested. Pairing works by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Bartók - all past subjects of the Bard Music Festival - with music by ten prominent Black composers - ranging from Classical pioneer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges to contemporary Americans Alvin Singleton, Adolphus Hailstork and Jessie Montgomery, the series celebrates Bard's commitment to neglected rarities and the unquenchable joy of music-making. All four programs will be performed without an audience and with appropriate safety measures on Bard College's idyllic Hudson Valley campus by its unique graduate training orchestra, TŌN, under the leadership of Music Director Leon Botstein and other members of the TŌN artistic team. Hailed as 'a highlight of the musical year' (Wall Street Journal), the Bard Music Festival is the inspiration for Bard's annual seven-week SummerScape festival, whose devoted fans will no doubt enjoy the chance to experience virtually some of the adventurous Bard music-making they have been missing. Further information: fishercenter.bard.edu/bmf
On 21 August 2020 the Grossman Ensemble at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition (CCCC) released its debut album, Fountain of Time on its own imprint, CCCC Records. The recently formed Grossman Ensemble, founded by composer and director Augusta Read Thomas, is a 'supergroup' of thirteen Chicago-based contemporary music specialists, exclusively performing new works from leading and emerging composers at the CCCC. The ensemble engages in a unique workshopping process focusing on interaction between composers, musicians and conductors. To date, CCCC has commissioned thirty-six composers for the Grossman Ensemble and Fountain of Time features five premiere performances from the ensemble's first two seasons, including Shulamit Ran's Grand Rounds, Anthony Cheung's Double Allegories, David Dzubay's PHO, Tonia Ko's Simple Fuel and David Clay Mettens' stain, bloom, moon, rain. The album was recorded and engineered by multiple GRAMMY-winning engineer, Christopher Willis. Further information: cccc.uchicago.edu
Music and poetry unite and collide across centuries, from the Medieval to the Enlightenment to the present day. This year, the Oxford Lieder Festival (10-17 October 2020) will present Connections Across Time - a brief history of song, a thrilling and innovative programme comprising more than forty events streamed over eight days. At the heart of the festival will be a series of live-streamed concerts by international artists. Artist in Residence Ian Bostridge gives two concerts, a talk and a masterclass over the course of the Festival, and Carolyn Sampson returns to perform a new song cycle by Oxford Lieder's Associate Composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad on Tuesday 13 October. Other international artists include Sarah Connolly (10 October), Lucy Crowe (12 October), James Gilchrist (13 October) premiering a work by Michael Zev Gordon, Professor of Composition at the University of Birmingham, Roderick Williams (16 October) and Christoph Prégardien (17 October). Chamber music includes the contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment (13 October) giving the first performance of a work by Philip Venables. Each evening recital will begin with a short group of Schubert songs performed by singers who have arguably been hardest hit by the current crisis - artists who are already forging careers but not yet at a stage where they can view the current crisis as only a temporary setback. Further information: oxfordlieder.co.uk
Posted 31 August 2020 by Keith Bramich