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Peter Ablinger: Der Regen, das Glas, das Lachen

Peter Ablinger: Der Regen, das Glas, das Lachen


Ablinger:

Der Regen, das Glas, das Lachen, for 25 instruments

Ohne Titel, for 14 instruments

Quadraturen IV - self-portrait with Berlin


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Kairos - KAI0012192

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Abrahamsen: Let me tell you

Abrahamsen: Let me tell you


Read Katherine's exclusive interview with Hans Abrahamsen about the project here.

Premiered by soprano Barbara Hannigan [with the Berlin Philharmonic] and conductor Andris Nelsons in 2013. 'Let me tell you', winner of the 2016 Gawemeyer Award, is a setting of a libretto by Paul Griffiths. The work is based on Griffiths’ 2008 novel of the same name, using the limited vocabulary which Shakespeare afforded Ophelia to create a more complex idea of the character. Comprising seven poems, the work is divided into three parts devoted to Ophelia’s past, present and future.

Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen was smitten by the idea of scoring Paul Griffiths’ novella 'let me tell you'; Barbara Hannigan, asked to sing at a surprise party for the writer and critic, dared to suggest a commission to the Berlin Philharmonic. Before she knew it, they had accepted. While many world premieres fall into oblivion, she has ensured subsequent performances with the Gothenburg Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the City of Birmingham Symphony this season; other orchestras have plans to programme the work further down the line. The soprano, who has sung some 80 premieres, feels such a strong sense of responsibility that she compares the piece to a baby: "Don’t drop it," she wants to say, "keep it clothed and nourished." This is the second time that a musical setting of a text by Paul Griffiths has won the Grawemeyer (Tan Dun's Marco Polo won in 1998). The piece also won the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society award for large-scale composition, which described it as "a work of exquisite beauty whose ravishing surface belies a meticulously imagined and innovative score". Abrahamsen’s other accolades include the Carl Nielsen Prize (1989) and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize (1998).

Hannigan has revealed just how involved she was at the early stages of the composition process: this being the composer’s first sung work, she [Hannigan] gave him a four-hour session in vocal music from Renaissance to 12-tone. "I think that’s why the writing doesn’t feel like modern music to me," she says. "I feel like it has always been there. Even though the intervals and rhythms might be difficult, the lyricism has a timeless quality."

“Abrahamsen expresses both the fragility and force of Griffiths's imagined Ophelia through glinting, gauze-like textures and moments of clattering tumult…Barbara Hannigan's agile, luminous voice is ideal, and sings with power and subtlety, superbly matched by Andris Nelsons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 *****

“The spare yet pregnant lines of text meet Abrahamsen’s finely spun textures and each word feels felt and weighed in music. Possibly you don’t even need to know that Barbara Hannigan is singing Ophelia’s words any more, yet her vehemence and passion suggest she thinks justice is finally being done to a woman who never did get much chance to tell her side of the story” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“Abrahamsen’s ethereal magic brilliantly treats Paul Griffith’s patchwork of lines from Shakespeare’s Ophelia, and there can be no better advocate for any composer than Ms. Hannigan. Mr. Nelsons’s conducting is smooth, the Bavarians’ playing revealing and true.” New York Times, 15th December 2016

“It was created for soprano Barbara Hannigan and is a stunning vehicle for her, with its floating, effortless-sounding high notes and pure, expressive tone. Her Ophelia is intense and fragile, sensuous and febrile; her phrasing is elastic and tasteful...The piece won this year’s $100,000 Grawemeyer award and it’s easy to hear why.” The Guardian, 14th January 2016 *****

“the piece, a winner of a Grawemeyer and an RPS award, contains a whole ocean of melancholy and ferocity. This is realised by the extraordinary soprano Barbara Hannigan and by Abrahamsen’s wondrous score, which embraces Romantic echoes and fascinating microtonal clusters … What emerges is a postmodern portrait of a woman with much more of an inner life than even the Bard may have realised.” The Times, 5th February 2016 *****

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2016

Winner - Contemporary

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2016

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Winter and Winter - 9102322

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Hans Abrahamsen: Let me tell you - Vinyl Edition

Hans Abrahamsen: Let me tell you - Vinyl Edition


Abrahamsen:

Let me tell you


Read Katherine's exclusive interview with Hans Abrahamsen about the project here.

Premiered by soprano Barbara Hannigan [with the Berlin Philharmonic] and conductor Andris Nelsons in 2013. 'Let me tell you', winner of the 2016 Gawemeyer Award, is a setting of a libretto by Paul Griffiths. The work is based on Griffiths’ 2008 novel of the same name, using the limited vocabulary which Shakespeare afforded Ophelia to create a more complex idea of the character. Comprising seven poems, the work is divided into three parts devoted to Ophelia’s past, present and future.

Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen was smitten by the idea of scoring Paul Griffiths’ novella 'let me tell you'; Barbara Hannigan, asked to sing at a surprise party for the writer and critic, dared to suggest a commission to the Berlin Philharmonic. Before she knew it, they had accepted. While many world premieres fall into oblivion, she has ensured subsequent performances with the Gothenburg Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the City of Birmingham Symphony this season; other orchestras have plans to programme the work further down the line. The soprano, who has sung some 80 premieres, feels such a strong sense of responsibility that she compares the piece to a baby: "Don’t drop it," she wants to say, "keep it clothed and nourished." This is the second time that a musical setting of a text by Paul Griffiths has won the Grawemeyer (Tan Dun's Marco Polo won in 1998). The piece also won the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society award for large-scale composition, which described it as "a work of exquisite beauty whose ravishing surface belies a meticulously imagined and innovative score". Abrahamsen’s other accolades include the Carl Nielsen Prize (1989) and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize (1998).

Hannigan has revealed just how involved she was at the early stages of the composition process: this being the composer’s first sung work, she [Hannigan] gave him a four-hour session in vocal music from Renaissance to 12-tone. "I think that’s why the writing doesn’t feel like modern music to me," she says. "I feel like it has always been there. Even though the intervals and rhythms might be difficult, the lyricism has a timeless quality."

“It was created for soprano Barbara Hannigan and is a stunning vehicle for her, with its floating, effortless-sounding high notes and pure, expressive tone. Her Ophelia is intense and fragile, sensuous and febrile; her phrasing is elastic and tasteful...The piece won this year’s $100,000 Grawemeyer award and it’s easy to hear why.” The Guardian, 14th January 2016 *****

“It was created for soprano Barbara Hannigan and is a stunning vehicle for her, with its floating, effortless-sounding high notes and pure, expressive tone. Her Ophelia is intense and fragile, sensuous and febrile; her phrasing is elastic and tasteful...The piece won this year’s $100,000 Grawemeyer award and it’s easy to hear why.” The Guardian, 14th January 2016 *****

“the piece, a winner of a Grawemeyer and an RPS award, contains a whole ocean of melancholy and ferocity. This is realised by the extraordinary soprano Barbara Hannigan and by Abrahamsen’s wondrous score, which embraces Romantic echoes and fascinating microtonal clusters … What emerges is a postmodern portrait of a woman with much more of an inner life than even the Bard may have realised.” The Times, 5th February 2016 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2016

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Winter and Winter - LP9172321

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Hans Abrahamsen: Zählen und Erzählen

Hans Abrahamsen: Zählen und Erzählen


Abrahamsen:

Pieces for Orchestra (4)

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

Tamara Stefanovich (piano)

Studies (10)


WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Jonathan Stockhammer

Hans Abrahamsen’s musical language – full of echoes and memories – fascinates and captivates the listener. His music is celebrated on the big concert stages of the world. The Berlin Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Symphonieorchester of Bavarian Radio, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conductors like Andris Nelsons and Kent Nagano perform compositions by him in their programmes. With 'Schnee' in 2009 the collaboration with Winter&Winter started, 'Walden/Wald' followed. The long-awaited third album 'Zählen und Erzählen' (Counting and Recounting) is now to be released.

Hans Abrahamsen’s music opens up to the listener in a completely approachable style. His compositional skills and orchestration are exceptional and exquisite and they are able (as the Frankfurter Allgemeine points out) to grip, even move a larger audience.

Three pieces can be heard on 'Zählen und Erzählen', which form a unit: 4 Pieces for Orchestra, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra and 10 Studies. The piano concerto, the album’s centerpiece (Tamara Stefanovich, piano, with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under Jonathan Stockhammer), Abrahamsen writes few years ago after a long creative break. The musical source of the piano concerto as well as of the 4 Pieces are the 10 Studies for Piano from the years 1983/1998. Abrahamsen dedicates this programme to his most important instrument, the piano, thus expressing his constant commitment to the German Romantic repertoire. Hans Abrahamsen creates music, which speaks from the depths of the soul.

“The whole disc coheres...in an unusual and genuinely surprising way.” The Guardian, 18th March 2015 ****

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Winter and Winter - 9102162

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Adams & Harris Violin Concertos

Adams & Harris Violin Concertos


Adams, J:

Violin Concerto

Harris, Roy:

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra


Violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen continues her series of concerto recordings on Signum with two contrasting works by American composers.

Already considered by many to be a modern classic, John Adams 1993 Violin Concerto was described by the composer as having a ‘hypermelody’, in which the soloist plays longs phrases without stop for the duration of the 35 minute piece. Although composed in 1949, the first performance of Roy Harris’s Violin Concerto didn’t occur until 1984. Since then it has been championed for its “luminous orchestration and exalted tone”.

For this recording Tamsin Waley-Cohen is joined by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under American conductor Andrew Litton.

“Roy Harris may be the most all-American composer you have never heard of...Waley-Cohen handles [the Adams's] gruelling solo part with athleticism and conviction, and both pieces benefit from the punchy playing of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and insightful conducting of Andrew Litton.” The Guardian, 29th September 2016 ***

“It’s a very welcome work, with much to like, to be thrilled and moved by, and is given here with commitment and colour by all concerned.” classicalsource.com

“Tamsin Waley-Cohen brings the lyrical sweetness and breadth of tone Harris needs, while the sweeping vistas and exuberant rhythms are supplied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton.” Record Review

“There is some tremendous playing from Waley-Cohen … with impressive accuracy from both soloist and orchestra, a real rapport … This is a fabulous performance of a very fine concerto. These two concertos sit remarkably well together. The recording is excellent as are the booklet notes.” The Classical Reviewer

“Her interpretation [of the Adams] is technically beyond reproach and musically imaginative. What makes this recording indispensible is the coupling...Harris’s Concerto is a major (re-)discovery, and Waley-Cohen outclasses Fulkerson’s pioneering version in every respect. Andrew Litton and the BBC Symphony provide superb, supple support.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“Waley-Cohen brings magnetic performances and an enthusiast’s passion to this splendid disc…his Violin Concerto duly bubbles with folk melodies, modal harmonies and open-hearted expression, and Waley-Cohen and the BBC Symphony Orchestra bring tremendous warmth and verve to their performance…[her] laser-bright tone and effortless agility drives this outstanding account” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

“very welcome new recordings full of verve and vigour … Waley Cohen plays vigorously throughout … an essential listen.” Classical Music, December 2016

GGramophone Awards 2017

Shortlisted - Concerto

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2016

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Signum - SIGCD468

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John Adams: Harmonielehre

John Adams: Harmonielehre


Adams, J:

Harmonielehre

Doctor Atomic Symphony

Short Ride in a Fast Machine


In this new release Peter Oundjian and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra tackle two seminal works by the American composer John Adams. Harmonielehre, a symphony in all but name, is an expansive, richly expressive, and often breathtaking work. It takes its title from a 1911 text by Arnold Schoenberg on harmonic theory and evokes the lush soundworld of that composer’s early tonal period. Also heard throughout the score are echoes of Mahler, Wagner, Strauss, Sibelius, Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky. The piece also takes inspiration from some of Adams’s own strange and surreal dreams. The Doctor Atomic Symphony, based on Adams’s controversial opera Doctor Atomic, focuses on the character of the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer as preparations are made for the first test of the atomic bomb.

Although played without a break, the symphony falls into three distinct sections: ‘The Laboratory’, ‘Panic’, and ‘Trinity’. The symphony’s concluding section takes its title from the name given to the bomb test site by Oppenheimer himself, with reference to a deeply spiritual John Donne sonnet. This poem is set to music at the end of Act I of the opera and here in the symphony the aria’s intense vocal line is performed by solo trumpet. Also featured on the disc is John Adams’s energetic fanfare Short Ride in a Fast Machine.

“The music is played with huge élan by the RSNO...The results are highly charged and exciting performances of three works that place Adams at the very forefront of American contemporary classical music and deservedly so.” MusicWeb International, 18th December 2013

“the RSNO under Peter Oundjian manage very effectively to project this single sweep of sound from beginning to end. Brass and percussion stand out for all the right reasons...but it's really a sense of collective unity imparted by the orchestra during the loud sections that is most impressive.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Chandos - CHSA5129

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John Adams - Shaker Loops

John Adams - Shaker Loops


Adams, J:

Shaker Loops

Short Ride in a Fast Machine

The Wound-Dresser

Nathan Gunn (baritone)

Berceuse élégiaque


“Marin Alsop and her Bournemouth players do themselves proud on this excellently played and brightly recorded disc.” Classics Today

“A near-perfect Adams Primer containing his tender and powerful meditation, to words by Walt Whitman, on the subject of those lost to AIDS.
Touchingly performed by Nathan Gunn.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2004

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Naxos American Classics - 8559031

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Rock Concerto - Road Movies - Symphony No. 3

Rock Concerto - Road Movies - Symphony No. 3


Adams, J:

Road Movies for violin & piano

Robert McDuffie (violin), Mike Mills (piano/bass/guitar)

Glass, P:

Symphony No. 3

Mills, M:

Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra

Robert McDuffie (violin), John Neff (guitar), William Tonks (guitar), Patrick Ferguson (drums/percussion)


MCS Ensemble, Ward Stare

This was composer Mike Mills approach to composing his first work for the concert hall after a long career as a member of the successful rock band REM. His 2016 Concerto for Violin, Rock Band, and String Orchestra recorded here in its world premiere recording on Orange Mountain Music features virtuoso Robert McDuffie, an All-Star Ensemble of rock musicians including John Neff, Williams Tonks, Patrick Ferguson, masterful string arrangements by David Mallamud, and the MCS Ensemble - an elite group of string players from the McDuffie Center for Strings. The concerto is the product of a long-time friendship between violinist Robert McDuffie and his friend Mills also from Georgia. The piece is cast in six movements and oscillates between fantastic ensemble playing to the sweeping melodies which are the hallmarks of the best of Mills writing as he did when with R.E.M. The result is a true collaboration of gifted musical piers. The recording is rounded out by a fresh new interpretation of American composer John Adams “Road Movies” for violin and piano with McDuffie teaming up with pianist Elizabeth Pridgen. The program is completed by a new recording of Philip Glass’s Symphony No.3 for strings featuring the MCS Ensemble under conductor Ward Stare (music director of the Rochester Philiharmonic and Lyric Opera of Chicago regular). Produced by Michael Riesman, this recording showcases three American composers, a Minimalist, a post-Minimalist, and a rock star.

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Adams, J L: Become Ocean

Adams, J L: Become Ocean


Awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music and described by the New Yorker’s Alex Ross as “...the loveliest apocalypse in musical history”, John Luther Adams’ majestic orchestral work Become Ocean is a thrilling exploration of depth, turbulence, eerie silence and ultimately enveloping calm.

Performed by the Seattle Symphony under the baton of Ludovic Morlot, the music casts an expressive arc that’s by turns intimate and expansive - an ebbing and flowing sonic journey that finds the composer testing the very limits of his imagination.

“The title is stolen from John Cage”, Adams reveals, “from a little mesostic poem that he wrote in honor of Lou Harrison. He compares Lou’s music to a river in delta, with all these different influences and currents, coming together in a big beautiful sweep of music. And in the last line of the poem, Cage writes, ‘Listening to it, we become ocean.’ I’ve always been struck by what a beautiful image that is.”

Become Ocean premiered in Seattle in June 2013, and made its Carnegie Hall debut on May 6, 2014. In recent years, Adams has moved to fold natural processes into his approach to composing - the 'earth' element came through in particular with Cantaloupe Music’s release in 2013 of his open-air percussion piece Inuksuit.

Now with the 'water' element represented in Become Ocean (and with 'wind' being an integral force in his latest piece Sila), Adams continues to accentuate what he sees as the vital importance, especially in this modern age of irony and isolation, of connecting to something larger than ourselves.

Mixed and mastered for stereo and 5.1 surround sound, Become Ocean is a truly immersive experience that is meant to be felt at an emotional level. “What I want for you as a listener”, Adams explains, “is to be right in the middle of the orchestra. Become Ocean lends itself very well to putting you in the middle of this ocean of sound, with these three sections of the orchestra ebbing and flowing, rising and falling, crashing over and swirling around each other. It rumbles the floor and tickles your backbone, and at the same time, you feel the depth of the waves and the spray of the sea. That’s what I’m reaching for.”

“This is not an ersatz programmatic music...Adams's 'sonic geography' is a by-product of what can only be described as a keenly felt musical osmosis. If ever an orchestra sounded like an immense sonic object, slowly floating across a vast area, then this must be it.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“a wondrous and tumultuous single-movement work for large orchestra that affirms music's capacity to shift our very state of being...The work combines great formal simplicity...with an almost unfathomable complexity of timbre and, at times, tonal construction. The Seattle Symphony...give an outstanding account.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - January 2015

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Cantaloupe - CA21101

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Adams, J L: Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing

Adams, J L: Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing


Apollo Chamber Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta

"We must be still and still moving

Into another intensity

For a further union, a deeper communion

Through the dark cold and the empty desolation..."

—T. S. Eliot

Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing is a work of musical contemplation, an attempt to consecrate a small time and space for extraordinary listening. The work is titled after The Cloud of Unknowing, a fourteenth-century mystical Christian text, which has much in common with the teachings of contemplative traditions throughout the world. The essence of the contemplative experience is voluntary surrender, purposeful immersion in the fullness of a presence far larger than ourselves. To find communion, we must lose perspective. What, after all, is perspective but a way of removing ourselves from experience?

In Western music, melody and harmony are equivalents of figure and ground. Together, they constitute a kind of musical perspective, which evolved parallel to that of Renaissance painting. In the musical textures of Clouds, I hoped to lose perspective. Surrendering the idea of self-expression, I placed my faith in the instruments themselves, and in a few elementally simple sonorities and gestures. My aspiration here was not so much to compose a piece of music, as it was to evoke a wholeness of music, a sounding presence somehow equivalent to that of a vast landscape. Still, perhaps unavoidably for me, this music has a certain starkness, reminiscent of the light, atmosphere, and land forms of the Arctic.

—John Luther Adams

Clouds is a chromatic exploration of the tempered scale-a sort of Well-Tempered Clavier for seventeen-piece chamber orchestra. It is, in the main, quiet, reflective, contemplative music of a fierce beauty and spiritual depth that calls to mind Morton Feldman.

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New World - NW80500

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