Thursday, December 11, 2014

Menil Repurposes Sacred Space For Contemporary Art

ByzantineChapelMuseumWhen the Byzantine Fresco Chapel at the Menil Collection in Houston opened in 1997, it displayed a group of 13th-century Greek Orthodox frescoes. But after restoration of the works, which the Menil had rescued from looters for the Church of Cyprus, the museum returned the frescoes to Cyprus as a donation when the agreed loan expired in 2012.
So what to do with that chapel (at right), which has now been deconsecrated? The Menil has commissioned a year-long installation from the team of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Cardiff’s Forty Part Motet has been a hit wherever it is installed, but especially when in 2013 it was place in the Cloisters’s 12th-century Spanish chapel, as the first work of contemporary art ever to be shown at the Met’s medieval art branch. More

Friday, December 5, 2014

Grammys 2015: List of Classical Nominees

In-house orchestra labels had a particularly strong showing in the nominations for the 57th Grammy Awards, which were announced on Friday afternoon.
Dominating the orchestral categories are Seattle Symphony Media (three nominations), the Atlanta Symphony's ASO Media (two different albums, each receiving one nod), and Berlin Philharmonic Recordings (one nod). Seattle scored two further nominations with its recording of John Luther Adams's Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean, released on the Cantaloupe label. More

Classical Recordings Distributor Goes Belly Up

Classical Recordings Distributor Goes Belly Up
Another classical recording distributor has collapsed. This time it is Netherlands-based T2 Entertainment group, whose labels included Brilliant Classics, Alia Vox, Col Legno, Membran, Preiser, ARC, and Newton Classics, a reissue label of about 230 titles, most of them from the archives of Decca, Philips, and EMI.

Its demise follows that of Qualiton in the U.S., Harmonia Mundi Iberica in Spain, Codaex in Benelux and--just a few months ago--Fuse Group of Australia.

Theo Lap, founder of Newton Classics, in receivership when T2 took it over, has been hired by Brilliant, one of T2's backers, to set up an independent distribution network. Lap reports that he already has agreements with "quite a few important labels."

Much of the distribution business had moved from business-to-business to business-to-consumer, he said. subscribers read the full story  

Wolfgang Rihm wins 2015 Grawemeyer Award

Wolfgang Rihm Wins 2015 Grawemeyer Award
German composer Wolfgang Rihm, 62, has won the 2015 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his In-Schrift 2,commissioned last year by the Berlin Philharmonic to honor the 50thanniversary of the Philharmonie.

Rihm's prize is the first of the five Grawemeyer Awards, $100,000 each; the others go to ideas improving world order, psychology, education, and religion.

"The work evokes dark colors and uses mostly low instruments--no flutes, violins, or violas, for example," Award Director Marc Satterwhite said. "It begins and ends in quiet and mystery, taking many interesting paths along the way."

Described as an exploration of spatial boundaries, the 15-minute piece uses six clarinetists and three percussionists. At its 2013 premiere, they were stationed in various spots around the room.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New in our ref collection: The Bizet Catalogue / by Hugh Macdonald

Welcome to the Bizet Catalogue. This is primarily a list of Bizet's works, providing essential information about the history and content of each one. It gives information on manuscript and printed sources, on documentary materials relating to the composition, performance and publication of each work, and is intended to provide a full historical documentation of Bizet's work as composer and transcriber.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

U DIG IT?: Zach Resnick digitizes Mel Lewis's 1982 recording Live in Montreux

The James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection presents

the neUmann DIGITization project
In fall 2013, we gave interested students the chance to choose an LP to digitize from the ca. 50,000 jazz-related recordings currently in the Neumann Jazz Collection and then to answer a few brief questions about their experience. Their contributions can be found here.  Today we're returning to the project to feature a Mel Lewis recording of Herbie Hancock compositions, many of which will be included on the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble's upcoming December 6 concert. Today's post is by Zach Resnick (OC '16).

Why in general did you want to take part in this project?
I wanted to digitize this record because there wouldn't have been any way for me to hear this music without digitizing the record myself; there is currently no place to buy this record or download any of the audio files. I very much appreciate that something like the Neumann Collection exists so it's possible for a student of jazz at Oberlin to have access to almost any obscure jazz record that is of interest to them.

Why did you choose this particular record?

I chose this record because the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble just received new music, and we're playing four of the five songs on the record. When I play/learn music of any kind that's not original, it's very helpful to have a recording to reference.

How was this experience different from simply locating an existing digital version of the LP on YouTube or Spotify?

Digitizing the record forced me to listen actively and have my focus for the time I was listening to music be solely on the music. As much as I try to do this when listening to music normally, it's somewhat regular that my mind might wander, I'll choose to change the track, or even stop listening completely.

What stood out to you musically as you listened to the recording?
The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra is one my favorite big bands of all time. I haven't heard a bad record of theirs, only ones I think are good and ones I think are great. This recording is special because it featured the music of Herbie Hancock arranged by Bob Mintzer. These are two of my favorite artists who have never been featured by The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra before. The result is fantastic, with the songs on this record being now some of my favorite tracks ever recorded by this band. On top of great songs and great arrangements with outstanding ensemble playing, the solos are out of this world with some of the hottest performers of The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra at their career's best. Make sure to watch out for Dick Oatts's solo on "Dolphin Dance," as well as Rich Perry on "Wiggle Waggle."

Can other students listen to the LP now that it's been digitized?

 Yes, just click here and, when prompted, enter your ObieID and password.  If you’re off campus, you’ll need to authenticate using Oberlin’s VPN.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dejan Lazic, Pianist Who Demanded Removal of Review, Confronts Critic

In 2010, the Croatian pianist Dejan Lazic played a recital in Washington, D.C., and got a mildly critical review. Somehow that stuck: It's the second item that comes up when you Google Lazic's name, after his own website. Now he wants it permanently removed from the search engine in Europe, citing the European Union's new "right to be forgotten" ruling as legal justification.
The review, titled "Sparks But No Flame," is by Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette. It describes Lazic's performance as technically well-played but a little superficial. In this WQXR exclusive, the two parties involved – Anne Midgette and Dejan Lazic – join host Naomi Lewin to make their cases. More