The New Sound of Music
In today's Washington Post: Classical Musicians Rethink Venues, Sounds by Anne Midgette. How a new generation of classical musicians is infusing the field with the energy of "alt-classical."
An eclectic selection of some recent CDs representing different facets of the "alt-classical" sound, focusing on performers mentioned in the above story, and trying not to overlap too much with our last, similar CD roundup in 2008:
Alarm Will Sound: a/rhythmia (Nonesuch). For their first major-label recording, this powerhouse chamber ensemble has created a kind of dance album with arrangements of music -- by Ligeti and Nancarrow, Gordon and Josquin, and many others -- that has as its common thread a strong rhythmic profile. Highly recommended.
Christopher O’Riley: Out of My Hands (Mesa Bluemoon). After CDs focused mainly on Radiohead, Elliott Smith, and Nick Drake, O’Riley here offers his brand of classical-piano cover treatment to songs by Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Tori Amos, and others.
(read more after the jump)
Time for Three: 3 Fervent Travelers (E1). Though the release date was moved back to January, a teaser track was made available on iTunes as of yesterday: a cover of “Hide and Seek” by singer-songwriter Imogen Heap. The complete album includes a lot of the original music, as well as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and, of course, the “Orange Blossom Special.”
Heritage Orchestra/DJ Yoda: Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra (Nonclassical Recordings). Sergei Prokofiev’s grandson is a prominent figure on London’s alt-classical scene, and the founder of this label dedicated to alternative music. His classical-meets-hip-hop concerto (sounding not quite like either) is composed in conventional movements with unconventional sounds: the soloist, a DJ, spins specially-made recordings of the orchestra.
And two of several indie labels (mentioned before on this blog) that play a role in this scene:
Cantaloupe Records: Bang on a Can’s recording label offers a de facto definition of the alt-classical concept: Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Recent releases include John the Revelator, composer Phil Kline's powerful response to the texts of the Catholic Mass; and Untitled, the latest from composer David Lang.
New Amsterdam Records: This start-up label is showcasing the younger generation of alt-classical artists and composers, including the violist Nadia Sirota and the NOW Ensemble (coming next week to Washington and Baltimore).
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