March 6, 2014
Don’t let anyone tell you that classical crossover is lacking in any sort of artistic merit. At its best, this unfairly victimized genre of music can be just as moving and expressive as the traditional classical music you hear in the concert hall.
Classical crossover has gotten a sour reputation from a few bad apples who tried just a little too hard to be cool. Crossover’s reputation is so bad that many crossover artists despise the label, despite fitting perfectly into the definition of combining classical with other genres.
CBC Music has your guide to classical crossover that doesn’t suck. Hit play on the YouTube playlist below to hear the best of the unfairly maligned genre, then click “open gallery” above to start the guide.
Read and watch at: CBC Music
By: Michael Morreale
February 28, 2014
Like the selections he plays, cellist Matt Haimovitz likes to sometimes veer off the traditional path.
For example, around the turn of the century, Haimovitz embarked on his Bach Listening Room Tour, which saw him eschew concert halls and the like in favour of playing in jazz clubs and rock venues across the continent.
“I wanted to reach out to an audience that wasn’t coming to the concert hall,” Haimovitz said Wednesday over the phone from Tucson, Ariz., where he had been performing the night before. “I wanted to play music that was really important to me that wasn’t being presented in a concert hall.”
While the tour made sense to Haimovitz — he first thought of redefining what it meant to be a classical musician when he was doing his undergrad at Harvard University and noticed that no one his age was in the audience — it didn’t to others. Continue reading
January 8, 2014
Pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz will be appearing in concerts sponsored by the Chamber Music Society of Detroit this weekend. On Thursday, Jan. 9 at 3 p.m. they’ll be guests of Chris Felcyn on The Well-Tempered Wireless program of WRCJ 90.9 FM. Tune in and find out which Jimmy Stewart co-star has become a big fan of their music. Continue reading
December 27, 2013
File under best CDs of 2013
Christopher O’Riley, piano
During the past decade, Christopher O’Riley has been quite busy, hosting From the Top, concertizing, and recording his adaptations of pop songs by Radiohead, Nick Drake, and Elliott Smith. But he hasn’t released an all-classical CD since a Scriabin disc in 2004. That is, until 2013, when his two-CD recording of music by that barnstormer of barnstormers and finger-buster of finger-busters, Franz Liszt, saw the light of day. Continue reading
December 20, 2013
We’re constantly hearing that classical music is in a state of crisis: struggling orchestras, aging concertgoers, a weakened recording industry. Sometimes I think it’s all a crock, or at least a substantial exaggeration. Whatever the challenges, the music is stubborn and continues to thrive in many ways. This year, like every year, I received many dozens of new classical recordings. Here are 10 that should stand the test: old works, new works and new works commenting on old works with affection and humor.
1. Hilary Hahn, “In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores” (Deutsche Grammophon): The violinist commissioned 26 new works from 26 composers — a bonanza of repertory, created in one fell swoop. (She also held a contest to find a 27th, and wound up choosing from among more than 400 submissions.) Brilliantly performed by Hahn and pianist Cory Smythe, the results are on these two discs — a grab bag of treasures. The composers include David Lang and David Del Tredici, Mason Bates and Lera Auerbach, Nico Muhly and film scorer James Newton Howard. I’m right now obsessed with Avner Dorman’s “Memory Games,” a sort of mad, mazelike tango that might have been conceived by Conlon Nancarrow.
2. Christopher O’Riley, “O’Riley’s Liszt” (Oxingale): I love the way pianist O’Riley moves from fascination to fascination with each new recording. This double-disc feels like a concept album: nothing but Liszt transcriptions of works by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner (“Prelude and Liebestod”) and (the pièce de résistance) Berlioz, whose “Symphonie fantastique” is rarely heard in this titanic version for solo piano. It unfolds like an ancient exploration, straight to the scaffold and the “Witches’ Sabbath.” Continue reading
October 3, 2013
Back in the late 1980s, when Spoleto USA was only about a decade old, I was enjoying one of the programs in the chamber music series that Charles Wadsworth organized for the festival and which became, over time, one of its most popular and consistently successful features. Wadsworth, the ever-avuncular host, had just introduced to the Dock Street Theatre stage a teenaged phenomenon named Matt Haimovitz, whom he predicted would soon leave his mark on the cello repertoire. Continue reading