Krauss to Kestner, Costello to Collective Soul, RR regular takeitawayGuru strides regally across many a kingdom to put a special Handel on last week’s topic
Please take your seats for the crowning of this week’s A-Listers and there’s one in particular that is the “King of Noms” this week.
Coronations since George II in 1727 have been accompanied by music from Handel: the Coronation Anthems and today’s ceremony will be no different as we commence proceedings with Zadok the Priest performed by the Choir of Westminster Abbey.
This month, Philip Clark looks at some of the artists who will play this month’s Huddersfield contemporary music festival
This is the other John Adams, John Luther Adams, who, in his early 60s, is finally beginning to attract the international attention his thoughtful and strikingly original music deserves. Adams’s profound immersion in the natural world, his horror at the damage done to it, and his efforts to create what he has described as an ecology of composition suggest him as the musical equivalent of the great US poet Gary Snyder: both are important artists who put their work at the service of what they see and cherish around them.
Ilimaq is a 45-minute percussion solo with electronics, first performed in 2012. The title means “spirit journey” in the native Alaskan language Inupiaq – Adams lived in Alaska for almost 40 years, but now divides his time between New York and Mexico. The piece was composed in collaboration with Glenn Kotche, from the Chicago-based band Wilco, who has previously worked with new-music ensembles such as eighth blackbird and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. The electronic backdrop – a mix of sampled sounds and digital delays of Kotche’s performance – creates an all-enveloping aural environment in which the live solo playing is the focus. The predominant sounds steadily evolve as the work goes on. The opening sections are characterised by low regular pulsings, while more metallic sounds combine with the trickling electronics in the centre of the work, and a much wider range of drums and cymbals is heard towards its ethereal close.
Lilian Baylis Studio, LondonIndependent Opera have produced a fiery and intense staging of Šimon Vosecek’s winning work, based on Max Frisch’s abrasive play
Independent Opera returns to Sadler’s Wells, London, to present the first UK production of Austrian-Czech composer Šimon Vosecek’s opera, based on a 1953 play by Max Frisch usually known in English as The Fire Raisers. Vosecek’s dark comedy version – to his own libretto, here sung in David Pountney’s sharp translation – debuted in Vienna two years ago. It’s a resoundingly clever, brilliantly written piece that makes its mark musically and theatrically.
Related: Twisted fire-starters: staging the incendiary opera Biedermann and the Arsonists
Islington Assembly Hall, LondonDJ Sam Shepherd employs strings, sax and a cooing choir to bring a hypnotic intensity to his sophisticated sound
Six minutes into Silhouettes (I, II & III), Floating Points’ 10-minute cosmic opus, saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings stands up out of his chair, the crowd urging him on, and starts playing. As clattering drums propel the song forward, Hutchings riffs over washes of strings and a cooing choir from Goldsmiths. It’s a heady brew, enveloping the venue in euphoria.
Sat calmly at the centre of all of this is Floating Points himself, the unassuming Sam Shepherd, perched behind a pile of synths and machines as he orchestrates the 11-piece band around him. Tonight is the first UK gig to showcase Elaenia, his debut album. Comprised of seven “suites”, it’s a sophisticated and detailed collection, pin-drop quiet at times and building delicately at others. Live, it feels as if it’s being coloured in; the strings and brass broaden the sound, adding verve and intensity.
Carriageworks, Sydney This theatrical staging of Fausto Romitelli’s swansong is so earnest in its quest for profundity that its emotions seem overwrought, even silly
For most of An Index of Metals, soprano Jane Sheldon is surrounded by a swarm of six naked men. With chiselled pale bodies lit by glaring lights or cast into dark foreboding silhouettes, they stalk around her, encircling and encompassing her, lifting her up and putting her down as if she is made of putty.
Related: Watch extracts from the Scottish Ensemble and Andersson Dance's Goldberg Variations
Robert Craft, who has died aged 92, was a musician and critic of extraordinary gifts. He was a remarkably fine conductor, making two recordings of the major works of Arnold Schoenberg, alongside many recordings of Mozart, Schütz, Monteverdi, Webern and Stravinsky. Through these, and as the conductor of the Evenings on the Roof concerts and Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, he played an important role in broadening American musical taste in the 1950s and 60s.
He was an acute and sometimes acidulous critic, usually in the New York Review of Books, where he displayed his taste for abstruse vocabulary (he referred on one occasion to “luteofulvous” Italian wine – that is tawny yellow in colour) and a fondness for puns (he once praised a soprano’s coo-de-grace). And he was the author of several volumes of critical essays, as well as a travel book, Places: A Travel Companion for Music and Art Lovers (2000). But these were only sideshows to the real drama of Craft’s life.
As the composer’s new double bass concerto premieres this week in the London jazz festival, Simon Bainbridge explains how the collaborative work took shape, and why – if it wasn’t for an early morning Manhattan cab ride – it might never have happened at all
Many years ago I stepped into a cab on Sixth Avenue and began a gentle swaggering journey uptown. Manhattan was slowly waking up; the sun was rising over the East River. The time couldn’t have been more than 5am and Miles Davis was playing Blue in Green on the cab radio. It was a heady and poetic memory, one that ignited in me a love for jazz, and became the inspiration behind a piece I later wrote called For Miles.
I was also quickly drawn into the luminous, dazzling harmonic world of pianist Bill Evans – recordings such as Live in Montreux, which features a glorious version of Gershwin’s Embraceable You, where the bass takes fragments of the melody and slowly and subtly forms and weaves a line out of an array of musical components to create seamless linear continuity.
The German-born director will succeed David Pickard as the head of the Sussex-based opera company
Glyndebourne today announces the appointment of a new general director. German-born Sebastian F Schwarz replaces David Pickard – who left the opera company to run the BBC Proms – and will take up his new role in May 2016.
Schwarz, 41, is currently deputy artistic director of Theatre an der Wien in Vienna, a position he has held for eight years. He studied in Berlin and Venice, and has worked with a variety of opera companies including Wexford Festival Opera and Staatsoper Hamburg.
Nadia Sirota has played viola for everyone from Grizzly Bear to Arcade Fire, and her podcast sees her try to make contemporary classical accessible
Nadia Sirota is a Juilliard-trained viola player who has released two albums of music that are decidedly 21st century. That means she doesn’t just stick to Bach or Brahms, but in addition to her own work, can be heard on albums by Grizzly Bear, Jonsi, the National, Ratatat and My Brightest Diamond; she also appeared on Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning album, The Suburbs. To speak in cliches, she’s not your grandma’s viola player (unless you have a grandmother whose taste skews towards indie rock, of course). Her podcast, Meet the Composer, takes listeners on a tour of other composers pushing the boundaries of classical music and helps demystify the world of contemporary composition.
Related: Just don't call it 'indie classical'
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