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Ludwig Van
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | Two New Classical Persuasions For Younger Folks

By Norman Lebrecht on October 16, 2020

Eighth Blackbird: Singing in the Dead of Night (Cedille)

★★★★☆

🎧  Amazon | Apple Music | Spotify

Eighth_Blackbird-_Singing_in_the_Dead_of_Night-cover

You’ll often hear me telling people a couple of generations down the line that they should listen to new music of our time rather than Beethoven and Mahler, which they will enjoy better once they are in their 50s. Can’t say I’ve made many converts. All the usual excuses: get home from work, make supper, put the kids to bed, veg out on the sofa, no concentration left for the squeaks and squawks of contemporary composers.

Yeah, been there, done that. But I’m not giving up trying to persuade younger people to listen to the new. Wrap your ears, for instance, around Eighth Blackbird’s new album which engages three US composers – David Lang, Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon – with fragments from the Beatles’ ornithological song. Remember the Beatles? They were contemporary composers of the mid-20th century, not much heard today.

I love what these tonalists do with the Beatles’ bits and pieces. A snippet of Eleanor Rigby catches my ear, in between arrays of bathroom noises, interactions and actual tunes. The album’s only 45 minutes long but I could sit and listen to it for hours.

Navarra String Quartet: Love and Death (Orchid)

★★★☆☆  

🎧  Amazon | Apple Music | Spotify

Navarra_String_Quartet-_Love_and_Death-cover

The Navarra quartet’s Love and Death flickers from sobre to sombrero. A bullfighter’s lament by Joaquin Turina (1882 to 1949) is utterly new to me. I’ve dropped a line to the torero advising him to retrain as a musician for post-COVID employment.

The star turns on the album are by the Hungarian microminimalist György Kurtag (b 1926), who requires all of your attention for all of one or two minutes and rewards your effort more richly than you could ever imagine. The rest is Pucinni’s Chrysanthemums, Janacek’s Kreutzer Sonata quartet and Schubert’s Death and the Maiden — all beautifully played by the Navarras but not a patch on the three novelties. New music is good. Try some.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

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Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Canadian Opera Company Cancels All Remaining Productions

By Michael Vincent on October 6, 2020

The COC has confirmed that due to the ongoing uncertainty around indoor gatherings, they will be cancelling the rest of the originally planned 2020/2021 season.
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IN MEMORIAM | Renowned Canadian Soprano Erin Wall Dies At Age 44

By Anya Wassenberg on October 9, 2020

Canadian soprano Erin Wall has died at the age of 44. She had been living with cancer since 2018.
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FEATURE | Building A Community Of Black Classical Artists In Canada

By Gloria Blizzard on October 6, 2020

While there is a long history of professional classical musicianship in the Black community, there are gaps of knowledge about Black classical artistry in Canada.
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