Sunday, August 31, 2014

Albany Records Releases Thomas Otten's Recording of H. Leslie Adams' "Piano Etudes, Part II" September 1, 2014

[The H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) Homepage is at: 
http://www.hleslieadams.com  H. Leslie Adams is profiled at AfriClassical.com, which features a comprehensive Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com]

Thomas Otten: H. Leslie Adams: Piano Etudes, Part II
Albany Records  

On June 29, 2014 AfriClassical posted:

H. Leslie Adams: 'Piano Etudes' World Premiere (First Complete Performance) Part I Maria Corley, Nov. 1; Part II Thomas Otten, Nov. 2, 2014, UNC Chapel Hill, NC


September 1, 2014 is the release date for the Albany Records disc on which pianist Thomas Otten performs Part II of the Piano Etudes of the composer H. Leslie Adams.  

H. Leslie Adams writes:

Thomas Otten renders hauntingly beautiful renditions of these fourteen etudes.  In varying keys and moods, these are works of great range and expression.

Pre-release orders now being taken at Amazon.com

Longfellow Chorus: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Died 102 Years Ago Sept. 1, 2014; 8 PM Sept. 10, 2014 Maine Public Radio Airs Remainder of Hiawatha Tetralogy

is profiled at AfriClassical.comwhich 
features a comprehensive Works List and a 
Bibliography by Dr. Dominique- René de Lerma, 
We are collaborating with the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation of the U.K., www.SCTF.org.uk]

[Angela Brown rehearses the soprano aria "Then he sat down," from "The Death of Minnehaha," with dancers Kristen Irby, as Hiawatha, and Fana Tesfagiorgis, as Minnehaha, during the Longfellow Choral Festival in Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine.]

The Longfellow Chorus
Portland, Maine
September 1, 2014

In what might be the first example in American popular culture of a hero riding -- or here, paddling -- off into the sunset, Longfellow's Hiawatha commands his magic canoe to take him “westward” into the purple vapors. Coleridge-Taylor's rousing final chorus, "Farewell, Forever, Hiawatha!", might be called a Native American requiem, in which not only the People sing, but the “forest, dark and lonely” sighs, the “waves rippling upon the margins” sob and "the heron, the shu-shu-gah," screams farewell.

-- Charles Kaufmann, artistic director of The Longfellow Chorus, from the Maine Stage broadcast of Coleridge-Taylor's Hiawatha's Departure, Wednesday, September 10, at 8 PM, on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

September 1, 2014, is the 102nd anniversary of the death of still-youthful Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) at his home in Croydon, England -- an event that shocked and saddened tens of thousands of people around the world not only because they enjoyed his music, but also because they looked up to him as a symbol of achievement. The career of a bright young composer was capped at just fifteen years. Compare that with Coleridge-Taylor's Royal College of Music classmate Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), and wonder.

At 8PM, Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Maine Public Radio will broadcast the remaining portions of SC-T's Hiawatha tetralogy from the Longfellow Choral Festival -- The Death of Minnehaha, the Overture to Hiawatha and Hiawatha's Departure on the Maine Stage program.

Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn't miss this broadcast: 
  • No soprano, anywhere, can float down the octave from a high 'A' on a soft-as-silk portamento like Angela Brown, as heard in the aria Then he sat down (The Death of Minnehaha).
  • Or, for that matter, no tenor sail up to a high 'B' like Rodrick Dixon -- Caruso-like -- "ascending into heaven" during the Black-Robe chief's message to the People in Hiawatha's Departure.
  • Robert Honeysucker shares his vision of the future as Hiawatha in the baritone aria True is all Iagoo tells us (Hiawatha's Departure) with distinguished artistry -- this composition surpasses Onaway! Awake, beloved! (the tenor solo in Hiawatha's Wedding Feast) as the greatest vocal solo in Coleridge-Taylor's oeuvre.
  • I believe that The Death of Minnehaha, hands-down, is simply Coleridge-Taylor's best musical work: dramatically powerful: well-balanced between music and narrative: insightful in presentation of text: expert in orchestration: difficult, yet satisfying to perform. I see no reason why this greatest of all Coleridge-Taylor works shouldn't be performed more often.
  • With its primary theme based on the opening phrase of the African-American spiritual Nobody knows the trouble I see, the Overture to Hiawatha is Coleridge-Taylor's miniature New World Symphony. Can you count how many times he repeats and develops this theme throughout, until, at the end, he turns it into the familiar eight-note "Hiawatha theme," which unifies the complete tetralogy, from the first notes of Hiawatha's Wedding Feast to the closing notes of Hiawatha's Departure?
  • The final seven minutes of Hiawatha's Departure present one of the greatest climactic achievements of late-Victorian music. Even without the thundering pipe organ -- the great and mighty Kotzschmar of Merrill Auditorium was down -- we raised the roof.
My 30-second promo for the September 10 MPBN Maine Stage program uses the most frequently quoted line from Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha. Tune-in to the full program on September 10 and hear Hiawatha the way you've never heard it before!

Charles Kaufmann, Artistic Director
The Longfellow Chorus
PO Box 5133
Portland, Maine 04101

Classical Musicians' Parlor Circle is a Meetup in Queens, New York which includes classical repertoire by composers of color


Barbara E. Brown writes in the Guest Book at AfriClassical.com:

Sunday, 8/31/14
Classical Musicians' Parlor Circle is a Meetup in Queens,
NY 
providing opportunities for classical musicians to
perform, 
try out repertoire, and hone performance skills in 
a safe, supportive environment. Members are encouraged 
to share not only compositions from the traditional 
classical repertoire, but that contributed by composers of 
color from across the ethnic spectrum as well.





John Malveaux: Albany Records recently posted these videos of George Walker piano performances on YouTube

George Walker
Albany Troy 252

John Malveaux of 
writes:

Albany Records recently posted these videos  of George Walker piano performances on YouTube:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUYm9Tec-H4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxN67CXR1h8


Thanks
John Malveaux

Saturday, August 30, 2014

ChicagoScreenplayContest.com: Sergio Mims is Official Finalist, Action/Adventure Competition 2014

Sergio A. Mims

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Now I've been officially announced as a finalist. (see attachment) I'm supposed to be getting some sort of cash prize along with "literary and talent management introductions" as they say.

We shall see...

Sergio

Action/Adventure Competition
Official Finalist
Presented by Rio Verde
Sergio Mims

Dominique-René de Lerma: Dissertation Topics

Paul Freeman

Dominique-René de Lerma:

DISSERTATION TOPICS

While putting on what I hope is the fine tuning of a comprehensive bibliography of dissertations on Black music, soon to be published by William Grant Still Music, I was struck by the absence of critical studies in areas of interest to readers of these blogs.  Perhaps some of these are in progress, in which case I'd welcome the news (dsl@afgconsulting.org, now again active after a dead period).  In a few instances there are senor figures who might be willing to assist in the research.  In other cases, documentary materials are held by such major archives as the Schomburg Center in New York, the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago, the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans, or the E. Emma Azalia Hackley Collection in Detroit.
It was gratifying when, during an intermission of the 1972 première of Treemonisha when I was approached by Addison Reed.  The challenge for a dissertation on Scott Joplin I had posed in Black music in our culture (1971) was soon to be realized he told me in The life and works of Scott Joplin, which he completed in 1973 at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Leontyne Price (born in 1927) comes to mind immediately.  A few books, countless articles, and several taped interviews will offer materials on her life and repertoire, while a major service would be a detailed discography of her many LPS, CDs, DVDs -- with a careful notice of reissues.  It is most surprising that no comprehensive discography of her exceptional career has thus far been attempted.
After decades of performances and recordings in Detroit, New York, Helsinki, London, Prague, Denmark, Baltimore, Chicago, and Canada, jet-set conductor Paul Freeman (born in 1936) has retired to British Columbia.  His 9 LP Black composers series for Columbia Records was a historic milestone reviving or introducing works by composers from the 18th and 19th centuries, and proving many contemporary figures with award-winning recorded performances.  A detailed study of his work would be a contribution of most major historical significance.
The career of violinist Sanford Allen (born in 1939) would include his years with the New York Philharmonic, which was followed by an extensive solo career and work in the recording studio as a sideman with many figures outside of the concert hall.
In a like manner, we lack studies on George Shirley (born in 1934) and Mattiwilda Dobbs (born in 1925).  She indicated to me that she has a closet filled with documents on her career.  
Personal interviews are no longer possible with William Warfield (1929-2002), although his autobiography was issued in 1991.  That is sadly the case also with William Brown (1938-2004), who left no biography, but was endlessly engaged in recitals and operas, and was one of the most recorded of all Black artists, who went through his undergraduate days at Jackson State with attention only to R&B.
Musicologist Arthur R. LaBrew (born 1929) has published many volumes based on his searches through little-known primary documents and has been a major force in Detroit's musical and scholarly life.  He is one of the many important graduates of the Oberlin Conservatory (whose archives, readily available, offer still other avenues to explore -- including the school's importance in the early history of Fisk University).
Chicago's Center for Black Music Research holds massive collections on many figures, regardless of the idiom in which they were active.  The work of impressario Wendell Wright (1921-2000) is richly documented there, along with those artists -- in their youth (Ben Holt) or full professional bloom (Mattiwilda Dobbs) -- he booked to for the recitals at the series he held in the little (very high) Episcopal church, buried deeply in the ghetto of West Baltimore.  He was an avid warrior for civil rights in music and doubtless the constant headache of the administrators of the Baltimore Symphony and Baltimore Opera, as well as the area's newspaper music critics.
The Center also holds the musical materials of the enigmatic Talib Rasul Hakim (1940-1988), a composer of raw talent and mystical orientations, adopted from Islam.  Also among composers not noticed in the literature is Berkeley's Olly Wilson (born in 1937), notable not only for his compositions and scholarly explorations, but also for his work as an aesthetician, which readily brings to mind T. J. Anderson, previously treated in Bruce Thompson's dissertation, Musical style and compositional techniques in selected works of T. J. Anderson (1978).  A lot has happened in the past 30 years.
The impact of Sylvia Olden Lee (1917-2004), as pedagogue and vocal coach, clearly merits attention.  She taught at the Curtis Institute and was a long-time coach at the Metropolitan Opera, colorfully and without hesitation speaking her mind on areas of her expertise, with no illusions or pretense, and very "country."
Natalie Hinderas (1927-1987) was a delight personally and figure of most substantial importance in piano and education (Temple University), who championed composers only then less well known, and resurrected classic figures from the history.
Aspects of the Middle Ages and (Italian) Renaissance have often been the subject of graduate papers at a time when American musicology did not include more recent subjects.  The manuscripts of libraries and monasteries in Europe have provided transcriptions of work by figures still anonymous. The border has since been enlarged,  to a remarkable extent by the "Black mafia" -- as students at the University of Michigan termed themselves -- who, as they joined faculties all across the country, did their curricular subversions, opening the doors for such studies as suggested here. 

----------------------------------
Dominique-René de Lerma

Michael S. Wright: I am just letting you know that my message has got to the UK Government

Shirley J. Thompson

Wayne Marshall

Duke Ellington (1899-1974) 
is featured at AfriClassical.com

 which features a comprehensive Works List 
and a Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,
 www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com.  
We are collaborating with the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation of the U.K., www.SCTF.org.uk]

On August 27, 2014 AfriClassical posted:

Michael S. Wright: 'Black and Ethnic Minority Representation in Music Broadcasting' in Britain

Michael S. Wright writes:

For all

I have BCC’d this in to over 100 further selected talented and influential people who share my interest in trying to get somewhere nearer to a representative balance of Black and Ethnic Minority composers and musicians in the ‘art music’ or ‘classical music’ industry. This includes many from outside the UK but it is not comprehensive and you are welcome to copy in further people.  Please see message and response below.  [Editor: Click on above link for original message]

I am just letting you know that my message has got to the UK Government. This follows some recent widely reported concerns over the totally disproportionate representation of Black and Ethnic minority people in the media industry. Please visit http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/culture-minister-ed-vaizey-lack-of-ethnic-minority-and-black-faces-on-tv-is-weird-9681839.html

It will now be interesting to see what happens following my message to The Hon Edward Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries (UK Parliament). Those who are interested, I will keep you updated.  
My next stop – and volunteers are needed to enhance my message and show we mean business! This needs to go out to other Governments via the appropriate channel– Europe, Far East,  (inc EU) and America!!!! This will be followed by work on the corporate sector. Constructive ideas to get this message through to the people with the power are most welcome now!! However, I request that we do not use the social media such as ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’.

Please accept my apologies if you have received this message more than once.

Best wishes

Michael Wright
Way House,
Shebbear,
Nr Beaworthy,
Devon
EX21 5SL


From: VAIZEY, Ed [mailto:ed.vaizey.mp@parliament.uk]
Sent: 28 August 2014 08:04
To: michael wright
Cc: Heather Batchelor
Subject: Re: Black and Ethnic Minority Representation in Music Broadcasting

Thanks Michael, yes I am talking to the classical music world about this issue.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dominique-René de Lerma: 'On Casting'

George Shirley

Dominique-René de Lerma:

In a recent exchange of emails, Professor emeritus (University of Michigan) George Shirley validly stated that opera goers sought a musical experience and were willing to suspend certain expectations toward that goal.  This becomes an obligation when viewing a short, rather stout tenor (e.g. Luciano Pavarotti, but not Professor Shirley) as lover of an equally embonpointe soprano -- and if she is dying in the last act of consumption, she better be in good voice! 
There seems to be a relationship between physiology and vocal Fach (further enhanced by the unlikelihood of a light-weight Brünnhilde in her twenties).  If the soprano is quite young, she might not only be relatively petite, but also a coloratura, with a neck not yet as extended as one by Modigliani.  (A most dramatic exception is the video of Catherine Malfitano, superbly acting and singing the role of Salome, managing the bass clef demands and even going so far to remove the seventh veil!)  Not so the mezzo or contralto, who are best a bit large at least -- after all, these are mothers, old maids, or witches.  And the basses might be even taller and slimmer than baritones (how suitable for Rossini's Basilio, while Mozart's Basilio is a slimy, conniving tenor).
Then there is the question of race.  For virtually the entire history of Otello, the tenor has needed dark makeup, almost looking as if he moonlighted in minstrel shows.  So also Aida, but Leontyne Price had her natural complexion as one of many assets.
What would be said if Faust were dark-skinned to start with, or Mimì?  In this country's theater, a Black character often brings in ghetto sociology and the heritage of slavery, but that seems an American historical fact, present in endless applications.  Avoiding it appears as an Anglo comfort, a censorship.   An addict of BBC's imports to public television, I find it a great relief to witness a Black British actor as just another cast member, with no reference at all to race, even in the instance of a mixed couple -- this despite an international drive by Michael Wright (UK) for greater minority representation in all media.  If credulity is already suspended in opera, why can Don Ottavio not be a Black tenor?  But if Don Giovanni were viewed as a Black man, the myth of lechery would be immediately brought to play.
Side-stepping that fact that many Baroque operas have plots based in Africa, racial casting could be used as a subtle commentary if Figaro and Susanna (and Antonio) were not Caucasian.  And with productions revised so enthusiastically (one of these days we will find that Orfeo played tenor sax!), suppose Fidelio took place in Jim Crow South, with Florestan as a jailed civil rights activist, and the prisoners all Afro-American?

-------------------------------
Dominique-René de Lerma

John Malveaux: J. Paul Getty Museum has 'One of earliest sculpted portraits of a Black person by a European artist,' Francis Harwood (1748-1783)

J. Paul Getty Museum

John Malveaux of 
sends the above photo of himself with an historic bust of a Black man.  He writes:

Francis Harwood (1748-1783). One of earliest sculpted portraits of a Black person by a European artist.

John Malveaux         

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Viewpoints.iu.edu: 'Indiana University jazz legend David Baker honored in tribute album,' 'Singers of Songs'

Dr. David N. Baker

Viewpoints

Guest post courtesy of IU Communications colleague Brittany Aders:
Indiana University musicians and fans of David Baker have come together to create a CD, titled “Singer of Songs,” in honor of the legendary IU professor’s musical styling and works.

With backgrounds in music studies, cellist Manuel Fischer-Dieskau, pianist Connie Shih and jazz pianist Monika Herzig– under the tutelage of IU legends such as David Baker, the late Janos Starker, George Gaber and Gyorgy Sebok– formed a triple threat in developing this special project. For percussion, Fischer-Dieskau chose to include friend and leading European percussionist Guy Frisch from Luxembourg.

“I think it’s important that we celebrate because it’s how we keep this music alive,” Baker said. “It is such a joy to see people who love jazz coming together so that the music doesn’t become passive.”

Baker created and led the Jazz Studies Department within IU’s Jacobs School of Music since 1966, and has also played and composed more than 2,000 musical works. His beautiful and complicated musical styling combines classical and jazz components and is widely categorized as Third Stream, which is a combination of Western art music and various ethnic music.

The venture started with the special interest of Manuel Fischer-Dieskau, cellist and professor of cello at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany, who studied at IU Bloomington under legendary cellist professor Janos Starker.

During his studies at IU, Manuel grew to love the cello works of David Baker, especially his suite “Singer of Songs.”

“When we were thinking about the program of my new CD, I proposed my Baker-idea to the director of my label, MDG, well known for their courage to present also unknown music on their productions.” Fischer-Dieskau said. “My idea and hope was also to introduce the name and work of David Baker to the European public.”


This dream began to unfold with the participation of Monika Herzig, jazz pianist and senior lecturer for the Arts Administration program at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.


Listen Magazine

Fall 2014

Delights from the Third Stream

Jens F. Laurson

Bell-tinkling and vibraphone-hints for Miles Davis, cello cantilenas, calypso-moments for Sonny Rollins, an air of spirituals suggesting Paul Robeson, quasi-orchestral harmony for Duke Ellington and bebopping percussion beneath a vocalizing cello; and that's just the opening of "Singers of Songs" David Baker's album of music for cello and, variously, percussion, piano and jazz trio.  Gunther Schuller defined the term "Third Stream" under which Baker's eclectic but essentially romantic compositions fall.  

***

The Cello Sonata is more on the classical side of this stream, the terrific Trio on the Jazz side.  Written for Janos Starker (and with his input), they are performed by Starker student Fischer-Dieskau Jr.


ArkivMusic

David Baker: Singers of Songs

MD&G 9031841 (2014)

1. Singers of Songs/Weavers of Dreams for cello & 17 percussion instruments by David Baker
Performer:  Manuel Fischer-Dieskau (Cello), Guy Frisch (Percussion)
Period: Modern
Date of Recording: 02/26/2013
Venue:  Konzerthaus der Abtei Marienmünster
Length: 18 Minutes 23 Secs.

2. Sonata for cello & piano by David Baker
Performer:  Manuel Fischer-Dieskau (Cello), Connie Shih (Piano)
Period: Modern
Date of Recording: 06/15/2013
Venue:  Konzerthaus der Abtei Marienmünster
Length: 19 Minutes 36 Secs.


3. Suite for cello & jazz trio by David Baker
Performer:  Pavel [Double Bass] Klimashevsky (Double Bass), Monica Acoustic Project Herzig (Piano), Manuel Fischer-Dieskau (Cello),
Dieter Schumacher (Drums)
Period: Contemporary
Date of Recording: 05/24/2013
Venue:  Konzerthaus der Abtei Marienmünster
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs.