Lyrically speaking, it’s clear this band has loved and lost on the road.
(In the ‘zine that accompanied Los Campesinos! second album there’s a quote emblazoned on white space: “Telling stories is telling lies”. They’re the words of B. S. Johnson, one of those forgotten English legends who’ll swim up on impressionable young men and guide their work from beyond the grave decades after death. I know the quote well because I lived it out for a long time, doggedly sticking to the principal before the power of metaphor won me over, dressed to kill in heels, lipstick and the kind of skirt you’ll never be able to afford. I think I only really acknowledged that sitting down to write this) (more…)
The originals are urgent beasts, the remixes just pets.
ZTT Records, Out Now.
It is a disco at the dawn of the eighties. Pop, bombast and synths are swamping stereos and “Blue Monday” has already happened. GRID has been reclassified as AIDS – it’s ravages being made clear worldwide – while war, holding actions and terrorism is part of the worldwide language of engagement. Holly Johnson is wondering if we’re living in a land where sex and horror are the new gods? Posters on ever street corner tell you that “Frankie Say Relax.” People ask “How?”
I’m too young for all of this of course, but the background noise of tension, conflict, fear and paranoia scream from Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s early forays into the pop chart. For two summers, Frankie used pop-music to strategically assault middle England, corrupting their children, exposing their fantasies and making them dance. With “Relax”, “Two Tribes” and “The Power of Love” they formed a trinity of number ones that remain powerful, even though we’re twenty five years older. Frankie Say Greatest doesn’t stop there though, and that’s a shame.
“The most challenging was the Schumann piece, by far.”
Compared to Lang Lang and Yundi Li, it took Piotr Anderszewski a long time to achieve a reputation as a top world class pianist. The Polish pianist was first recognized globally after he received the Gilmore Artist Award in 2002. He remained the oldest winner of this prestigious award before Ingrid Fliter broke the record at the age of 33 in 2006.
The Carnegie Hall recital CD (EMI/Virgin 2009) is a recording of the Anderszewski concert in New York City in December of last year. The concert covers works from various German, Czech and Hungarian composers. They include Bach, Schumann, Janacek and Beethoven. Bartok’s Hungarian Folksongs from the Csik District is the encore.
Much like with Chopin, Wang compensates her Scriabin performance with her terrific concentration.
Few young female pianists can compete with French legend Helene Grimaud, yet Yuja Wang is most likely on her way to become one of the exceptions. Her Sonatas & Etudes: Chopin, Scriabin, Liszt and Ligeti (Deutschegrammophon) is a sign that Wang is already growing into a formidable presence.
A native of China, Wang was trained at the Beijing Conservatory before moving to Canada at the age of fourteen. She then moved to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, in the United States. She is going to perform with Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Claudio Abbado this coming summer – so here is a chance to see her live.
Julia Fischer was a child prodify, a the Slovak-German violinist first gaining global attention in 1995 at the age of 11, after winning the top prize at the 1995 International Yehudi Menuhin Competition.
Julia Fischer—Bach Concertos
Academy of St.Martin in the Fields
Now at the age of 26, Julia has become an even more excellent player in terms of her skill, the level of emotion in her music and compatibility with partner orchestras. This is demonstrated through her latest collaboration with the Academy of St.Martin in the Fields, following a previous collaboration in 2001, when the partnership produced the Vivaldi Four Seasons Concertos, another well-known work of chamber music.
Bach’s music is in Baroque style, illustrating the influence of Renaissance. Julia works exceptionally well in this genre. (more…)
You can imagine how excited I was to hear that Chinese Democracy, the newest album by Guns n’ Roses, might no longer be the elusive Sasquatch of the music world.
I like the music of the people I find interesting. It’s very important to understand that I don’t have to like or even respect a person to find them utterly fascinating. Maybe that’s why bands like Radiohead and U2 bore the living piss out of me: you know exactly what they’re going to do.
Radiohead will continue being the famous group that “doesn’t care about their fame.” No, they’re far too busy crafting elaborate, metaphor-based political commentary and cramming into the most depressing songs possible. Listening to Radiohead is like being at a self-consciously hip funeral.
And U2 will always be the smug, self-appointed “Greatest Band in the Universe.” And it will consist of Bono’s tired voice, Bono’s stupid glasses, and Bono’s searing need to be put in the same category as the Beatles. Oh, and maybe some other band members (1).
The artists that interest me are the ones that really mean it. That “it” differs from person to person, of course:
For Freddy Mercury, it was about being an artistic sensation and giving meaning to the word “fabulous,” so that all the “cosmopolitan” women and self-effacing gay men that came after him could have something to run into the ground. For Lupe Fiasco, it’s about providing fantastical commentary on a skewed and absurd world – or, in simpler terms, being a Nas that you can listen to without falling into a black depression. For DMX, “it” means having the instincts, testosterone, and intelligence of an especially angry Rottweiler. He will go to great lengths to tear apart raw steak, eat your face, or hump your leg because he thinks it might be in heat – and in this sense, he’s one of the most sincere men alive.
And, of course, there was always Axl Rose. (more…)
Yip and the Sinfonietta did their jobs with both precision and emotion, which was crucial. As for Donohue, his playing here was superb; he is a true virtuoso performer wholeheartedly playing for the joy of the music.
3 May 2008
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No 4 in G minor, Op 40
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18
The Sinfonietta, established in 1990, offered concertgoers the rare chance to enjoy Peter Donohue last month. The British pianist entertained the audience with the rarely performed Rachmaninov’s fourth and first piano concertos.
Let’s first say a few words about the Sinfonietta: Yip Wing-sie became its chief conductor in 2002. The Sinfonietta has performed with global starts such as Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. The Sinfonietta is also well-known for its educational concerts, and the guiding mission of bringing classic music into day-to-day life..
Speaking of the Peter Donahue performance, while the Fourth Piano Concerto is not as well-known as compared to the Second and First or Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, it is believed that the Fourth is one of the best of Rachmaninov’s piano-and-orchestra work. It’s considered stylistically top-notch, yet does not lack the passion and fervor. Its orchestral writing is especially sophisticated, thus any orchestra that undertakes it must undergo an extensive and demanding rehearsal process.
Yip and the Sinfonietta did their jobs with both precision and emotion, which was crucial. As for Donohue, his playing here was superb; he is a true virtuoso performer wholeheartedly playing for the joy of the music. His music is never forceful.
After the intermission, Donohue launched into the beginning of the First Piano Concerto with great spirit. (more…)
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