Monday, May 26, 2014

#musicmonday: Bella figlia dell'amore from Rigoletto with Singers' Circle (video)

6:46 PM
Aaaand we're back! Since y'all got to know Monifa a couple weeks ago, thought it might be fun to share a video of us singing together on this Monday. This is the famous quartet from Verdi's Rigoletto, performed with tenor Joshua Allen and baritone Jeffrey Carlson at Singers' Circle's informal opera scenes concert last summer. [video after the jump]
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Short Hiatus 5/19-5/25

7:41 AM
Lovely Readers,

Non-musical life is a little crazy this week, so I'm going to sit this one out and come back next week, when things have calmed down, in order to bring you the highest-quality content possible. In the meantime, I must ask--how excited are you for Dido and Aeneas tonight & tomorrow? Or Beethoven's 5th on Saturday? Or Carmina Burana next week? Can't wait to discuss in about 7 days--Carmina is possibly the only other work that could inspire a review featuring a diagram.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mahler 3 with the North Carolina Symphony

6:48 PM
"Bimm bamm" is German for "ding dong," if you didn't know. Mahler's third symphony features a women's chorus and a boychoir. While the women sing sweet, jolly folk-inspired melodies about St. Peter and the angels, the little boys punctuate every phrase with bimms and bamms on the strong beats. It's like the most sophisticated German version of Frere Jacques you could imagine.

My alma mater, Oklahoma City University, performed movements from Mahler's third when I was a freshman. OCU was bursting at the seams with fabulous 18-to-22-year-old musicians, but a boychoir we had none. Instead, a small group of sopranos from the women's choir was co-opted to sing the boys' line. Even in the best of circumstances, it's tough to hear a group of children--or, ahem, skillful child-imitators--over a Mahler-sized orchestra. I spent the performance up in that choir loft straight-up BELTING those bimms. (more after the jump)
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Performer Profiles: Mezzo-soprano Monifa Harris (video)

5:12 AM
Monifa Harris has a rich, smoky, velvety voice that's impossible to describe without sounding like a wine snob salivating over a cabernet. Based in Durham, she sings locally, internationally, and in New York. She recently appeared as the mezzo soloist in Tippett's A Child of Our Time with the North Carolina Master Chorale, toured Greece with a diverse program including arias, spirituals, and Greek folk song, and coached and understudied the plum role of Carmen with Sing Through Central in a readthrough overseen by the Metropolitan Opera Guild. But Monifa's also known to lots of local musicians as the founder of Singers' Circle, a Durham organization that puts on concerts a few times a year and, in between, functions as a place for Triangle-based singers to network, coach rep, and receive feedback. We met up last week at Beyù Caffè, where Monifa had a ton to say about her performing and her passion for creating community among musicians in the Triangle. If you are interested in the growth of classical music in Raleigh, this is a lady you need to be talking to.
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Live Art Music In & Around Raleigh 5/12-5/18

5:44 AM
I could not be sadder that I missed this

The Triangle keeps surprising me.

This week is another where I'm tempted to comment that we're light on classical programming, it's the summer, etc., etc. However, last week--and lots of other weeks when I had no such thoughts--I put a lean post up and then shortly found out about a fabulous concert I coulda-woulda-shoulda included (and attended, and reviewed) by an ensemble I wasn't familiar with.

 - Just stumbled across the poster to the left while chilling at Elmo's with my sister late last week. Who is going to give Voce Camerata and Consort their award for best concert title evar?!

 - At the symphony on Friday (more about that later,) I struck up a conversation with the music lovers behind me, mentioned my Polish song project, and learned that they'd recently heard a super-sophisticated Gorecki program from SONAM (Singers of New and Ancient Music).

 - Other missed opportunities so far include programs from the Raleigh Civic Symphony, North Carolina Master Chorale, et cetera.

Along with the Mallarmé Chamber Players, these groups are now on my radar (and on the Go Hear Some Music page!), so future offerings will make it into future posts for sure. Do me a favor, dear reader, and if you know of any musician or group whose performances you're not seeing here, enlighten me. Now, after the jump, the classical happenings for this week--that I know of.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

#musicmonday: Violinist David McKnight at the Durham Farmers' Market (video)

8:43 PM
Eventually I'm going to turn quirky venues into a series. After I've profiled a bunch of unorthodox live venues for classical music and how audiences react to hearing it there, I'm going to do a "Wishlist" post--places I think should host some art song or chamber music because they're so visually beautiful or acoustically on-point or could draw just the right crowd.1

I was wandering through the Durham Farmers' Market on Saturday, Belgian waffle in one hand and some chard in the other, thinking about how happy I always feel when I'm there. "Of course!" I realized. "This would be the perfect place for anything some quirky classical." A contemporary steelpan-influenced percussion ensemble? On the stage opposite the food trucks? Come on.

I began to scarf my waffle even faster so I could gain a free hand, get out my phone, and add the Farmer's Market to the list . . . when I heard a violin. [more after the jump]
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Friday, May 2, 2014

Live Art Music In & Around Raleigh 5/5-5/11

7:40 AM
Mezzo Susan Platt, NC Symphony's soloist


GRANT CONDUCTS MAHLER (Grant as in Grant Llewellyn, that charismatic showman who usually conducts the NC Symphony, Mahler as in you know), featuring the Raleigh Boychoir, NC Master Chorale Women's Choir, and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts in the composer's Symphony No. 3, one of my all-time faves. 5/9 and 5/10 at 8 PM, Meymandi Concert Hall. Pre-concert talk by Dr. Jonathan Kramer of NC State in Swalin Lobby at 7. tickets
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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Interview with Composer Ben Daniels

6:08 PM
It's clear when you listen to Ben Daniels' sophisticated yet broadly-appealing compositions that he knows what he's doing--but he's reconciled himself to the idea that he'll always feel like he doesn't.

Daniels started out as an undergrad percussion major, delved into minimalism as he began to compose, and now pursues his Ph.D. at Duke--where, among other things, he assistant-teaches Hip Hop and Rap Appreciation. All along, he's devoted a lot of thought to how what he's doing should be done. Talk to him about his craft and those thoughts take on a life of their own, showing up as imagined conversations between Daniels and hypothetical detractors and forming the lens through which he explains his work.

Recently I continued my tour of all the coffee shops in Durham series of composer interviews and caught up with Ben at Mad Hatter's.

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