Music News 2/3/2021 and 1/27/2021


Scroll down for last week's music news!


Mariza, MARIZA SINGS AMÁLIA (Nonesuch, $15.98) – Mariza is the most renowned of the new generation of fado singers, with a powerful voice and an unforgettable stage presence. Here, she pays tribute Amália Rodrigues (1920 – 1999), who transformed this most soulful Portuguese musical form, and became the Queen of Fado. 

Arlo Parks, COLLAPSED IN SUNBEAMS (Transgressive, $13.98) – Arlo Parks is a young British singer and songwriter. Collapsed in Sunbeams is her first album, and includes the songs “Black Dog” and “Hurt,” which have resonated during the Covid times. 

Read about the making of the album in this New York Times profile, and watch her NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert here


Stephen Hough, VIDA BREVE (Hyperion, $19.98) – Pianist Stephen Hough had two wonderful releases in 2020: Brahms: Final Piano Pieces and a complete Beethoven: Piano Concertos set.  

His new album, Vida Breve, is a beautifully programmed meditation on death and “the fragility of life.” The heart of the program includes Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2, and works by Liszt, Busoni, and Hough’s own Piano Sonata No 4 ‘Vida breve.’ Hough begins the program with Busoni’s arrangement of Bach’s Chaconne, and ends it with his own arrangements of a traditional Korean song, then Gounod’s version of Bach’s “Ave Maria.”  

Osvaldo Golijov and the Silkroad Ensemble, FALLING OUT OF TIME (In a Circle, $20.98) – Composer Osvaldo Golijov has written an oratorio for voices and ensemble based on David Grossman’s Falling Out of Time, about a couple in grief over the death of their son. The libretto is in Hebrew and English, the vocalists Biella da Costa, Nora Fischer and Wu Tong, and the Silkroad Ensemble includes violin, cello, kamanchepipa, trumpet, and sheng. 

You can watch excerpts of the work and an interview with Golijov here

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, PLAISIRS ILLUMINÉS: Veress Ginastera Coll (Alpha, $18.99) – Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja puts together some of the most creative programs today; she is also now Camerata Bern’s Artistic Partner, and has recorded her most recent albums with the ensemble. On Plaisirs Illuminés, she is joined by cellist Sol Gabetta in Francisco Coll’s Plaisirs Illuminés: Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Chamber Orchestra, as well as Sándor Veress’s Musica Concertante per 12 Archi, and Alberto Ginastera’s Concerto per Corde Op 33. There are short connecting pieces by Bartók, Kurtág, and Ligeti, for an exciting recital. 

BEETHOVEN: LEONORE (1805 Version) (Naxos, DVD, $22.99) – Washington’s Opera Lafayette specializes in French Baroque music, especially in neglected operas. Their recent projects connected the French and European classical repertoires. 

As part of its Lenore Project, the company first presented Pierre Gaveaux’s Léonore, ou l’Amour Conjugal (1798) (also available as a Naxos DVD), about the release of an unjustly imprisoned man by his devoted wife. 

Now they’ve released the DVD of their production of Beethoven’s Leonore (1805 version)), which was inspired by Gaveux’s Léonore. First presented in 1804, it underwent revisions (the DVD presents the two-act version), before it emerged as Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, in 1814.  

Ryan Brown conducts the soloists the Opera Lafayette Orchestra. 




John Zorn, GNOSIS: The Inner Light (Tzadik, $18.98) – Over six albums, John Zorn has written a lot of music for the Gnostic Trio—guitarist Bill Frisell, harpist Carol Emanuel, and Kenny Wollesen on vibes and chimes. With its unique combination of instruments, Zorn wrote music that is always lyrical, melodic and mesmerizing. 

Now the trio adds John Medeski on piano and organ to produce “a sublime and transcendent memorial to one of Zorn’s earliest mentors—Ennio Morricone.” 

 Ethan Iverson & Umbria Jazz Orchestra, BUD POWELL IN THE 21ST CENTURY (Sunnyside, $16.98) – Pianist Ethan Iverson wrote two suites for piano, jazz soloists and big band, dedicated to Bud Powell. The suite is interspersed with memorable Bud Powell tunes. Along with the big band, the ensemble includes Ingrid Jensen, trumpet; Dayna Stephens, tenor sax; Ben Street, bass; and Lewis Nash, drums. 


CUBA: MUSIC AND REVOLUTION 1975 – 1985 VOL. 1: Culture Clash in Havana (Soul Jazz, 2 CDs, $23.99) – This new set features “legendary Cuban groups such as Irakere, Los Van Van and Pablo Milanés as well as a host of lesser known artists such as the radical Grupo De Experimentación, Juan Pablo Torres and Algo Nuevo, Grupo Monumental and Orquesta Ritmo Oriental.” 

Another masterly archival compilation by the Soul Jazz label from Britain, with a profusion of notes. 

Dusty Springfield, COMPLETE ATLANTIC SINGLES 1968 – 71 (Real Gone Music, $19.99) – Ms. Springfield at her greatest