59 episodes

Host Julie Amacher provides an in-depth exploration of a new classical music release each week.

New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher MPR

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Host Julie Amacher provides an in-depth exploration of a new classical music release each week.

    Guitarist Miloš Karadaglić feels like a fairy tale has come true

    Guitarist Miloš Karadaglić feels like a fairy tale has come true

    Miloš Karadaglić — The Moon & the Forest (Decca)  Jump to CD giveaway form

    “Joby Talbot's piece Ink Dark Moon is a modern masterpiece and Howard Shore's concerto, The Forest, has a classical elegance to it,” said guitarist Miloš Karadaglić about the two new guitar concertos composed for him and his new album, The Moon & the Forest.

    Also featured on the album is Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Shelley, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by Ben Gernon.

    Why do you consider this new recording your personal fairy tale come true? 

    “Ever since I started recording, it's been my dream to inspire composers to write guitar pieces. To have those composers, Howard Shore and Joby Talbot, to write for me has really been a dream come true.”

    Tell us about the musical journey we hear in Talbot’s Ink Dark Moon?

    “Everything I heard reminded me of the moon. I said to Talbot that in the second movement, particularly how the open strings evolve from lighter textures, to richness then suddenly emptiness, is similar to the phases of the moon. I am also reminded of how the moon transforms nightly with shades of gray and blue which are so intense and seductive.”

    How does the orchestration and the guitar line in the third movement break the glass ceiling of possibilities?

    “I don't have to be a shy guitarist all the time. I said, ‘Give me fireworks.’ I want to break my nails and fingers and play like there's no tomorrow. He came up with passages which are incredibly fast and loud which are also difficult to play. The piece really just explodes. That's why I say it's breaking a glass ceiling. Every time I've played it live or in the studio I felt it is the best thing I have played. It's just so much fun.”

    How did the Canadian National Art Center commission Howard Shore to write The Forest for you?

    “I remember during the 2014-15 concert season, I was playing The Aranjuez Concerto all over the world, and one of the performances was in Munich with the wonderful young British conductor Alexander Shelley. It was such a success that afterwards we where talking about collaboration in the future and thought, ‘Why don't we ask Howard Shore?’

    Also, while I was learning Shore’s concerto I would come across references to other works which were like little fossils you would find inside a rock.

    Can you give me an example of some of the references that you found in this concerto?   

    “There is an interesting reference to the theme from The Aranjuez Concerto in the tutti section of the second movement. I asked Shore afterward, ‘Why did you do that?’ and he responded, ‘I wanted to honor composer Joaquín Rodrigo for writing one of the most beautiful pieces ever written, not just for guitar, but in the whole world. Also, because of this piece, I am here with you writing another work.’”

    To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


    Watch now









    You must be 13 or older to submit any information to American Public Media. The personally identifying information you provide will not be sold, shared, or used for purposes other than to communicate with you about things like our programs, products and services. See Terms of Use and Privacy. This giveaway is subject to the Official Giveaway Rules.

    Note: Due to the coronavirus quarantines, we cannot send physical product at this time. Winners will be notified at the conclusion of the giveaway and will receive their prize as soon as possible after the crisis abates.

    Resources
    Miloš Karadaglić — The Moon & the Forest (Decca)

    Miloš Karadaglić — The Moon & the Forest (Amazon)

    Miloš Karadaglić (Official site)

    • 39 min
    Contralto and conductor Nathalie Stutzmann lives her dream

    Contralto and conductor Nathalie Stutzmann lives her dream

    Nathalie Stutzmann/Orfeo 55 — Contralto (Warner Classics/Erato)  Jump to CD giveaway form

    “Oh là là! I’m actually living my dream,” said conductor and contralto Nathalie Stutzmann. “My two biggest goals in life were to be a singer and a conductor, and I am just living my dream.”

    Nathalie Stutzmann believes that every dream can come true and she’s living proof. It was a challenge for a young woman growing up in Paris to accomplish her goals, but she didn’t give up. She went on to become the first woman to conduct an ensemble while singing and that’s precisely what she does on her new recording, Contralto, with the ensemble she founded, Orfeo 55.

    Unfortunately, that ensemble disbanded after this recording because of Stutzmann’s new role as principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra and her conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera this fall.

    Why is the contralto voice so uncommon and difficult?

    “The sound of the contralto is the voice of Earth and of the soul. I personally worked on my voice to make it as flexible and colorful as possible. The contralto register is like a wild and heavy stone. When you start you really need to work to make it light and flexible.”

    Why did you want to make this recording?

    “I wanted to do a tribute to and say thank you for this voice I have been living with for so many years. I learned how to love it and develop it. I wanted to show what an extraordinary instrument it is.

    “I first started doing research looking for contraltos. Then I watched for who was composing music for them and which parts. That's how I discovered these rare works. It was from my research.

    “My goal was to find unknown arias which are also beautiful, like Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘Cara Addio’ from Griselda. It's just a marvelous aria. We found a part of the score and I decided to orchestrate it with guitar. It became a beautiful romance, unbelievably soft and very tender. The creativity within this repertoire is so extraordinary.

    “It was exciting to show that another aria from Vivaldi, ‘Gelido in Ogni Vena,’ which I thought was written for a male voice was actually written and dedicated to a woman. It was exciting to rediscover that.”

    Can you talk about the call-and-response between you and the woodwinds in Antonio Caldara’s aria ‘Sotto un Faggio’?

    “This is actually a worldwide premiere. It's so beautiful. ‘Sotto un Faggio’ is an aria I discovered because of its tonal colors. The work has a dialog between the voice and the woodwinds. It’s special because the woodwinds are comprised of flutes, a bassoon and a chalumeau, which is the predecessor to the clarinet. I find the colors of those instruments to be close to the soft middle register of the contralto voice.”

    To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


    Watch now









    You must be 13 or older to submit any information to American Public Media. The personally identifying information you provide will not be sold, shared, or used for purposes other than to communicate with you about things like our programs, products and services. See Terms of Use and Privacy. This giveaway is subject to the Official Giveaway Rules.

    Note: Due to the coronavirus quarantines, we cannot send physical product at this time. Winners will be notified at the conclusion of the giveaway and will receive their prize as soon as possible after the crisis abates.

    Resources
    Nathalie Stutzmann/Orfeo 55 — Contralto (Amazon)

    Nathalie Stutzmann (Official site)

    • 12 min
    Violinist Gregory Harrington plays with our perception of time

    Violinist Gregory Harrington plays with our perception of time

    Gregory Harrington: Glass Hour; with Mark Shapiro and the Janáček Philharmonic (Estile Records) Jump to CD giveaway form

    One thing we can all agree on is that the pandemic has impacted how we perceive the passage of time. The days seem to go slow, while the year goes by quickly. Maybe you feel as if you’ve been stuck in a Ground Hog Day scenario. Violinist Gregory Harrington decided to explore the concept of time through two works by Philip Glass on his new recording, Glass Hour.

    Harrington, with conductor Mark Shapiro, traveled to the Czech Republic to make the recording with the Janáček Philharmonic.

    Can you talk about the conception of this project?

    Harrington: “I had heard The American Four Seasons a number of years ago, and there are two beautiful recordings. That work really spoke to me and I said, ‘I can actually bring something completely unique to this. Something that hasn't been recorded or that hasn't been said. It doesn't really matter if people like it or not. This recording is purely me.’ That was the first thing. The second part was that this was a 40- to 45-minute concerto. How do we round out the disc?

    “I've loved making transcriptions. I've been making them for the last 10 years, whether it's solo Bach, Johnny Cash or Nine Inch Nails. Having heard The Hours, you always feel a tremendous emotional connection with the work. I decided that the best thing was to create a new work based on The Hours, a concert suite for violin and orchestra, very much in the vein with violinists Nathan Milstein and Jascha Heifetz’s transcriptions from decades ago.

    I was fortunate enough to have worked with Eric Friedman. I studied with him for a number of years, and he was a pupil of Heifetz and Milstein.”

    Can you talk about how Glass’ exploration of time offers you freedom as the performer of his piece The American Four Seasons?

    Harrington: “When Glass recorded and premiered this with violinist Robert McDuffie, they had different ideas of what movements represented which seasons. Glass left this up for the audience to decide for themselves what movement correlates to which season.

    “I know Mark and I have spoken about this a little bit — I had very strong feelings about the second movement being ‘my’ winter. I just thought that feeling of starkness represented winter.

    “The fourth movement is definitely summer, and it has a hustle-and-bustle-virtuoso-nonstop flow to it. It is different for everyone, but I think it's lovely that it's put up to the audience to make their own opinions and conclusions.”

    How is it that the Janáček Philharmonic is so well suited to perform the music of Philip Glass?

    Shapiro: “They had so many intuitions about how they wanted to play and sound. There was one moment where we were trying to elicit a certain mood of tenderness. I looked at the cellist, who was a bit grumpy-looking, and I asked the interpreter what the Czech word was for lullaby. The cellist recognized the word and he just melted. The next time he played it it had such humanity.”

     To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


    Watch now









    You must be 13 or older to submit any information to American Public Media. The personally identifying information you provide will not be sold, shared, or used for purposes other than to communicate with you about things like our programs, products and services. See Terms of Use and Privacy. This giveaway is subject to the Official Giveaway Rules.

    Note: Due to the coronavirus quarantines, we cannot send physical product at this time. Winners will be notified at the conclusion of the giveaway and will receive their prize as soon as possible after the crisis abates.

    Resources
    Gregory Harrington: Glass Hour; with Mark Shapiro and the J

    • 29 min
    Gil Shaham finds friendship in two violin concertos

    Gil Shaham finds friendship in two violin concertos

    Violinist Gil Shaham teams up with the cellist and conductor of the Knights, Eric Jacobsen, to forge a friendship through their new album, Beethoven, Brahms: Violin Concertos.

    • 39 min
    Pat Metheny enters the world of classical guitar

    Pat Metheny enters the world of classical guitar

    Jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny learned guitar the informal way, by ear, but he worked with classically trained musicians on his new album, 'Road to the Sun.'

    • 48 min
    Daniil Trifonov reconnects with his Russian past

    Daniil Trifonov reconnects with his Russian past

    Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov is used to traveling and performing as an international soloist. During the global pandemic, he's been staying close to home, but among live and streamed concerts, he has released a new recording that highlights Russian composers from about 1880 to 1925, 'The Silver Age.'

    • 19 min

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