classical Archive

Album Review: Chick Corea – Chick Corea Plays

The pandemic and its resultant shutdowns may have (for a time) put a stop to live music performances, but after a brief pause in March and April, it seems to have done little to slow the release of new material. The manner in which albums can be created outside a traditional studio (and often by

Guitarist Laurence Juber Connects the Dots Between Classical, Folk and the Beatles

Laurence Juber was already an accomplished and in-demand session musician before he got the call to join Paul McCartney’s band, Wings. And although he was a member of the group for a comparatively short period – from 1978 until the band’s dissolution in 1981 – the influence of the former Beatle would loom large in

The Ragazzi Boys Chorus in Pandemic Era: Alone Yet Together

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, top first priorities should be health and safety, and taking care of basic needs. But once those items are addressed, maintaining some semblance of normalcy is important as well. Grammy Award winning Ragazzi Boys Chorus has made great creative strides in that regard: while group rehearsals are out

Presto: Deep Purple’s ‘Concerto for Group and Orchestra’ at 50

Looking back on rock history, it’s clear that the concept of rock/orchestral hybridization was fashionable for a time. Most rock listeners are familiar (and then some) with Days of Future Passed, the debut album by a reinvented lineup of Birmingham, England beat group The Moody Blues; that 1967 LP brought together rock and symphonic textures

Copland: Communist Composer?

Responsible for some of the most important works in 20th century American classical music, Aaron Copland earned the label often applied to him: the Dean of American Composers. Despite his stature, Copland was red-baited: in 1953 he was called in front of Congress. his activities and sympathies that led to that encounter are highlighted during

Mike Mills’ Rock/orchestral Hybrid

Note: I’ve written a number of pieces ( links: [1] [2] [3] ) based on interviews with former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills. Here’s another. — bk Mike Mills is best known as the bassist in R.E.M. From the band’s formation in Athens, Georgia in 1980 to its amicable dissolution in 2011, Mills sang backing/harmony vocals

More Lifting Up Than Crossing Over: Soprano Superstar Sarah Brightman

Sarah Brightman is one of the leading figures in classical vocal music today. Carefully maintaining the sophistication of the genre, Brightman has nonetheless managed to achieve superstar status; to date the soprano singer has sold more than 35 million albums; that figure doesn’t even include sales of 1987’s Phantom of the Opera cast soundtrack, responsible

Frank is Sleeping: Zappa’s ‘The Yellow Shark’ at 25

By the time The Yellow Shark appeared on record store shelves in November 1993, fans knew that the end was very near for Frank Zappa. The iconoclastic composer-musician who often quoted the words of one of his heroes, Edgard Varèse (“The present-day composer refuses to die!”) would succumb to prostate cancer a mere month after

Album Review: Chris Lastovicka – Fortune Has Turned (Remixed)

The Book of Job, from the Old Testament (or the Ketuvim of the Tanahk, if you like) might not seem the most uplifting subject matter upon which to base a modern classical work. But that’s precisely what New York composer-pianist Chris Lastovica has done for the opening track of his six-piece Fortune Has Turned (Remixed).

Baritone Sidney Outlaw: “Do things that reflect the times.”

Sidney Outlaw is a highly accomplished and in-demand vocalist. Born and raised in Brevard, the Grammy Award-nominated singer has more than two dozen high-profile operas to his credit, and has brought his rich and sonorous baritone to stages from Juilliard to Carnegie Hall, from Montserrat to Russia. His extensive repertoire includes works by Mahler, Gershwin