classical Archive

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

Tesla Quartet: Alternating Current Works and Classics

In 1945, Austrian composer Hugo Kauder’s “String Quartet 4” had its American debut at Black Mountain College, the experimental liberal arts institution that flourished from 1933 to 1957. Its faculty included some of the era’s most prominent thinkers, including Buckminster Fuller and Merce Cunningham. Today, a string quartet is inspired by the work of another

Hendersonville Chamber Music

Hendersonville Chamber Music got its start about 10-12 years ago; the non-profit group is an offshoot of the Swannannoa Chamber Music Festival. From the beginning, events routinely drew 75 to 100 people, says the group’s director, Howard Bakken. But for many years the group kept a relatively low profile. “I’ve been in Hendersonville for years,”

Hundred-word Reviews: New Releases

There’s quite a massive stack of new (or at least new-when-I got-’em) releases here at Musoscribe World HQ. Time to review them. 6-String Drag – Top of the World (Schoolkids Records) This Raleigh-based group was at the forefront of the Americana scene, back when it didn’t even have a name (some called it alt-country). After

Hundred-word Reviews: Reissues, Archival Releases, Compilations

My shelf full of albums to be reviewed has run out of space. So once again it’s time for a raft of hundred-word reviews. All sixteen titles in this roundup are reissues, compilations and/or archival releases. 6-String Drag – High Hat (Schoolkids Records) Before Americana was coined as a genre, there was alt-country. Combining rock

Album Review: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo — Mozartistic

At its best, kid-hop is a family friendly version of hip-hop, with lyrics full of universal appeal. Because while not everyone can identify with slice-of-life reality depicted in some rap and hip-hop, everyone has been a kid. Many still are. And at its best, kid-hop takes the form of the music made by sometime Asheville