Featured Album: Rachel Grimes’ The Clearing

Rachel Grimes The Clearing

In her second full-length studio album, Rachel Grimes offers a contemplative soundscape of chamber music in The Clearing. The composer/pianist is joined by collaborators from Louisville, and from the Amsterdam Sinfoniette, cellist Helen Money and sound designer Scott Morgan (LOSCIL). Listen to some of the music below and watch a video from Grimes’ members-only performance here at Classical 90.5.

Rachel Grimes and Ensemble perform at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on June 26th as part of a presentation through the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

Video: Rachel Grimes Members-Only

RGrimes green chair smile crop

A Seamless Journey

Dobrinka_Takabova_Interview_2

The Concerto for Cello and Strings by Dobrinka Tabakova was written in 2008. It had its premiere with cellist Kristine Blaumane and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Blaumane also recorded the work for an ECM album dedicated to Tabakova’s music.

Dobrinka Tabakova was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in 1980. She wrote her first composition when she was 8 years old. After her family moved to London, she attended the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She is in great demand now with commissions being requested from all over the world. Tabakova has written concertos for viola and piano solo as well.

Although the concerto is in three movements, the composer prefers to think of it as “one seamless form- a journey.” The first movement, titled “Turbulent,” presents folk-like melodies mixed with powerful flourishes reminiscent of Bartok.

The second movement, “Longing,” is slow and plaintive as the cello quietly emerges out of the orchestra’s droning with long, steady notes. The strings begins to play in a minimalist style while the solo instrument soars about the undulation of its counterparts.

Thompson Street Opera Company Wraps Up 2015 Season

Thompson Street Opera Company concludes its third season of productions this weekend with Eric Lindsay‘s opera “Cosmic Ray and the Amazing Chris” at Walden Theatre. The company’s executive director Claire DiVizio spoke with Classical 90.5’s Daniel Gilliam about the history of Thompson Street Opera and their last run for the season.

Clips from the premiere production

A Contemporary Collaboration

Hilary Hahn

Many of the most memorable classical compositions were the result of the collaboration between the composer and the artist. One recent example is the Violin Concerto by Jennifer Higdon. Violinist Hilary Hahn was a pupil of Higdon’s at The Curtis Institute of Music. Their relationship and shared experiences are reflected in the concerto written for Hahn.

The first movement is entitled “1726” which is the address of the Curtis Institute where the composer first met Hahn. With the address in mind, Higdon used the intervals of unisons, 7ths, and 2nds, throughout the movement.

The second movement, “Chaconni”, is the calm middle movement of the work. This title comes from the word “chaconne”. A chaconne is a chord progression that repeats throughout a section of music. Higdon supplied several chaconnes for this movement allowing the soloist to play with select members of the orchestra.

The finale is entitled “Fly Forward”. Jennifer Higdon created a virtuosic ending to show off the soloist’s skills.

Jennifer Higdon won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for her concerto. Watch Hilary Hahn and Jennifer Higdon talk about their collaboration in this video recorded right after the work’s premiere.