is a 30 year old composer, violinist, and singer. Yesterday, she also became the youngest person ever, and one of the few women, to receive the Pulitzer Prize for music
for her composition Partita for 8 Voices
. The work features four baroque inspired movements that were influenced by the violin music of Bach, and yet despite the baroque title, Partita is still thoroughly modern. The Pulitzer jury described
it as a "highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects." [more inside]
Next week, for the first time in 22 years, PBS will televise
the four dramas of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle
on consecutive nights - a rare opportunity to encounter in the manner intended "the most ambitious and most profound work of art ever created
". [more inside]
Combining the architectural grace of Bach with the sprightly melodicism of Mozart, the 555 keyboard sonatas (3 MB PDF)
of Domenico Scarlatti
are a cornucopia of exquisite music*
. The first musician to record
all of them was the colorful Scott Ross
- who died of AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of 38. Here
he performs one of the masterpieces, K.209, in Le Château de Maisons-Laffitte
on a harpsichord
built by David Ley
. [more inside]
In 95 years of life, Carl Ruggles composed only 84 minutes of music - including his masterpiece for orchestra, "Sun-Treader"
. Charles Seeger called it "dissonant counterpoint". Charles Ives called it simply "strong, masculine music". In 1980, Michael Tilson Thomas recorded all of it for a long-out-of-print 2 LP set that has never been reissued on CD. Today, with almost none of the music from this significant American composer commercially available in any form, the Internet Archive has performed a valuable cultural service by hosting a 24-bit lossless rip of the Tilson Thomas set. It is powerful stuff
In their 25 year career San Fransisco-based Kronos Quartet
might be most famous for creating the go-to dramatic movie trailer music
but they've recently courted controversy
with their latest album, 9/11, with Steve Reich
(NPR First Listen
). The album is another in a long line of collaborations with composers such as Phillip Glass
, Terry Riley
, and Pēteris Vasks.
And like any good instrumental ensemble, they've covered Hendrix
, Sigur Ros
, and Tom Waits
. Oh, and they've been on Sesame Street. [more inside]
Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" arranged for 8 pianos
- performed by Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Claude Frank, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, James Levine
, Mikhail Pletnev, and Staffan Scheja. [more inside]
Richard Grayson is a (now retired) composer and classical improviser
. To give you just a taste, Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries"
in the style of a Tango, "Heart and Soul"
a la Mahler, "Take the A Train"
as a Chopin Funeral March.