Sunday, May 9, 2021

Classical music podcast initially to flourish, at last

Classical music has surprisingly slowed down the adoption of podcasting, a medium ideally suited to illuminating its voice and stories.

But something changed in the past year, due to epidemics and the music industry discovering new platforms due to live performances: classical and opera podcasts are flourishing.

Established people have evolved; “Aria Code,” Hosted by cross-genre luminaries Rhiannon Giddens, it has found a new depth of poetry and resonance, and by conductor Joshua Wellerstein “Sticky Notes” Experimenting with an approach to score analysis. Like others, have joined the field “On a Personal Note,” by the Cleveland Orchestra Which began with Franz Velser-Most last April, when he was loudly contemplating the final ensemble of the ensemble before closing its hall.

One also breaks new ground: “Mission: Commission,” Presented by Miller Theater at Columbia University. Most classical podcasts take an anthology approach, with each episode focusing on a specific task or recording. But this Miller series, which began April 13, follows the three creators over the course of six weeks as they create smaller pieces, which will conclude on May 18.

Rarely are audiences given such insight into a composer’s process. New works may be given a brief introduction from the stage, a program note or some advance press. What is often lost is the creation story – hiccups and dead ends, the thrill of discovery. And a collection of audio diaries and interviews with Miller Theater Executive Director Melissa Smee is central to “Mission: Commissioning”.

In a way, the concept is an extension of Miller’s invaluable Composer Portraits series, which dedicates an entire program to a soloist, often with on-stage dialogue. The composers on the podcast are Marcos Balter, Courtney Bryan and Augusta Reid Thomas – artists with substantial differences in temperament, style and location to demonstrate that no two avenues for the premiere are the same.

They introduce themselves in the first episode with samples of their music. Thomas, known as Gusty, describes his practice as a kind of captured improvisation, while Bryan emphasizes the importance of collaboration and Baylor describes his work as nonlinear , Which he believes may conflict with the linear narrative of a typical witness.

The first episode is suspiciously optimistic, a feeling that does not completely change in later installments but is complicated by the natural fluctuations of the construction. Thomas, after realizing that his piece is coming together, leaves a part of it after about 80 hours of work; Later, she shared that when she is writing something, “It takes over my whole self,” and it is done when she can finally sleep at night.

Bryan, who is composing a duet for himself (on piano) and trombonist Andre Murchison, takes his time. The two players trade voice memos, making for some of the show’s most engaging and poignant moments. They share the same words such as bliss, such as meditation that passes through the realization, such as “experiencing life as it is hard to feel unattainable joy.” They render numbers as musical improvisation. The title of his piece is titled “Truth”.

“Mission: Commission” is not the only podcast to feature Brian, who was recently a guest on Essential “Triloki” – A show that changed its appearance during the epidemic, left the American public media and became the property of its hosts, Garrett McQueen and Scott Blancancy.

“Triloquy” has always paid attention to classical music that is both critical and caring. But its mission was refreshed as the region was compelled by the assassination of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement to face its failures in racial representation. (Last September, McQueen Was fired from his job as a radio host When he broke the rules for American Public Media in an effort to diversify the programming of “Music Through the Night”.

McQueen and Blenkship are agitators – sometimes carelessly, with dubious factual claims that might otherwise undercut strong arguments. However, it is thrilling to see his passion, his open mind and his ubiquitous approach to music. And McQueen conducts his interviews with fearless candor; Like many conversations on the podcast, recently one with baritone Will Leverman about code-switching in classical music venues – “You have to reduce your blackness in a way,” says Liverman – to industry leaders and listeners. It is necessary to listen equally.

Titled “Beginner’s Mind,” it is a memoir and a manifesto for a better world through music – an idea that seems hopelessly succulent but somehow believable coming from Ma, Always inspiring wells of comfort and hope. He recalls formal experiences such as immigration to the United States as a child; Meeting pianist Emanuel X at Juliard School as a teenager; And awakening to the possibilities of cooperation around the world, due to which His silkroad project.

Finally, Ma is invoking an early hero of his own, Pablo Cassells, who thought of himself as a human being, a musician second and only a third cellist. “I know, perhaps for the first time, that I had to go through each of the chapters that I am.” “I had to learn cello to become a musician, and it was only through decades of musical exploration that I understood my responsibility as a human being.”

This is not meant to convey a soulful elegance with spoken word and soundtrack interwoven with how the music differs from Ma’s mind and personality. In this context, the recording that follows – a solo arrangement of Dvorak’s melody that inspired “Goin Home” – lands more powerfully (and less cheesily) as an encore in Carnegie Hall.

Nevertheless a version of “Beginners Mind” can be displayed there. As a live concert return, artists and presenters should not forget the lesson of adhering to epistemic restrictions. Streamed programs, In becoming like magazine documentaries, Are talkative and acceptable. The ensemble alarm sound has already introduced a model to take this style to the stage with it “Live Podcast” Multimedia Show It brilliantly blasted the music of Hans Abrahamsen, John Adams and Giorgi Ligeti.

Classical music has always been a natural fit for podcasting. And podcasting, it turns out, may be appropriate for concert halls.

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