Marin Alsop appointed first female artistic director of top Vienna orchestra – The Guardian

The American conductor Marin Alsop has been appointed artistic director of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, becoming the first woman to take up the prestigious role.

Alsop, one of the world’s leading conductors, and the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, said she was honoured to be assuming the post in Vienna, which she called “the seat of classical music”.

Acknowledging how groundbreaking the appointment was for the classical music capital of the world, which has often been shockingly slow to welcome female musicians, let alone promote them to leadership roles, Alsop said she welcomed the chance to “push the envelope” for women in music. But she said she hoped the time would soon come when being “the first woman” would no longer be news.

“I’m very honoured to be the first,” she admitted, “but I’m also rather shocked that we can be in this year, in this century, and there can still be ‘firsts’ for women.”

Good for her.

The Vienna music world has frequently made headlines for its fusty attitude towards women. Only 20 years ago the Vienna Philharmonic bowed to public pressure and announced it would officially accept female musicians for the first time. What it was reluctant to admit was that it had had a female musician — the harpist Anna Lelkes, for the previous 26 years, but had never acknowledged her presence, and only allowed for her hands to be visible during television broadcasts. Even after officially opening up to women, the orchestra was extremely slow to appoint them and even today it remains overwhelmingly male dominated.

Ah, yes, the Vienna Misogynistic Orchestra…

Source: Marin Alsop appointed first female artistic director of top Vienna orchestra | Music | The Guardian

The Next Track, Episode #80 – John Cage

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxWe welcome Laura Kuhn, executive director of the John Cage Trust, to discuss the life and legacy of composer John Cage.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #80 – John Cage.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

ECM Records Now Available on Apple Music

ECM Records is now available on Apple Music. You can stream their excellent roster of jazz, classical, and world music (which they call “transcultural) on this and other streaming services.

Most of ECM’s presence is in the Jazz genre, where Apple is highlighting featured playlists, other playlists, and “new releases” – new to Apple Music, not recently released albums. (As you can see, the first is the landmark Köln Concert by Keith Jarrett.)

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ECM is one of those rare labels that has their own sound; something you don’t find much any more. Check out music by Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheney, Jan Garbarek, Bill Frisell, and so many more. This 10-hour playlist will give you a taste of the ECM sound.

While ECM isn’t as visible in the classical section, they have an excellent line-up of classical recordings, including works by Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt, and the wonderful recordings of pianist Andràs Schiff. On of my all-time favorite classical recordings on ECM is the Hilliard Ensemble’s 1989 recording of music by Pérotin, a haunting recording of early polyphonic music.

This link will take you to the ECM “curator” page, where you can browse their catalog.

So, stream away that great jazz and classical music that has made ECM one of the great record labels.

The Next Track, Episode #78 – Alexander Joel on the Role of the Conductor in Classical Music

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxConductor Alexander Joel talks about the profession of conductor for operas and orchestras.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #78 – Alexander Joel on the Role of the Conductor in Classical Music.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

Classical Box Sets for Christmas 2017

It’s that time of year again. Classical record labels released big box sets to tempt music fans, and many of them offer very interesting collections of recordings at nice prices (at least the per-disc price). Here’s a roundup of some of the box sets that I’ve found interesting. (Note that some of these recordings may not yet be listed on Amazon US.)

Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein Remastered is a 100-disc set of Bernstein’s recordings on Columbia records (now Sony). The box is the now-familiar shape of the big Sony sets; nearly cubic, with a hardcover book, and with original album covers. With some 230 separate works, it features recordings that were previously released in Leonard Bernstein: The Symphony Edition and Leonard Bernstein Edition – Concertos & Orchestral Works. Those sets totaled 140 discs, so this new set is just a selection, and not his complete recordings. The discs are “remastered from their original 2 and 3-track analogue tapes. This has allowed for the creation of a natural balance (for example, between the orchestra and solo instruments) that brings the quality of these half-century-old recordings, excellent for their time, up to the standards of today’s audiophiles.” (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

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The Next Track, Episode #69 — Brian Brandt of Mode Records on John Cage, Morton Feldman, and the Music Business

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxWe talk with Brian Brandt of Mode Records about releasing recordings of avant garde music, and the difficulties of the music business.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #69 — Brian Brandt of Mode Records on John Cage, Morton Feldman, and the Music Business.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

The Next Track, Episode #66 – Minimalist Pianist R. Andrew Lee

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxPianist R. Andrew Lee joins us to discuss the minimal, and often very long, works of music he performs and records.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #66 — Minimalist Pianist R. Andrew Lee.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

Coming Soon: Big Box Set of Recordings by Leonard Bernstein

Yes, Christmas is coming. The record labels are starting to announce their big box sets for this year. As the classical music industry seeks to exploit their back catalog, they come up with plenty of ways to do so and, in many cases, to get fans to buy new editions of music they already own.

One such box is the forthcoming Leonard Bernstein Remastered box set from Sony. With 100 CDs, in the now familiar Sony big box format, with original album sleeves and a large hardcover book, this set features works composed by and conducted by the great American musician. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

Berstein

I’m a big fan of Lenny’s music, and I already have several big box sets. There’s the 80 CD Sony box set from 2014, entitled Concertos & Orchestral Works. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) This contains, as it says, concertos and orchestral works (but not symphonies), and the Bernstein Symphony Edition contains the latter.. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

There are also two sets on DG, the Bernstein Collection, volume one (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) and volume two (Amazon.com, Amazon UK).

A quick glance at the forthcoming set shows that it contains a mixture of recordings from the two previous Sony box sets. However, if each CD contains only the equivalent of one LP, then this set will have maybe half of his recordings.

If you’re a die-hard Lenny fan, you may want this set for the remasterings. If you don’t have the Sony box sets, it’s a must have, but it’s possible that you may have enough Lenny already in other sets. So, as always, with this back-catalogue exploitation, it depends on how interested you are in having everything.

In any case, it’s good to see that Sony is giving more attention to Leonard Bernstein. The current price for this set is pretty steep, but it should come down by the time of release in November. Note that at the time of this writing there’s no price on Amazon.com, but it shows at about £175 on Amazon UK. If past experience is any judge, the price will drop, and pre-ordering it means you’ll get a nice price even if it drops for just one day. (That’s how I generally buy these box sets; I order months in advance, and sometimes there’s a very big price drop, which Amazon honors.)

An aside: for some reason, the Sony Symphony Edition is selling for ludicrous prices: more than £800 and over $1,400. Anyone want to buy mine?

Bravo Guys AGM – Proper Discord

Dear All,

Here are the minutes from the annual general meeting of the International Association of Bravo Guys.

Membership Survey

The preliminary results of our member survey are in, and we’re happy to report that:

35% of our members shout “bravo” before the applause because they can longer contain their appreciation of the performance

53% are indifferent to the actual concert but are engaged in fierce competition with other local members to be the first to shout “bravo”

13% get really frustrated sitting quietly for the length of a concert
4% have a rare form of Tourettes

1% wrote “echolocation” and gave no further details

Andy Doe riffs on a very funny conversation we had during an episode of The Next Track Podcast, discussing the Bravo Guy, who yells out “Bravo!” at the end of every classical concert, before the music fades away.

Source: Bravo Guys AGM | Proper Discord