arts 05.27.08

The Orchestra

[Please see note in the radar section about what happened to MUG last week]

Metropolis Ensemble isn't just the hippest classical gang in the city; the musicians who play with them are also some of New York's best. So when we heard that the musicians were excited about the premiere of Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, composed by Ryan Francis (pictured), we knew we were in for a treat. And so it proved, a work that alternated between challenging and achingly beautiful, concluding with a propulsive endorphin rush that nearly lifted us out of seats. (Pianist Anna Polonsky deserves special mention for her exceptional playing.) You can learn more about Mr. Francis on his MySpace page. (Would Mozart have had a MySpace page if he could have? Probably.) And you can hear a complete live recording of the Piano Concerto, free, courtesy of Mr. Francis and the Metropolis Ensemble here.

Distinguished NYC clarinetist Jon Manasse teamed up with equally esteemed pianist Jon Nakamatsu for a recording of Brahms: Clarinet Sonata No. 1 and 2, earning rave reviews. Available on iTunes.

Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, and other composers get the New York Trumpet Ensemble treatment, which the All Music Guide guide calls "a blast." Impossible to listen to East St. Louis Toodle-Oo or Cornet Chop Suey without smiling. iTunes.

Performances by the finest trombone players in New York, Los Angeles, and London are captured on Absolute Trombone II. You can hear three tracks here.

One of the world's great drummers, Ignacio Berroa, is offering private drum lessons for a limited time. Dizzy Gillespie said that Berroa is "the only Latin drummer in the world, in the history of American music that intimately knows both worlds; his native Afro-Cuban music as well as Jazz…"

Highly-regarded violinist Stephanie Chase performs with the Young Symphonic Ensemble of the Children's Orchestra on May 29th, 8pm, at Carnegie Hall. They'll perform Beethoven's Prometheus Overture, Op. 43, Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.

MUG has written before about Adam Grabois and his Reflex Editions label. This time out, the cellist has teamed up with violinist Deborah Wong to record a superb new CD of duos for violin and cello by Bohuslav Martinu, Maurice Ravel and Zoltan Kodály.

Psych folk harpist, for lack of a better description, Joanna Newsom, has earned a devoted following and rave reviews for her distinctive albums. About her most recent full-length recording, Ys, PopMatters wrote that it was "a singular work of art whose power will only grow over time."

Is Mercury in retrograde? Or did the dudes who maintain our email server get some new weed in? Either way, we had a meltdown last week, but if you're reading this, we're back. We're repeating the last MUG we tried to send—even though everyone whose email begins with 'a'—the start of the database—has received the email already (in some cases, multiple copies). Very irritating for them. But other MUG readers did not receive it at all. Very irritating for us. So we're racking it up again today, and we're happy to be back with you.



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