Sunday, April 29, 2012

Concert Review: Sahar Nouri Recital

Iranian pianist, Sahar Nouri, recently graduated from the University of Michigan School of Music with a specialist degree, after studying collaborative piano with the esteemed Martin Katz. She received her master's degree from Arizona State University, and has played at prestigious summer programs such as SongFestAspen Music Festival, and The Music Academy of The West in Santa Barbara. She will be joining Utah Opera in the 2012-2013 season as a young artist pianist coach.

Sahar Nouri, recently performed her final recital at the University of Michigan School of Music on April 7th at 2pm in Britton Recital Hall in the Moore Building, and I was privileged enough, not only to watch it streaming on Ustream (which you can watch here), but also to obtain a beautiful recording of it, which I fully intend to leave at WCBN for everyone to share for our listeners.

The emotional sweep through which Sahar led the audience sparked my imagination again and again during the concert. I could hear the plinking of rain, the burbling streams, the howling winds, and the hooves of racing horses so clearly, without needing her to explain a thing. Listening to Sahar play, I was impressed by the simultaneous control of the music, and the openness expressed through her playing. The subtlety with which Sahar controlled the balance and followed the singers was so comforting; as an educated audience member, I never had to worry about what I was hearing, and could truly relax, which is a rarer occurrence than you would think. And, I admit, sometimes my mind has drifted during concerts, but during Sahar's recital I felt completely enthralled every moment.

Although I wasn't able to attend the concert in-person, the live-stream made it totally accessible, and it is something that I encourage any classical musician to do for their recital or performance. 

Sahar's program was very well-planned, and I was absolutely delighted to see the singers with whom she collaborated. Here's the program:
  1. Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
    1. Auf Flügeln des Gesanges
    2. Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich
    3. Die Liebende schreibt
    4. Neue Liebe
  2. Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
    • Dicterliebe
      1. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
      2. Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
      3. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne
      4. Wenn ich in deine Augen seh'
      5. Ich will meine Seele tauchen
      6. Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome
      7. Ich grolle nicht
      8. Und wüßten's die Blumen, die kleinen
      9. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen
      10. Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen
      11. Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen
      12. Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
      13. Ich hab' im Traum geweinet
      14. Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich
      15. Aus alten Märchen winkt es
      16. Die alten, bösen Lieder
  3. Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
    1. Der Wanderer an den Mond
    2. Die Taubenpost
    3. Wandrers Nachtlied
    4. Auf der Bruck
  4. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
    1. No word from Tom...Quietly, Night (from The Rake's Progress)
  5. William Bolcom (b. 1938)
    1. Toothbrush Time
    2. Amor
    3. Waitin
    4. George
The set by Felix Mendelssohn, performed with soprano Amy Petrongelli, was very new to me, and really set the tone of intimacy for the entire recital. After talking to Sahar, I found out that above all else, she wanted to start with "Auf Flügeln des Gesanges," because the entire idea of her recital was to "take the audience away on wings of song."

If I had a choose a favorite set (which oh my goodness is really hard), I'd have to say that hearing the entirety of the Dichterliebe played with such sensitivity, and such nuance in regards to baritone Jean Bernard Cerin was a very special experience, and not something that a lot people are willing to commit the time and emotional energy to.

The Schubert set, sung by baritone Jonathon Lasch, was the first from which I had heard most of the songs, and "Auf der Bruck" especially was positively explosive. The amount of sensitivity to articulation that Sahar achieved, even within a single run of notes, was mind-blowing.

The aria from The Rake's Progress, sung by soprano Anne Jennifer Nash, popped out the texture brilliantly, and it was evident that Sahar had the piece firmly in her body as she played it. Over the winter semester, Sahar was the coach and pianist for the University's production of 'The Rake's Progress'.

The Bolcom set that Sahar played with mezzo-soprano Sarah Davis, was not only fun to listen to, but fun to watch. Both the singer and pianist seemed to simply be having fun up on stage, and they were able to engage the audience completely.

If I could say one thing about this concert, it would be about how tangible the energy of the performance was, both via the internet, and in the audio recording. Sahar and each singer created a beautiful sense of intimacy with the audience, very much like how I imagine Schumann and his band of friends would have when the Dichterliebe would have been performed. I never felt like she and the singers were performing for themselves, but they were truly performing for their audience, to share something special with the audience, and to give an absolutely professional recital. I can't wait to share this recording with others.

Very soon you will get a complete transcript/audio of an interview that I conducted with Sahar, as well, where we really get down to what it means to collaborate, and what the most important aspects of being a performer really are. Watch for more concert reviews and interviews on my own show, and "Dead White Guys" as well. Stay tuned!

Heidi Madagame, mezzo-soprano, BM Performance from University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Freestailo #30 - 4/11/12

Right Click/Ctrl-Click to Download Freestailo #30 Here

"I didn't know radio could sound like that!"
I had a couple of awesome guests on my show today: DJ Non-James, and my new friend Emily, who were lazing around the station around the time that I got locked out of my apartment and decided to come to the station early. Good thing I did, too, because they gave me a lot of inspiration for my show. It all started when James basically told me he was sabotaging my show. I didn't really know what that meant, but apparently it meant playing multiple vinyls of the same song at slightly different beats, and sometimes playing them backwards by propping them up with shot-glasses and ingenuity.

"Why now?" you might ask. When I was talking with Emily and James, he quoted Manager Ben (who was quoting me), and said, "We should start slapping our listeners in the face with WCBN!" So, we decided do try some crazy things. That's what freeform's about: experimenting. We can do anything at WCBN, and we should take advantage of it way more often. I could theoretically be using 3 vinyl, 3 CDs, 2 computers, 1 VHS, 1 DVD, 1 cassette, and 4 microphones worth of audio. And possible more that I don't know about. To me, that is absolute freedom. The only major rule is that you can't say curse words on air.

This is where I want to hear what you think, listeners. What kind of experimentation would you like to hear? What have been your favorite moments of my show?

[Artist: Song - Album]
  1. Matthew Dear: Reae - EP 1
  2. Selwyn Henry: Maturity - Mondo Soca
  3. Bio Ritmo: La Verdad - La Verdad
  4. Rossy: Mbola Tsara - Island of Ghosts
  5. Rainer Maria: Broken Radio - Look Now, Look Again
  6. Fats Waller: Go Down Moses/Ain't Misbehavin' - The Rarest of Fats Waller
  7. Quentin Tarantino: Interview/"Stuck In The Middle With You" - Truth and Fiction
  8. Sarah Vaughn: Someone To Watch Over Me - The George Gershwin Songbook
  9. Dabrye: Prefuse 73 - Payback
  10. Tony Martin: Autumn Leaves (incorrect) - A Night At The Copacabana
  11. The Red Chord: Nihilist - Fused Together in Revolving Doors
  12. Radiohead: Life In A Glasshouse - Knives Out [Single #2]
  13. Holly Prado: How To Be Nervous/15 Morning Love Stories - Word Rituals
  14. Anonymous 4: Sequence: Stond wel, modder, under roode - The Lily & The Lamb
  15. Featuring Supercat, Jr. Cat, NIcodemus, Jr. Demus: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Crazy - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Crazy
  16. Ruth Wallis: Boobs - Boobs
  17. Yeti: La Java Blanche - Accordion Babes
  18. Meg Christian: Ode To A Gym Teacher - Lesbian Concentrate
  19. The Ukranians: Europa - Kultura
  20. Bayette: Thabo - Mmalo-We
  21. Andreas Vollendender: Caverna Magica - Caverna Magica
  22. Bobby Darin: Dream Lover - Darin at the Copa
  23. Radiohead: Lull - Lost Treasures
  24. Marvin Gaye: Got To Give It Up - Live At The London Palladium
  25. Phillip Glass: Freezing (x2) - Songs From Liquid Days
  26. Brook Benton: The Nearness of You - It's Just A Matter Of Time
  27. The Nighthawks: Sugar Mama - The Nighthawks
  28. The Free Design: An Elegy - Kid Koala & Dynomite D.
  29. Simone Dinnerstein: Aria - Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
The Good/Crazy:
  1. Radiohead "Lost Treasures": I like to think I'm a Radiohead fan, and I couldn't believe there was an album I hadn't heard of, or that it was so good. 
  2. Boobs: Ruth Wallis is a genius. I'm going to play this entire album on the show someday, because every track was pure WCBN gold. Thanks for the tip, Rev. Andrew! 
  3. Phillip Glass x2: At this point in the show, James propped a record on a shot class, turned the needle upside down, and played the record backwards, and did the same to another record, but just an 8th-note or so off. It reminded me of when I played 3 different recordings of "Tuba miram" from Mozart's Requiem back to back. 
The Bad/Ugly:
  1. Dead air: I know there was a moment of dead air. I don't know what happened, but the Macbook I was playing off of just kind of stopped in its tracks in the middle of the first Radiohead song. I pretended like I was playing 4'33" by John Cage. That was a lie. 
  2. Quentin Tarantino Interview: That was a bit of a let-down. I was expecting some layering of the song with the interview, and what I got was 20-seconds of Tarantino, and then the song. Disappointing. 
  3. Lackluster ending: I left the rest of it to James before the next DJ came, but my ending was a I guess. Not that classical music is boring, but I like to end with a bang. 
Finally done with back-updates! Tune in next week!

Freestailo #29 - 4/4/12

Right Click/Ctrl-Click to Download Freestailo #29 Here

Welcome to Freestailo Movie Night Teil Zwei!

"Dayum, gurl. WCBN is the shit."
I think this is the shortest playlist I've ever had, thanks to all of the SUPER long tracks on this list. I was really pleased with 'The Maltese Falcon' movie night, so I figured I'd repeat it with some kung-fu in the mix and see what would happen. It turns out this was pretty different from the show before, despite mostly the same formula. I think I could have done a little more with it, but I like where this train of experimentation is going, don't you? If not, let me know, and I still won't stop until the train has reached full-out crazy. Like this kid.

So anyway, I'm done talking. To the playlist!

[Artist: Song - Album]
  1. Bruce Lee: Enter the Dragon - movie
  2. Various: Gending Bonang Babar Layar - Court Gamelan, Volume II
  3. Koji Asano: Spring Estuary IV - Spring Estuary
  4. Glenn Gould: Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I - The Well-Tempered Clavier
  5. Thomas Schultz: Walking, Walking - Hyo-Shin Ma: All The Noises
  6. COMA: Taciturnity Master - ornamental urban shrubbery
  7. The Cure: Burn - The Crow
  8. Sutekh: urchin - every dot and tittle
  9. Krishnamurthy: Djembe solo - Layopasana 2: Rhythmic Explorations
  10. Kylesa: Delusion on Fire - A 100 Heat Index EP
  11. Kiln: Isthmus - SMM Vol. 1
  12. Two Warriors: Standing Alone - Coova and little-scale
  13. Dexter Gordon & Slide Hampton: My Blues - A Day In Copenhagen
  14. Bootsy Collins: Sound Crack - Ultra Wave
The Well-Tempered Freestailo:
  1. Enter the Dragon: I don't think I really need to explain why this is awesome, but let me break it down for you: kung fu sounds, strange smooth soul music, heavy lines with heavy accents.
  2. Gamelan music: I really loved the gamelan music I found, and I think I'll pull from there in the future, since there seemed to be many volumes of gamelan music to choose from. It integrated well with the beginning of the movie, and then with the Koji Asano stuff. 
  3. The Crow: I had a caller requesting/reminding of the existence of The Crow, and its weird connections to Bruce Lee's death and his son Brandon Lee's death. That went very smoothly with what I was playing, so thanks. 
The Mis-Tempered Freestailo:
  1. When did the movie end?: Yeah I don't know either. I was not paying attention, and if I had been, I would have aurally zoomed in on the ending more. 
  2. Little stability: I felt a bit unstable during this show, I think mostly because there weren't a lot of structured songs to follow throughout, and a lot of the movie was covered up by white noise from the avant-garde music. 
  3. Needs energy: The energy was really placid during the whole show, which was kind of cool, but it needed more moments of high energy to balance out the strangeness. 
We'll be all updated soon guys, so thanks for your patience. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Freestailo #28 - 3/28/12

Right Click/Ctrl-Click to Download Freestailo #28 Here

This is the second movie night I've done on my show (the first being the "We Are The Strange" epic layering). Tonight it came partly out of laziness, but also the itching feeling that I needed to do a longer layering, longer than 30-minutes. The product? One of the best long layerings I've ever done. I enjoyed almost every moment listening back on this, and I would love to do it again. It gave me (and you) a chance to listen to some long tracks that otherwise probably rarely get played, and you got to tune into a radio-drama-esque 2-hours. And even the songs that I ended with after the movie was over integrated pretty well.

I've been wanting to watch The Maltese Falcon, and film noir is something I thought might be the perfect layering opportunity because of the dramatic pauses that I assumed film noir had...which I was correct in assuming.

I would love to hear your opinions about this show, because on my end, it was a very different approach to DJing than I normally take. Usually I grab some stuff, sit for a bit, grab some more stuff, take some requests, etc. This time I pretty much parked it with some limited things that I knew I wanted to use, with some requests. How different does it feel when listening? Do you prefer to listen to longer sets, or shorter sets? 10-minute songs, or 2-minute songs?

[Artist: Song - Album]
  1. The Maltese Falcon - movie
  2. Freiband & Machinefabriek: Oahu 2.1 - Oahu
  3. Joan Baez: Jesse - Diamonds & Rust
  4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Cast: Walk Through The Fire - Once More With Feeling
  5. Fennesz: Black Sea - Black Sea
  6. Neurosis: In The Wind - Given To The Rising
  7. The Budos Band: Crimson Skies - III
  8. Quench: nemm - Punctuated
  9. Patricia Spero: Three Cantigas de Santa Maria - Alfonso el Sabio - Medieval Harp
  10. Kevin Drumm & Losse Marhoug: (track 2) - Blizzard Winds
  11. London Symphony Orchestra: II. Purgatorio - Liszt: Dante Symphony
  12. Cataract: The Dying - Great Days of Vengeance
  13. Les Mystére des Voix Bulgares: Altan Mara - Vol. 3
  14. The OneUps: Donut Lifts (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island) - The OneUps
  15. Cecilia Villar Eljuri: Empuja - Fuertes
  16. knife city: braid - knife city
  17. Escort: Chameleon Chameleon - Escort
  18. Selector Catalogue: Life is Not a Movie - ?????????
  19. Billie Holiday: Everything Happens To Me - Stormy Blues
Everything Happens To Me:
  1. Movie night: I will repeat this in the future. Not only do I get to watch a movie, but you get to LISTEN to a movie without the obligation of watching it. And you get to hear layers. Real life has layers, people. 
  2. Request/Transition: Thanks to my dedicated listener, I got a request to play a song that reminded me of my mother, so I played "Jesse" by Joan Baez. One of the best moments of this show was the transition from "Jesse" by Joan Baez to the Indian classical song. The Indian song had the same musical motif as "Jesse," and might have been in the same key. It was so seamless, and the layering with the movie and those three songs was so truthful as well.
  3. Medieval harp: I really love this moment, because the sparseness of the content was a great contrast to what had happened before. I also love using medieval and renaissance music when I can. 
Nothing Happens To Me:
  1. Movie ending early: I don't think this was really that bad, but I just didn't realize it was so short. *shrugs*
  2. More layering?: The only thing that could have made this better is more experimentation, but I'm not even 
Stay tuned for another update next week for movie-night part 3. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dead White Guys #2 - 3/25/12

Right Click/Ctrl-Click to Download Dead White Guys #2 Here

Stephen Eddy as Shadow (L),
Jonas Hacker as Tom Rakewell (R)
It's been awhile since I've done the classical show, so it feels good to be back! Had Dead White Guys' founder, Peter Grella, here for this show, and I had a lot of fun chatting with him! 

I meant to have this update up waaaay sooner, but c'est la vie de une studiente de musique. The majority of the show today was composed of "The Rake's Progress," which was put on by the University of Michigan as an official production. I went to the show twice--Saturday and Sunday, to see both casts--and I was really pleased with what I saw and heard. 

[Artist: Song - Album]
  1. Cleveland Orchestra: O Fortuna - Orff: Carmina Burana
  2. John Adams: American Berserk - Road Movies
  3. L.A. Phil: Petrushka pt. 1 - Stravinsky: Petrushka/Circus Polka
  4. John Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine - John Adams
  5. Stravinsky: Agon
  6. Stravinsky: Pucinella Overture - Rite of Spring/Pucinella
  7. Vienna State Opera: The Rake's Progress - Stravinsky
  8. The Buthershop Quartet: The Rite of Spring - The Rite of Spring
  9. Vladimir Horowitz: Faure: Nocturne No. 13, Op. 119 - The Horowitz Concerts 1977/1978
  10. Lou Harrison: Threnody for Carlos Chávez - Chamber and Gamelon Works
  11. Arthur Robinstein and Guarneri Quartet: Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 - Dvorak Brahms Piano Quintets
  12. Henry Cowell: Three Anti-Modernist Songs - Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music 1
  13. Salome Kammer: Berstein: I hate music - I Hate Music
  14. Christopher Adler: The Wind Blows Inside - Epilogue For A Dark Day
  15. Morton Feldman: Vertical Thoughts 5 - Only
  16. Matthew Adkins: Ambient Instrumental - [60]Project
  17. University of Michigan Opera Theatre: Act I - Armide
  1. Rake's Progress: 'nuff said. 
  2. Armide: Damn! It was nice to hear this again after singing it sophomore year. Thanks to the listener that suggested playing someone done by the University! 
  3. Frieeeeends: It was awesome to have someone to talk to on the show for more than a few minutes. 
  1. Rake's Progress in Italian: Um, ew. That was atrocious. I'm still happy I played it, 
  2. Levels: I didn't realize how quiet the music was. With headphones on it comes through really clearly, but when I was listening back to it, you could barely hear the music. I'll remember that. 
  3. Less talking?: Although I really enjoyed talking to Peter, I wonder if it was too much talking. Is that something you want on a Sunday morning, or would you rather have straight music?
More updates to come! Thanks for sticking with me!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Freestailo #27 - 3/21/12

 Right Click/Ctrl-Click to Download Freestailo #27 Here

It's been a long time guys, and I'm still trying to catch up on these blog posts while memorizing things for my senior recital hearing and write a 6-page paper on a Debussy Prelude while trying to make time to see the University Production's opera "The Rake's Progress" and possibly sleeping.

I recently went to my friend Sonya Schumann's recital, which was absolutely mind-blowingly amazing, and wanted to play at least one of the songs that she had played, so I chose "Baba-Yaga" by Modest Mussorgsky from "Pictures at an Exhibition," which is based on a series of paintings by Viktor Hartmann. Baba-Yaga is described as a "Hut on Fowl's Legs," and so I got curious and tried to find a few depictions of this mythical beast. It turns out that the real monster isn't the walking house, but rather the witch that lives inside the walking house. "Baba" in Russian is a woman old enough to marry (in this case a hag), and  "yaga" is a hut that encompasses a statue

I also wanted to correct myself from my show: the song by Coldplay I was thinking of is not "Strawberry Hill," but "Strawberry Swing" and not at all like "Blueberry Hill."

Playlist time.

[Artist: Song - Album]
  1. Darkthrone: Blacksmith of the North (Keep That Ancient Fire) - Dark Thrones and Black Flags
  2. Sounds From The Ground: Drawn To The Woman - Three A.D. Future Music From The United Kingdom
  3. Preacher Boy: On And On It Goes - The Devil's Buttermilk
  4. The Ink Spots: Blueberry Hill - The Ink Spots
  5. Ibro: Wa casser - Eh! Wotan
  6. The Mulgrew Miller Trio: One's Own Room - Live At Yoshi's vol. 2
  7. Death Cab For Cutie: I Will Possess Your Heart - Narrow Stairs
  8. The Delgados: The Light Before We Land - Hate
  9. David Bowie: Love You Till Tuesday - Love You Till Tuesday
  10. David Medoff: Gevald! Di Bananas - From Avenue A To The Great White Way
  11. Ratatat: Montanita - Classics
  12. New Music Studium: Poulenc: Miel de Narbonne - Le Bal Masque
  13. Of Montreal: Spiteful Intervention - Paralytic Stalks
  14. Philharmonia Orchestra: Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre - Symphony No. 3
  15. Carlos Montoya: Soleá; Bulería por Soleá - Flamenco
  16. Miranda July: The Co-Star - The Binet-Simon Test
  17. Fourtet: Angel Echoes (Caribou Remix) - Angel Echoes + Remixes
  18. Randy Grief: A Furious Passion - Alice in Wonderland pt. 4
  19. Noriko Ogawa: IX. The Hut on Fowl's Legs, "Baba-Yaga" - Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
  20. Handsome Family: Where The Birch Tree Leans - Through The Trees
  21. Benümb: Clouding the Source of Salvation - By Means Of Upheaval
  22. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: Moonlight in Vermont - Ella and Louis
  23. DJ Vadim: Fear Feats ft. Emo and Syrus - The Soundcatcher
  1. Stalker request: No, I don't mean I got a request from a stalker. I mean that I got a request from a listener for a song about stalkers! This is when I know my listeners understand me, because looking for requests like this is like a game. A puzzle. A post-tonal musical analysis. A proof. This occupied my mind for quite awhile.
  2.  The Ink Spots: Dayum boi. I like your style. I also like that the title of the song was "Blueberry Hill," which reminds me of the Coldplay song "Strawbery Swing" by the cadence of the title. I hope that's not a coincidence.
  3. Transitions: In general I think that area was really smooth today. 
  1. Very little direction: I didn't have anywhere I was really going with this, and I felt like I was mostly playing from song to song, which is rare for me. I usually have some small thread that I tie a few songs in, even if it's only for me.
  2. Lots 'o' long songs: Part of this is because...I wanted to play long songs. I was lazy for awhile and I wanted time to find songs.
  3. Loss for words: I was not doing so well with the words and sentences today, so thanks for putting up with me. Hahaha. 
Until next time, chaps.