June 2, 2020
There are times in our lives that are not conducive to optimism and good cheer. And while I had thought that this latest round of streaming recommendations would be quite differently focused, events have forced me to take a different tack. June 2 has been a day of reflection and communion, but surely that will not be finished in a day. So here’s a somewhat more sober streaming list in the spirit of the time:
New York Philharmonic clarinetist Anthony McGill started off a classical day of reflection with the hashtag #TakeTwoKnees. He gave a brilliant interpretation of “America the Beautiful,” which you definitely should look up. Other musicians have taken up the call, and the thread leads to this beautiful piece by John Steinmetz lovingly performed by the Égide Duo.
The Sphinx Organization has linked to this powerful piece by one of its alumni, Joel Thompson, The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, in a 2017 performance with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eugene Rogers, with the participation of the University of Michigan Glee Club.
This section wouldn’t be complete without Sam Cooke’s classic “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Here’s an inventive arrangement from violinist Elena Urioste and multi-instrumentalist Tom Poster
Les Introuvables de YouTube Channels
One of SFCV’s favorite musicians gave a mini-recital for NPR’s Tiny Desk (At Home) Concerts. Here’s Lara Downes in numbers from her recent album Some of These Days tickling the not-ivories:
In a rare break from the brand new, Volti performed and shared the startling work of Ruth Crawford Seeger in 2018’s Bard Music West Festival, “The World of Henry Cowell.” In the third movement of Three Chants for Women’s Chorus, “To a Kind God,” there are 14 separate parts combined in nontonal harmony. It’s fantastic, check it out:
One Found Sound, the fantastic young orchestra started by 20-somethings a few years ago play an amazing version of Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together. The music starts at 21:50, but you may want to listen to the five minutes previous to hear the introduction by the orchestra’s founding musicians.
Voices of Silicon Valley, amazingly enough, produced this video of music about social change and resistance just before the tragedy occupying our minds right now. It consists of Butterfly, by I’lana Cotton, “MLK,” by U2, in an arrangement originally for the King’s Singers, and Moms of Silicon Valley, by Monica Houghton, commissioned by VOSV in 2015. Stay for the whole 20-minute concert if you can, and don’t skip the introduction (my advice).
Singer/ songwriter Daniella Cotton has just dropped a new album, A Different War, which I would really encourage you to take a listen to. Here she is, from isolation, singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
OK, let’s not forget to stay active and love each other. As a sendoff, here is men’s chorus Chanticleer with a cover of “Distance” by singer/ songwriter Emily King. For enjoyment only. Promise.