Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exclusive Sharon Isbin Interview

Sharon Isbin is one of the great guitarists. Her repertoire is vast and her discography enormous. Isbin’s newest album, Guitar Passions, features some of her favorite music from Spain and Latin America. But Guitar Passions is unique because it also features her performing with some of her favorite guitarists from the worlds of classical, jazz and rock.

We sat down with Sharon to discuss the album. Read the full interview on our site!

Plus, we're offering Guitar Passions and 9 other fantastic classical guitar albums 20% off! Click to see the list of titles.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Exclusive EP from New York Polyphony

Take three Gregorian chant melodies sung by the acclaimed early music vocal ensemble New York Polyphony and have six visionary artists remix them. The result? Devices and Desires, a specially priced Ariama-exclusive album that puts a 21st century spin on early music.

Check out the EP at Ariama

Next week the ensemble will be recording a new album in Sweden and will be sending Ariama exclusive videos from the studio!

Be sure to check back in early October for updates.

Monday, September 26, 2011

You Know you're a classical music aficionado when...

Do you have multiple recordings of the same Mozart symphony? Stand at the stage door in the rain to get a glimpse of your favorite singer? You might be a classical music aficionado.

Take a look at our list of the telltale signs and see if you agree!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baroque Brilliance from Les Arts Florissants

Atys and chorus
How often do you step out into the night air after nearly five hours of music and wish that you could go back into the hall and listen for five hours more? If you were one of the fortunate few who had tickets for the Les Arts Florissants production of Jean Baptiste Lully’s opera Atys at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare's Sing Freedom - Exclusive Interview

Ariama: You said in your liner notes that spirituals are typically performed as encores or contrast pieces in concerts. Why aren’t more choirs doing full programs of this music?

CHJ: I think about what Dvorak said so beautifully about spirituals, “they are the foundation of all American music.” If it’s true, and I firmly subscribe to his view, we can’t play lip service to the music. When you start to know this music and fully immerse yourself in it, you see that spirituals make perfect sense for a full concert. I feel quite passionate about this and hope that we can see more performances of them.

Editor's Choice - Top 10 New Releases 20% Off - ends 10/4/11

There are three more months left in the year, but we have already selected some albums that we think are front-runners for the best of 2011. From Lorraine Hunt Leiberson's impeccable performance of Berlioz's Les nuits d'ete to Rachel Barton Pine's virtuoso Capricho Latino, there's something for all musical tastes on our sales list.

Check out his list to see what you might have missed and what you'll want to pick up for your holiday shopping.

OFFER ENDS 10/04/11

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Album Review: Mendelssohn: Double Concerto; Piano Concerto

In 1840 Robert Schumann called Felix Mendelssohn “the Mozart of the nineteenth century, the most brilliant musician to penetrate the contradictions of the age and the first to reconcile them.” The two works on this recording, the Concerto for piano and strings in A minor and Double Concerto for piano, violin and orchestra in D minor, were written by the teenage Mendelssohn as he approached musical maturity, a growth spurt that would result in the Octet for strings and Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout is joined by violinist Gottfried von der Goltz and the Freiburger Barockorchester in the two concertos.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five for the Weekend – New Productions at The Metropolitan Opera

The first opera performance I attended was a 1974 production of Wagner’s Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera.  The cast included Jess Thomas (Parsifal), Janis Martin (Kundry), John Macurdy (Gurnemanz) and Thomas Stewart (Amfortas) with William Steinberg conducting. Opera hit me like a narcotic and I’ve been addicted ever since. The current Metropolitan Opera house in Lincoln Center opened on September 16, 1966 and I can think of no better way to honor that historic day than with recordings of operas that are receiving new productions this season.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2011 – Coda

Sibelius monument, Helsinki
Hearing Sibelius’s seven symphonies and  violin concerto over just three nights, I was afraid that since I didn’t have much time to absorb each work, the symphonies might all blur together. Thankfully, each Sibelius symphony is so unique that it never happened. Here are some final musings about my three days and one morning with Janne. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Album Review: Boccherini

Click here to sample and buy the album!

How many pieces of chamber music do you know with castanets in them? We have one here: the brilliant Luigi Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet No. 6 in D major. The quintet is one of four works on this delightful album by Cuarteto Casals. The album takes its title from Boccherini’s innovative foray into programmatic chamber music, the String Quintet in C Major.

Italian by birth, Boccherini was a musician at the court of the Spanish Infante Luis. When the Infante was banished from Madrid, Boccherini accompanied him to a town near Ávila and composed the quintet to cheer up his boss. Boccherini sketched out a detailed program with the quintet imitating the sounds of bells, drum-rolls, marches and more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2011 -- Music and Technology

How to sum up two days of glorious music? That’s one of the challenges of being at the Lahti Sibelius Festival, absorbing it all, beingready for more the next day, and then communicating what you have experienced. The festival ended on Sunday and I’ll have more to say about the inspired performances as well as providing a preview of next season’s festival in my next post. For now I want to share a few thoughts about the miracle that's taking place in this quiet Finnish city.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Liszt Performance for the 21st Century

On any pianist’s checklist of most challenging repertoire, you’re likely to find Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor. Performing the piece on the intended instrument is daunting enough; performing it on a violin presents an even greater challenge.

This Saturday, September 10th 2011, violinist Giora Schmidt will attempt just that, with the aid of a few technological tools. Transcribed for violin by Noam Sivan and published in 2007, this will be the first time Sivan's adaptation of the piece will be performed on a concert stage.

To help navigate the non-stop thirty five minute piece, Schmidt will read Listz's masterpiece from an iPad, and control each page turn using a wireless foot pedal.

Ariama asked Giora about his unique presentation and performance, to find out what inspired him to reimagine such an iconic piece.

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2011 – Opening Night

It takes a long time to get to Lahti, Finland. I left my Brooklyn apartment on a Wednesday morning and arrived in my Lahti hotel room a little after 1PM the next day. Feeling ragged and working on about three hours sleep, I was in my seat in the superb Sibelius Hall to hear Okko Kamu conduct the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in Jean Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 by7:30PM. Was it worth it? Let’s put it this way: next time, I wouldn't mind swimming to Lahti to hear this orchestra and conductor perform Sibelius’s music.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Interview With Composer Robert Moran

Trinity Church Wall Street is only a few blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and was perilously close to the terrible events of September 11th 2001. The church commissioned composer Robert Moran to write a piece to mark the 10th anniversary of the national tragedy. The world premiere recording of Moran’s Trinity Requiem, scored for youth choir, organ, harp and strings is now available and Moran took some time to speak with Ariama about his work.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Album Review: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson: A Tribute

This must have been a very difficult album to produce. The consistent brilliance of mezzo-soprano’s Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s Harmonia Mundi recordings certainly must have made the practical task of selecting recordings, by an artist who never sung an unfelt note in her life, a challenge. Then there’s the emotional weight of assessing the career of an artist whose life was tragically brief. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for producer Robina G. Young to put this beautiful album together, but she has made a great one and we are grateful.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five for the Weekend – A Worker’s Playlist

We are coming up on Labor Day, a holiday that’s means many things to many people. For some the Labor Day weekend is the final opportunity to head out to the beach or stoke up the barbecue until next summer. For others it’s a celebration of the dignity of labor and a day of rest. What music would be fitting for Labor Day?  I’m not talking about the music you’d listen to at the beach, but music that says something about workers and their labor. Here are some works about work. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Live Recordings From The Metropolitan Opera

There’s nothing as thrilling as a live performance at the Metropolitan Opera. New thrills are yours to enjoy at home with the latest installment in the electrifying series of Saturday afternoon broadcast recordings taken directly from the Metropolitan Opera’s archives. Freshly re-mastered from their original sources and available on CD for the first time, the series features some of the greatest singers ever to grace the Met stage.