News & Reviews
- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Stanford Live 2014–15 Season Includes Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer, Toumani Diabaté, Emmylou Harris, Kronos Quartet, Brad Mehldau
Stanford Live has announced its 2014–15 season, and featured among the performers taking the stage at Bing Concert Hall are a number of artists familiar to readers of the Nonesuch Journal: Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer, Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté, Emmylou Harris, Kronos Quartet, and Brad Mehldau Trio, as well as the world premiere of a new piece by John Adams and a celebration of the work of Stephen Sondheim.
- Thursday, April 17, 2014
Nonesuch Records marked Kronos Quartet's 40th anniversary year with two releases this month: the Kronos Explorer Series five-CD box set and a new album, A Thousand Thoughts. As a highlight of its anniversary season, Kronos was in NYC to perform at Carnegie Hall late last month and was the subject of a marathon stream of music and tributes on Q2 Music, the online new-music station from WQXR. The event culminated in a live, performance by Kronos Quartet from The Greene Space at WQXR, which you can watch here.
About this Album
The two pieces included on Kronos Quartet Plays Sigur Rós have both been staples of Kronos’ live concerts for several years: an arrangement of Icelandic experimental rock group Sigur Rós’s “Flugufrelsarinn” (“The Fly Freer”) and an arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“I first heard Sigur Rós in 2000 and it was thrilling,” said David Harrington, Kronos founder and artistic director. “I could not stop listening to them. Kronos had to play their music. Sigur Rós create entire universes with their sound: imaginary places populated by desires and colors and feelings that belong solely to the fleetingly understood realm of music.”Kronos commissioned an arrangement of Sigur Rós' composition “Flugufrelsarinn” (Icelandic for “The Fly Freer”), from the Ágætis Byrjun album in 2002. In its original, sung version, “Flugufrelsarinn” relates a parable of salvation and sacrifice, in which an unnamed narrator tries to rescue helpless flies in a lake from the jaws of the approaching salmon. In Stephen Prutsman’s arrangement for Kronos, the work takes on a new delicacy while losing none of its essential mystery.
The Quartet has been playing its Prutsman/Kronos version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”—inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s famous Woodstock interpretation—in concert since 2003. The Los Angeles Times called a recent performance of the piece, “a fiery political protest that recalled [Kronos’] roots exploring classic rock.” Although it has always been an audience favorite, the group had never released a recording of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before this digital-only release.