MUSIC focuses on finely crafted handmade instruments and the world renowned artists who play them, demonstrating the perfect blend of form and function. By exploring how various instruments are perfected, MUSIC also offers viewers a unique journey through our country’s past, detailing the contributions of jazz and Appalachian roots music to the American cultural landscape, as well as the intersection of the guitar and political activism, and how the legacy of West African instruments is embedded in the American banjo. MUSIC features interviews and performances from Joan Baez, Rhiannon Giddens, Director of the Count Basie Orchestra Scotty Barnhart, banjo master Tony Ellis, Los Angeles Philharmonic timpanist Joseph Pereira, and virtuoso ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro. Instrument makers featured are Martin Guitar, Hartel Banjos, Monette trumpets, Stelling banjos, and Kamaka ukuleles.
The new solo album of Toyohiko Satoh, the 72 year old Japanese lutenist who is considered my many as one of the most influential lute players of the last century, presents a well-known repertoire of baroque lute music. Mr. Satoh was the first lutenist to record Bach’s lute music on LP in the 70s (Phillips). Now he returns to this music 40 years later, delivering a completely different rendering of these iconic pieces. His playing has been influenced much by his studies of traditional Japanese arts such as tea ceremony, No-theater and Zen meditation. So here we are presented a recording that draws from the deep silence within, from the awareness of everything in the universe being connected, and from the understanding of Bach’s music as a universal, almost superhuman symbol of completeness.
Agathe von Trapp, the eldest daughter of a well-known musical family, overcomes many obstacles to pursue her musical career and move to the United States.
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony offer the world-premiere recording of John Adams’ Absolute Jest, commissioned by the orchestra, alongside the composer’s Grand Pianola Music, another SFS commission from 30 years earlier, conducted here by the composer. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony join forces with America’s most-performed living composer, John Adams, in a colossal album featuring Adams’s Absolute Jest and Grand Pianola Music. Hear Adams’s inspired and witty take on Beethoven’s spirited scherzos in this first-ever recording of his SFS- commissioned Absolute Jest. Also featured is Grand Pianola Music, with its tongue-in-cheek allusions to Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, written for and premiered by the SFS. Both works speak to the deeply personal and vital relationship of some of the top musicians of our time: John Adams, MTT, and the SFS.