Tuesday 17 March 2020

Support acts

My 'beat', as you know, is music and the arts. So it's with a peculiar feeling of horror mixed with resignation that I've watched the current, widespread cultural shutdown move from theory into practice. As I type, with our virus-based predicament likely to last for some time, I know that many people will be facing hardship and uncertainty. I also know that many people in better straits will want to help and take action.

It might not have immediately occurred to you - it was a steep learning curve for me - quite how precarious a living in the arts can be. Confronted with instant cancellations and no guarantee of substitute income, our musicians, artists, composers and venues are all immediately and, in some cases, dramatically affected.

This is a small idea I tweeted a day or so ago, but I'm hoping it might gain a little traction. I'm starting a list - which I will keep adding to - of CD/download releases (either relatively recent or pertinent to the event, all readily available) by, or featuring, musicians that I know have been hit by sudden loss of work. If you like or follow an artist, and especially if you were going to hear them perform in the near future and now can't, please consider buying a recording of theirs. I know this is an imperfect scheme - artists don't make a lot from recordings, but it's miles better than streaming them for free on Spotify; and anything to keep their sales up and maintain their profile will help them make more albums and get more work... and so on.

ALL artists deserve, and can do with, our support right now. But obviously I can't include them all. My list will heavily feature classical song, for example, because those are the musicians I hear from and about most readily. Plus I do range around genres a bit (as you might have come to expect). But if you read this and you're a musician with a recent recording, or you want me to add an artist you feel passionately about, please get in touch - Twitter is probably best, where I'm @Adrian_Specs. Also, I'm not alone in this venture - m'learned friend and colleague Frances Wilson, a.k.a. The Cross Eyed Pianist, is pooling information with me and she will be featuring wider information and publicity for anyone needing it than I can do on here.

Where possible, purchase links are to the record companies direct. If more appropriate, I've used artists' websites or Bandcamp pages. Let's go!


Louise Alder & Joseph Middleton, 'Lines Written During a Sleepless Night'
Songs by Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Medtner and Britten.
Buy from Chandos.

Kate Arnold: Rota Fortunae I
Hammered dulcimer, violin, vocals.
Buy from the artist at Bandcamp.

Mary Bevan & Joseph Middleton, 'The Divine Muse'
Songs by Haydn, Schubert and Wolf.
Buy from Signum.

Brian, The Vision of Cleopatra, featuring the ENO Chorus and Orchestra, soloists, Martyn Brabbins
All too rare appearance on disc of the ENO ensemble.
Buy from Dutton Vocalion.

[can't find any video - aargh]

Daisy Chute
Folk / Americana from multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter.
Tracks for download on the artist's website.

Allan Clayton & Julius Drake, 'The Songs of Liszt - volume 5'.
Buy from Hyperion.

Iestyn Davies & Thomas Dunford, 'The Art of Melancholy'
Songs by Dowland.
Buy from Hyperion.

Hanna Hipp & Emma Abbate, 'Sera d'inverno'
Songs by Ildebrando Pizzetti.
Buy from Resonus.

Ruby Hughes, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Jac van Steen: 'Clytemnestra'
World premiere recording of Rhian Samuel's suite, plus Mahler and Berg.
Buy from BIS.

Leon McCawley: Schubert Piano Music
Buy from SOMM.

Tim Mead: 'Purcell: Songs & Dances'
with Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, Fran├žois Lazarevitch.
Buy from Alpha.

Jo Quail: 'Exsolve'
Contemporary classical - cello/electronics.
Buy from the artist at Bandcamp.

Alex Rex: 'Andromeda'
Dark folk-rock from former Trembling Bells singer/songwriter/drummer/mastermind.
Buy from the artist at Bandcamp.

Carolyn Sampson & Joseph Middleton, 'The Contrast'
English Poetry in Song.
Buy from BIS.

[can't find any video - aargh]

Sean Shibe: 'softLOUD'
Acoustic and electric guitar heroics in Gramophone's first 'Concept Album' award winner.
Buy from Delphian.

Nicky Spence & Julius Drake, Janacek 'The Diary of One Who Disappeared'
...and other works.
Buy from Hyperion.

Sullivan: 'Haddon Hall', featuring BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra, John Andrews
also includes Ford: 'Mr Jericho' and Cellier: 'Captain Billy'.
Buy from Dutton Vocalion.

[can't find any video - aargh]

Kitty Whately, Roderick Williams & William Vann, 'The Song of Love'
Songs by Vaughan Williams.
Buy from Albion.

Roderick Williams & Christopher Glynn, 'Winter Journey'
Schubert's 'Winterreise' in English.
By from Signum.

Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 plus, featuring Elizabeth Watts and David Butt Philip
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins.
By from Hyperion.

[can't find any video - aargh]

To be continued....

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