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Recordings: August 2008 Archives

Video Game Composers Break
Billboard Top 10 Classical/Crossover
Introducing Thousands to the Concert Hall

A video game score performed by a major orchestra in a concert hall? How about a video game score sitting at #8 – with a "bullet" – on the Billboard Classical/Crossover Top Ten? Not likely, you'd say – but you'd be wrong. Husband and wife Emmanuel Fratianni and Laurie Robinson's music on EMI Classics' album Video Games Live, Vol. 1 has not only achieved these milestones, but is bringing a whole new generation into the world's great concert halls. As this week's Billboard ranking may suggest, not since Mozart's music was performed in the comic opera of Vienna, has the music of the vernacular crossed over to such popular demand.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised after all. These video gamers – and they aren't all just kids anymore – have sophisticated ears, and are listening as they play to works composed by artists like Robinson and Fratianni, themselves inspired by masters like Beethoven, Brahms, and Stravinsky. These gamers spend billions of dollars buying games and hundreds of hours playing them – and now want to hear this sophisticated, original music in concert halls, download it to their iPods, and listen to it doing their homework. Many even program their alarm clock settings with it, and buy the ring tones for their cell phones. And as Billboard's Top Ten attests, they are buying records.

Fratianni and Robinson – admittedly delighted to be part of this phenomenon – reflected that, as classically trained composer, "our community has been trying for decades to attract a new audience; new generations of season ticket holders. We're proud to be part of this historic moment."

Read more about this at the Video Games Live website

Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde on SACD


The San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas
Release Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde On SFS Media

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, August 11, 2008 – On September 9 the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) will release a live recording of Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, the tenth installment of their Grammy Award-winning Mahler recording project, on the orchestra's own SFS Media label. This CD features baritone Thomas Hampson and tenor Stuart Skelton and was recorded in September 2007 in Davies Symphony Hall. The recording utilizes Sony's Super Audio 5.1 digital surround sound technology and has audio options for both traditional CD listeners and those with SACD players. SFS Media releases are distributed in the U.S. by Harmonia Mundi USA and in Canada by SRI and are available from and from Amazon, ArkivMusic & CD Universe among other retailers:

Since the project began in 2001, the San Francisco Symphony has recorded eight of the nine Mahler symphonies, Kindertotenlieder and the Adagio from the unfinished Tenth Symphony. Because of the commercial and artistic success of the Mahler recording project, the SFS has expanded it to include recordings of all Mahler's works for voices, chorus and orchestra, including a remastering of their earlier recording of Das klagende Lied. In 2007 Thomas Hampson and the SFS also recorded songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn for the series. Additional works still to be recorded include Mahler's Rückert Lieder, Songs Of A Wayfarer and the balance of the songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. A recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Symphony of a Thousand, is scheduled in Davies Symphony Hall this November 19-22. Soloists include sopranos Erin Wall, Elza van den Heever, and Laura Claycomb, mezzo-soprano Katarina Karneus, tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, and bass-baritone James Morris. The performance includes the San Francisco Symphony Chorus under the direction of Ragnar Bohlin, the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Pacific Boychoir. Other soloists will be announced at a later date. The Symphony of a Thousand is slated for release in the fall of 2009 and will be paired with Mahler's Adagio from his unfinished Symphony No. 10, recorded by the SFS in Davies Symphony Hall in 2006.

Read more about this at the San Francisco Symphony website.