In Tuesday’s (5/28) Telegraph (London), Ivan Hewett writes, “Maria Schneider is that rare thing, a jazz musician who works on an orchestral scale. … On her new double-album she’s taken a further step towards ‘classical’ discipline—though as she’s quick to point out, the music is still strongly informed by a jazz sensibility. Each CD offers what is in effect a ‘classical’ song-cycle, for mezzo-soprano Dawn Upshaw and chamber orchestra. One sets poems by the Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, the other poems from the collection Winter Morning Walks by the American poet Ted Kooser. … These song-cycles were both commissioned by top-rank chamber orchestras; the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the case of Carlos Drummond de Andrade stories, the Australian Chamber Orchestra in the case of Winter Morning Walks. Did the musicians find her idiom a challenge? ‘The thing about my music that challenged them is that some of the songs have a groove, a driving forward that might come from jazz or a flamenco rhythm like the buleria. Classical musicians find that hard because they tend to ebb and flow the pulse. I kept having to say, “No, no, I want TIME,” which in my world means sticking to this driving groove. That really is the biggest divide between the worlds of classical music and jazz.’ ”

Posted May 29, 2013