Archive for the ‘Album’ Category

13
Nov

Howard Hersh’s Inventivity : Angels and Watermarks

angels-and-watermarks-Howard-Hersh
Angels and Watermarks is the latest self-released album (Snow Leopard Music) by Howard Hersh, an American composer who lives and works in the Sierra Foothills. The album, featuring soloist Brenda Tom on the piano and harpsichord plus a ten-piece ensemble under the direction of conductor Barbara Day Turner, serves as a rich and expansive reservoir of Hersh’s musical ideas. Just as a piece is thought to be of a certain attitude, mood, or style, the listener’s journey is then promptly ushered towards new pathways to follow and new sounds to discover. Angels and Watermarks is hard to pin down as a result, but it is without a doubt an exuberant musical experience, one chock-full of inventive surprises.

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4
Nov

Supko & Seaman’s s_traits: Man + Man + Machine

John Supko Bill Seaman s_traits

When discussing arts and culture, one often hears the phrase “the work speaks for itself” thrown around as a sort of broad-reaching neutralization to certain kinds of criticism. At times there seems to be some assumption that understanding the depth of a work, being informed of its conceptual make up and the way it was constructed are only added bonuses to the raw experience of the work itself, playing to the idea that the blind taste test is really the only true gauge of quality. Is the material of the piece relevant without knowledge of the backstory, theory or concept that has made it possible? There seems to be some general assumption that if one has to explain it, then the work is inherently weak, but is the work not incomplete without those components? It’s sort of like asking whether the roof was poorly made because it didn’t stay up without walls beneath it.

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30
Oct

Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble: Realign the Time

realign-the-time

Since their formation in 2010, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble has dedicated itself to commissioning and premiering new works for female, a cappella vocal quartet. They have performed around the country and collaborated with many composers and other new music ensembles with unique aplomb and versatility. This passion shows through their recently released debut album “Realign the Time,” an introspective but vibrant collection of works written especially for them.

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24
Oct

Dosia McKay’s Glossolalia, an Achievement of Aural Antics

Glossolalia - Dosia McKay

Dosia McKay is no stranger to success – her compositions have been premiered at universities and galleries across the United States, and has also been heard on National Public Radio. Native to Poland, she moved to the United States in 1991 and has built a career focusing on aural oddities and surprising sounds. McKay spends her time in North Carolina, weaving jazzy chords, floating soundscapes, and Polish folk music into otherwise “classical” music.

Glossolalia means to speak in tongues, a common phenomenon in born-again churches of the American South. McKay explains in the disc jacket that this album was written to explore the intricacies and fluidity of language, in a way that’s understood no matter you native tongue. From even the first glance, Glossolalia draws its audience into McKay’s vision.

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16
Oct

Troubadour Blue by Nils Bultmann on Innova

Nils Bultmann Troubadour Blue

Often the viola is not thought of as a solo instrument. It is the connecting timbre between violin and cello, the warm, reedy middle layer that we crave in the orchestra whether we know it our not. Troubadour Blue is an album that revolves almost entirely around this overlooked instrument making it stand out against the cello suites and violin concerti. The composer of the album, as well as a violist, Nils Bultmann shines a favorable and fresh spotlight on his instrument and lends a welcome improvised voice to the composition scene.

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