Archive for the ‘Album’ Category

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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30
Sep

yMusic’s Balance Problems: Unveiling the Intimacy of Chamber Music

yMusic Balance Problems

In the introduction to her 2013 book Chasing Sound, author Susan Schmidt Horning states: “The evolution of music recording from the art of capturing a performance to the art of engineering an illusion changed the sound of music…and ultimately, reversed the historic relationship between live and recorded music.” If ever there were a contemporary classical music album that demonstrated this seminal shift in music recording from capturing a live performance to creating a technologically mediated work of art, it would be yMusic’s Balance Problems. The sophomore album from this New York City-based ensemble follows their 2011 album, Beautiful Mechanical (Time Out New York’s #1 Classical Record of the Year), and features new works by Nico Muhly, Marcos Balter, Andrew Norman, Jeremy Turner, Timo Andres, Mark Dancigers, and Sufjan Stevens.

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23
Sep

Dublin Guitar Quartet Performs Glass on Guitars

The Dublin Guitar Quartet Performs Philip Glass

The Dublin Guitar Quartet Performs Philip Glass

Founded by students of the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama in 2001, the Dublin Guitar Quartet has since become a stalwart ensemble, dedicated to the interpretation and performance of contemporary classical music. Indeed, in timbre alone, the quartet’s transcription of Philip Glass’s four string quartets (excluding his first) gives new-found warmth and precision to some of the composer’s most intimate, personal pieces. Glass’s lean style lends itself well to smaller ensembles: vertical harmonic structures progress slowly by repeated ostinato patterns. Thus, the conversion from bowed instruments to four guitars, sounds native and natural. Glass’s music is riddled with arpeggiated phrases developed through additive process; the guitar eliminates sustained bow pitches, in exchange for short, defined plucked pitches, articulating all harmonic changes clearly—in this way, Glass’s music is set free from ambiguity, all notes appearing in their beautiful constructs.

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10
Sep

Transparent Mechanical: Lewis and West Side Chamber Orchestra Perform Glass, Rutter, and Françaix

Philip Glass - Harpsichord Concerto Lewis Fallon Naxos

Sure, it’s sort of a bromide, but it’s apt: what was once old is new again. Along with a resurgence in recent years for composing for period instruments, the harpsichord as acted as an unlikely phoenix during the 20th and 21st Centuries. Having fallen into disuse from the Classical period until the Interwar period, the harpsichord continues to find composers attracted to it, drawn to its strange delicacy and penchant for technical floridity. In the 1920s, Poulenc and de Falla composed landmark concertos for the instrument, and over the past few decades, a slow but steady parade of composers has put forth their offerings. A Naxos release (8.573146), the Harpsichord Concertos album features works by Philip Glass, John Rutter, and Jean Françaix – an unlikely grouping on the face of it, but a successful combination of performances from the West Side Chamber Orchestra under Kevin Mallon, featuring flutist John McMurtery, and, of course, a collection of scintillating performances by a young Welsh virtuoso in Christopher D. Lewis.

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2
Sep

Guy Barash: Facts about Water on Innova Recordings

Facts About Water - Guy Barash (Innova)

Facts About Water – Guy Barash (Innova)

New York-based composer Guy Barash is a risk-taker, willing to pull ideas from all disciplines as he jumps into the unknown. As curator for the Eavesdropping concert series, he programs works that use sound in unconventional ways. This approach extends to the compositions on his debut album, Facts about Water, released by Innova in May 2014.  Each piece features the poetry of frequent collaborator Nick Flynn, and all address multiplicity in some form or another: infinitely divisible streams of water (Wrong Ocean), the many bees that make up a hive (Blind Huber), haunted ravings of Iraqi detainees (Seven Testimonies), and a shape-shifting sea god (Proteus).

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