Archive for the ‘Album’ Category

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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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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