» Albums

16
Dec

Vicky Chow/Tristan Perich: Surface Image

Tristan Perich/Vicky Chow: Surface Image

Tristan Perich/Vicky Chow: Surface Image

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) is a $140 million construction perched atop a hillside within the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. The Music Curator at EMPAC, Argeo Ascani, himself a musician, is likely to extol the facilities at his disposal, which includes access to some of the most acoustically pristine spaces in the world, as well as a team of recording engineers and technicians who are able to realize the full sonic potential of such spaces. There are few locations, it would seem, that would be more suitable to record logistically complex musical material. Surface Image, a new composition for solo piano and 40-channel 1-bit electronics by composer-programmer turned programmer-composer Tristan Perich, is the ideal piece to be realized in such a nest of state-of-the-art creative incubation. It represents the largest scale work of its kind in Perich’s compositional output, and its raison d’être is pianist Vicky Chow, without whom the piece would not exist, as she is both the life-blood of its living performance, and the the person who commissioned it. Together with Argeo Ascani, who also produced this recording of Surface Image, a minimalist tesseract comes to life in a stellar digital release from New Amsterdam Records.

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26
Nov

Anne Akiko Meyers: The American Masters

Anne Akiko Meyers - The American Masters

In this imaginatively programmed disc from eOne Productions, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and conductor Leonard Slatkin leading the London Symphony Orchestra explore works for violin and orchestra from three American composers whose style is generally representative of their time. Beginning with the Samuel Barber “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra” (1939) the program proceeds to the John Corigliano “Lullaby for Natalie” (first recording, orchestra/violin version, 2010) and concludes with the CD premiere of Mason Bates‘ 2012 “Violin Concerto.” Barber was a mentor and influence for Corigliano as he was and continues to be for many American composers. Corigliano, now an elder statesman at 76, was Bates’ mentor and teacher, giving the music deeper connections than one might suppose.

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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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