I had the most amazing experience–the privilege to go to Boston and work with the New England String Quartet, producer Andy Happel, sound engineer at Futura Productions John Weston, and PARMA Recordings to professionally record my composition “Anima Mechanicae: Soul of the Machine” as part of a modern chamber music compilation album, to be released about 6 months from now.
The New England String Quartet is not only a group of very sweet and sincere people, but very intent, meticulous, and talented musicians as well! I loved watching them interact with each other and getting to work with them, perfecting the tiniest details of balance and articulation in my work… They were so very well prepared–they NAILED some of the most intricately complicated sections!–and knew exactly what I wanted. Andy, too, was an invaluable aid in listening for balance, intonation, articulation, meaning of the phrases–anything that would help the piece (and every single section of it) to “settle” well. I was also very tickled to find out that our excellent sound engineer, John Weston, had worked with Philip Glass on his soundtrack for “Naqoyqatsi“… and being as my piece has several Glassian moments, John picked right up on those. (Incidentally, you can see John’s amazing credits here.)
Besides all that, it was just fun to spend the day with equally charming and engaging music nerds. We all seemed to “click,” and I loved working with every single one of them.
Regarding the piece itself, the Quartet has said many times how much they love it and the meaning behind it. I’ve given them my explicit permission to play it in concert any time they want to! Our Parma rep, Mike, has even said that it’s such a “cool piece,” and he can imagine that it will be the highlight of the album. And of course, from the moment the Quartet started into the fiery beginning, we were all just reeling with how awesome and powerful it sounded!
I really look forward to doing this again sometime! In the meantime… I’ll be posting updates on the album as it moves toward completion…
Enjoy these pictures I managed to snag while on my trip!
New Event added!
Playing Baroque Violin with countertenor, Douglas Law, as part of the Tuesday Concert Series by Claremont Graduate University and Claremont School of Theology; Works by Caccini, Gluck, Handel, and Others: Tuesday April 17th, 4:15pm; Kresge Chapel. Really looking forward to this show! More info at this link!
My good friend Danielle Cummins has done me a great honor by writing a fantastic article about the both-ancient-and-modern work, Sonata Sopra la Monica.
Originally written in the 17th century by Italian composer Biagio Marini (c. 1597 – 1665), I took this three-line, flashy fireworks of a piece and turned it into a modern hip-hop/rock style art-piece specifically for Dragonas (full version) and String Theory (violin-bass-percussion quartet version). It’s turned into quite an amazing modern composition in its own right! And it’s loads of fun to play!
“Sonata sopra la Monica” has been brought into our 21st century music ensembles by composer and violinist Sarah Wallin Huff. In the long tradition of the true composition process, Sarah has taken pre-existing material and transformed it into something new. “Sonata sopra” was the pop-music of the Baroque, full of life and vitality. It was the “in thing”. But to modern ears it sounds as if it were from a distant century, and it is! Now, with Sarah’s new composition, the “Sonata sopra” has a new life and still maintains it’s brilliant Italian flare. The new instrumentation includes electric bass and electric guitar, drum set, flugelhorn, and two violins. As Sarah and I are both trained as Baroque violinists, we are able to play the piece in a true Baroque style against the backdrop of a modern rock band creating a collision of time and space. (Danielle Cummins)
I just had to post this here “for posterity”…
Scenario: We’re in a string quartet, playing background Classics for a luncheon….We flip the page in the gig-book and Pachelbel’s Canon pops up on the next page…
“We need to have Pop-Up Blockers enabled…”
—(courtesy of excellent violist and friend, Miguel Cunanan)
For those who still don’t get it… Check out this post I made a while back, featuring the awesomely hilarious video “Pachelbel Rant” (with now over 10 million views on YouTube!!) by musician/comedian Rob Paravonian…
Download the original paper (for which this article is an addendum) here!
(This article is featured on Wikipedia!)
I recently received a lovely email from a student in Canterbury, UK:
I’m conducting some research on Penderecki and his use of “emotive” titles for some of his works, taking Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima as a key example…I’m particularly interested to know exactly when Penderecki changed the title of this work and why, so any further pointers would be really helpful…
I learned some interesting factoids in my bit o’ research for my response, and I thought it prudent to add it as a side note to my original Threnody… outline. Here’s what I found out (and how I responded):