Monday, February 1, 2016

Night Spirit WIP recording #1 (add your feedback!) - Fauré Barcarolle no. 4 in A flat major

I am preparing some music for a new album called Night Spirit.
It is music that follows the quiet, melancholy, strange, and vulnerable path of a thoughtful heart at night. Debussy, Coleridge Taylor, Shostakovich (pending getting the rights), Beethoven, Harizanos, Chopin, Fauré and hymn improvisations.

I am sharing some work-in-progress recordings in the hopes that others will find this music interesting and share their thoughts and feedback!

(These WIPs are home recordings made on a tablet. The album will be recorded in a studio by a professional engineer.)


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Violacentric Sonatas by Scott Slapin - Video preview

Take a first look at the CD! And get to enjoy Scott & Tanya's beautiful playing on all the clips of the duo pieces. (The trio sonata is in here too.)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Scott Slapin's Trio Sonata

Scott Slapin, a violist and composer here in town, recently recruited me to play his new Trio Sonata with him and his violist wife and musical colleague Tanya Solomon.

My own recording projects tend to be somewhat gradual affairs. The repertoire is made up of music I've had for at least a few months, sometimes years. The preparation goes through several cycles of: "It's ready." "Let me try a practice recording." "I hate the way I'm playing this." "It might be ready in two more months." The recording process itself can be spread out over several weeks or months. Then it gets released when it's good and ready.

Scott and Tanya work fast though. Besides their professional orchestra careers, they've played in film scores and with several high-profile touring soloists. I won't say exactly how long I had the score before recording day, but it was not a few months. Fortunately the composition is beautiful, with some haunting ideas that followed me around all day while I was learning it, logically constructed and easy to follow. And it wasn't overly hard to play. I even like the recording. I think listeners will love it too. It's reminiscent of chamber music by Shostakovich but truly with Scott's own voice. Also, Scott and Tanya sound glorious.

The recording is part of a full album of Scott's compositions. I'll update when it is released, and there will surely be something on violaduo.com about it as well.

There will be a live performance of the Trio Sonata and other pieces at the Unitarian Society of Amherst on Sunday May 15 2016.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

10 years of marriage and 20 years playing music together

My wife Gillian and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage this September. It's also our 20-year anniversary of playing music together. Over the years music has been a big part of our life together, and we've done everything from theatre pit orchestras to guitar folk/pop. But our most enduring love is classical music for violin and piano.

On Sunday, Sept. 20 at 3pm, we present a violin/piano recital in the same town where we were married ten years ago, at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Amherst, Massachusetts.

We'd be delighted if you could join us!

Program includes a Handel sonata, pieces with a romantic theme by Sarasate and Dvorak, unaccompanied Bach on the violin, solo Chopin on the piano, and "Spring" from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi -- which is the first piece we ever performed together as a duo at age 15.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thank you, Memorial

After a wonderful 3 years of service and community at Memorial Baptist Church, I am leaving my position there to become minister of music at the United Methodist Church of South Hadley, Holyoke and Granby, in South Hadley where I live. It is a bittersweet transition as I know and love both congregations. But I am glad to be able to serve at my neighborhood church.

I wanted to give Memorial a thank-you gift of music on my last day. So next Sunday we will have a short concert and hymn sing at 11:45am immediately after worship. Lunch will follow.

I will also play some movements of the French Suite no. 4 by Bach as service music.

(It is okay to come for the concert and lunch and not for the church service, and in fact, at least some other people will surely be doing that.)

Memorial Baptist Church, Hartford CT (see here for location/directions)
Sunday, July 26, 11:45am

Program

Gabriel Fauré - Barcarolles no. 4 and 6

Hymn: Lord of the Dance

Ludwig van Beethoven - Bagatelles Op. 126

Hymn: Amazing Grace

Gwyneth Walker - "Caper" from Cantos for the End of Summer

Hymn: Down By the Riverside

Monday, May 11, 2015

Performing Schumann's "Kinderszenen" in the Amherst Ballet performance, Saturday May 16 1pm Bowker Auditorium UMass

Hello everyone,
I wanted to invite you to a unique performance this Saturday. I play the piano for dance classes in various places including at Amherst Ballet where I also teach classes for children. This Saturday (May 16) the Amherst Ballet performance will include a piece set to Robert Schumann's piano pieces "Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood)." I will be with the dancers onstage accompanying them on the piano. The choreography, like Schumann's music, evokes emotions from childhood experiences.
We will be in Bowker Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts. Bowker is in the brick building just across the circular driveway from the central campus parking garage. If you want the full ballet recital experience you can come at 1pm for the younger children's class dances. After intermission (around 1:45-2pm) begin the dances for the more advanced students, and Scenes from Childhood, although it is a multi-age cast, is in this second half of the program.
It would be lovely to see you there!
Please feel free to share this invitation with anyone who might be interested.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sideris - Toccata "Burning Kiev" - video for Editions Musica Ferrum

Composer Nikolas Sideris wrote this searing piece last February. It is a powerful reflection on war and its aftermath.
The Toccata is now available from Editions Musica Ferrum here. Here I am playing it with a transcript of the score. The recording was done at Northfire Recording Studios in Amherst MA by engineer Marc Seedorf.