Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Night Spirit update (and the other WIP recording)

Had a great day in the studio today with Beethoven Op. 90 and Chopin Nocturne Op. 48 no. 2. Some cicadas singing outside. We'll see if they make it onto the record or not.

I realized I never posted my other WIP recording here -- of the beautiful Debussy prelude Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir -- so here it is! I decided on a tempo change after hearing myself on this recording. It will be a bit faster on the album. This is the kind of piece where you have to move around the keyboard so much that it feels like you're playing faster than you actually are.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Chamber music with Scott Slapin, Tanya Solomon & Kaila Graef, Sunday in Amherst

Hope you can come join us for an afternoon of chamber music by South Hadley violist and composer Scott Slapin!
This free concert is also the CD release party for Violacentric Sonatas (see two posts below for some sample clips.)

Lots of superb duos for Scott and Tanya on viola.
I'll be joining them on piano for the Trio Sonata.
Kaila Graef will be playing violin.

3pm Sunday May 15 at the Unitarian Universalist Society in downtown Amherst.

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


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