UPDATE: As of December 8th, the Kickstarter campaign was marked as ‘funded’, which means that the fundraising goal has been met!
Portland’s fEARnoMUSIC is only dozens of dollars away from their fundraising goal to finish production on their newest recording, “Somewhere I have never traveled, the music of Bonnie Miksch”. I’ve pledged my support, and hope you will, too. Your immediate pledge could put the entire project over the edge into the funded category, and just in time for the holidays!
I don’t normally do a lot of listening to recorded music, with the exception that I often use recordings as a way to prepare for upcoming performances. Every so often, however, I do happen to purchase recordings out of either curiosity to hear something I’ve never heard before, or for the sake of hearing something I know well done (hopefully) in a new and interesting way. With that in mind, here are a few recordings that have crossed over my transom during the past season, and my thoughts on them.
I was once part of a viola quartet called “The Four Violas” (an hommage to The Three Tenors) that played some really incredible arrangements done by our fearless leader Joël Belgique. There were, at the time, not too many works written especially for the unusual combination, aside from works by York Bowen, Ichiro Nodaira, et al. Into the breach comes the most noteworthy item on this excellent disc of the music of west coast composer Paul Chihara, his work for four violas entitled Concerto Piccolo, a brief work in four movements. Excellently played by four Los Angeles violists (Paul Coletti, Ben Ullery, Gina Coletti, and Zach Dellinger), it is one of those rare upbeat works that features the viola. It displays lightness, humor, and virtuosity – descriptors not always on the tip of the tongue when one talks about the viola! The remainder of the disc features previously written works of Chihara’s for the viola with other instruments – Redwood, for viola and percussion; theViola Concerto, with the Colburn Orchestra (conducted by Yehuda Gilad); and the Sonata for Viola and Piano. All are beautifully played by Colburn faculty member Coletti and his fellow musicians, and well worth a listen, especially for violists. Currently, only the sonata and Redwood are published and available for purchase.
45th Parallel, Portland’s newest chamber music series, is presenting its third concert of the season tonight at the Alberta Rose Theatre. If you haven’t been to the Alberta Rose, please make the trek up to N. Alberta St. to see it – it is a terrific venue with great sight lines and fabulous acoustics for acoustic music.
The Oregon Symphony’s recording (made live in Portland from two performances at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall) of its acclaimed Carnegie Hall program is up for pre-order on Amazon.com. It’s being released for shipment on October 25th. The Pentatone label is producing the disc, and they are known for their extraordinary hi-fidelity recordings. It should be a stunner!
I just caught this on a feed that I regularly watch. It’s an open letter from the lead singer of the band OK Go to the band’s fans explaining why they cannot embed the band’s YouTube videos on their blogs or websites. It shows how slow the industry (major record labels) is to respond to the changing nature of the online marketplace. Everyone is looking to recoup their costs, and it’s hard to do when your content is floating around in the wilds of the internet. It’s an interesting situation, because if you replace the band with Orchestral Association and the label with Musicians Union, you get an idea of why it’s so hard for recordings (either as physical product or as a streamed or downloaded file) to be made in the US these days. I’m not assigning blame, just pointing out that the rules that worked so well for decades are starting to hurt us more than help us. I wonder how long it will take for the necessary changes to take place. Continue reading →