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“It gives me great pride to announce the release of the Concord Chamber Music Society’s first recording project. It was an exhilarating experience to play in Mechanics Hall, collaborate with Chris Brubeck and Michael Gandolfi, and work with the exceptional Reference Recordings team.” –Wendy Putnam, CCMS founder.
These new works by Chris Brubeck and Michael Gandolfi, two of America’s most-commissioned composers, are both accessible and adventurous. Grammy award winning engineer “Prof.” Keith Johnson did an outstanding job of recording this music in the superb natural acoustics of Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, an historic 19th-century landmark. Johnson’s approach exemplifies the label’s pursuit of the absolute sound: capturing special music in outstanding spaces.
Chris Brubeck (b. 1952) bears one of the most distinguished names in American music as the son of jazz musician and composer Dave Brubeck. Growing up with his father’s wide-ranging musical activities always present, it is not surprising that his own musical world is both wide and inclusive. He plays a number of instruments, sings, and composes in both jazz and classical genres. Danza del Soul is scored for a colorful sextet of violin, piano, clarinet, cello, acoustic bass and percussion. Its stylistic mixture of traditional chamber music with elements of jazz was cheered enthusiastically at its 2010 Tanglewood Music Festival premiere with these musicians.
A native and lifelong resident of the Boston area, Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) began his musical involvement in rock and jazz improvisation as a self-taught guitarist. His increasing skill in improvisation drew him to composition, and he began formal study in his early teens. Gandolfi frequently finds musical inspiration in art and literature. Line Drawings derives its musical ideas from drawings of Pablo Picasso. He notes, “None of my pieces is tethered to a precise Picasso drawing but they are written in the spirit of the Picasso works: concise, clear, written with a sense of immediacy and sureness of ‘stroke,’ light and ‘airy.’ This trio for violin, clarinet and piano is full of variety and vitality, a rewarding listen.
In just its second recording, the Lukas Foss duo for violin and piano, Central Park Reel, hints cheerfully at a kind of musical twin bill. “Central Park” suggests a scene in New York but “Reel” hints at a characteristic dance often accompanied by a bluegrass band. The work was designed to represent American music overseas, so it is no surprise that Foss chose a vernacular style like bluegrass fiddle playing and converted it into a lively “country” piece that still hints, here and there, at the big city.
The Concord Chamber Music Society was founded by Boston Symphony Orchestra violinist Wendy Putnam in January 2000. CCMS presents a yearly series of chamber music concerts in Concord, Massachusetts, and sponsors a variety of educational outreach initiatives throughout the region. These accomplished, dedicated and hard-working artists include Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians, members of acclaimed chamber ensembles, and faculty members of musical institutions, including the Juilliard School and the New England Conservatory of Music.
“‘Pleasant’ is almost always a pejorative word in a review, a classic case of damning with faint praise. But Reference Recordings’ vivid-sounding new CD of contemporary chamber music would be “deeply pleasant” if such a thing could be said—we can settle on “highly pleasing.” —Joe Milicia, Enjoy The Music
“Those looking for an enjoyable evening in with some delightfully adventurous music would be well-served to check out the Concord Chamber Music Society’s presentation of Brubeck, Gandolfi and Foss. It showcases three composers at moving, inspired, vibrant heights, interpreting beautiful music with the voices of accomplished musicians in the acoustical landmark that is Mechanics Hall.” — Jordan Richardson, Blinded By Sound
“The ensemble is consistently excellent, and the musicians switch into jazzy and bluegrass passages without any Symphony Hall stiffness. The San Francisco label, Reference, has captured a clear sound in Worcester’s famous Mechanics Hall.” -David Perkins, Boston Globe
“Here’s an attractive trio of contemporary American chamber works, straightforward that make use of tonality in various guises, as well as jazz and other vernacular influences, but explore both novel concepts and rigorous formal devices and could not in any way be called crossover pieces… [Central Park Reel] is a sparkling finale to an enjoyable program.” — James Manheim, AllMusic
“…this disc is highly recommended to those seeking new chamber works that are accessible, clear and consistently interesting. – Jed Distler, Gramophone
“All of the Concord Chamber Music Society players seem to be having a great time with these lively, intelligent pieces, and as a result, I had a lot of fun listening. The wonderfully realistic sound from Reference Recordings makes for smooth listening too.” —Lee Passarella, Audiophile Audition
“The musicians are of the highest calibre (some are members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra!) and their performance is both polished and riveting. An appealing and entertaining disc.” – Éric Champagne, La Scena Musicale
“The outstanding audio is the equal of any CD quality that I have ever heard and plays on any regular player. The listening perspective is a bit closer up than usual and beautifully captured in great natural detail…” —Karl Lozier, Positive Feedback Online
On This Recording
- BRUBECK: danza del soul
- Introductions and Flirtations
- The Loneliness of Secrets
- Celebraçion de Vida
- Canon, Cut and Paste
- A Farewell to Old Friends
- Hidden Variable
- Obbligato Aria
- central park reel
GANDOLFI: line drawings