Performer, composer and recording artist Greg C. Brown picked up a guitar in 1982, and since then it has shaped his life. After playing in metal and rock bands in the eighties and early nineties, Brown turned his attention to classical guitar. Brown received formal instruction from various teachers, performers and composers, including Pepe Romero (California State University, San Diego), Douglas James (Appalachian State University), Keith Stevens (James Madison University), Christopher Berg (University of South Carolina), Thomas Patterson (Arizona State University), Martha Masters (Loyola and President of the Guitar Foundation of America) and Anthony Glise, who was nominated for a Pulitzer-prize for composition. His musical interests moves beyond the borders of the US, across Europe and into Asia; Brown cites such diverse influences as Beethoven, Eddie Van Halen, Paganini, and the countless composers of traditional Spanish, Flamenco, and Chinese music. Recording artist Benjamin Verdery of Yale University advised Brown to “think outside the box” and draw from his varied interests and personal experiences to create his own style.
Brown showcased his new compositional style with his first CD, Collected Works for Guitar, released in 1996, which included his Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. In 1997, Brown was commissioned to write another piece for guitar and orchestra. Brown’s tone poem Transylvania premiered with the Charlottesville Chamber Orchestra and is the title track of Brown’s second disc, released in 1999. Brown’s third disc, Distant Places, best displays his diverse talent. The disc includes Arabic, Asian, and American influenced works for solo guitar, a rhumba, two orchestral pieces and the return of his electric guitar. As Brown matured in his compositional voice, he has felt more comfortable integrating techniques from his electric days and expanding knowledge of world music.
His next CD, Sojourns in Solitude was released in 2006. This acoustic album is half steel string and half classical with a newly re-mastered Transylvania as a finale. In 2014, Mr. Brown released a CD containing most of his Chamber Music, called 2014. Also available for download, the medley Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective from the Zojoi Video Game series of the same name for which he composed music. His CD, “Recuerdos de Espana” was released in Spring 2016 and features Greg’s love of the music from Spain. 2017 was a big year for Mr. Brown. He released his first ever all blues CD called “Just Tell Me Why” and was selected to participate in the Benjamin Verdery (Yale) Masterclass/Concert Series in Maui. In the Fall, Greg will be released another chamber music CD called “Wanderings” which will feature two tracks on ukulele as well as another electric rock album called “Another Dose”.
2018 has been very productive so far for Mr. Brown. To date he has remastered his old thrash metal band “Age of Fire” for a 30th anniversary release plus 2 new tunes. His first self titled CD will be out in May. This disc will contain recordings that haven’t been available in 20 years, a smattering of tracks throughout the years and 20 minutes of new music. This collection only contains works for guitar, either solo, duet or in trio form. Greg will also be performing in Canada and New York city in the fall.
Brown has been a member of the Guitar Foundation of America, the Charlottesville Classical Guitar Society, the College Music Society and the Society of Composers, Inc. He taught guitar at Mary Baldwin College from 2004-2006, and is currently teaching privately in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, where he resides. He is a graduate of the Music, Video and Business program at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. His music has been heard on TV, Film and Video Games and has been transcribed into braille. Mr. Brown’s recordings are distributed globally through The Orchard and wherever files can be downloaded. His compositions are available through Les Productions D’Oz. In 2015, Brown started his own publishing company, Greg C Brown Guitar Publications to distribute his orchestral and other works.
Montreal-based ethno-classical Duo Beija-Flor explores the Spanish and Portuguese influence on classical music with COSTAS, their vibrant debut for Big Round Records. Charles Hobson (guitar) and Marie-Noëlle Choquette (flute) form a highly expressive, versatile duo that is a force to be reckoned with.
The twenty-two tracks on COSTAS appear to be bite-sized, but not only do they span a vast repertoire, they also pack a powerful punch individually. When Astor Piazzolla's only non-tango piece (Escualo) is contrasted with traditional Spanish folk songs (Siete Canciones Españolas) and motion picture soundtracks (Summer Garden Suite), it's not far-fetched to call this selection eclectic. All the more astounding, then, is Duo Beija-Flor's ability to tie this diverse program together, making it sound as if these pieces had always gone hand in hand.
Occasionally, experimental elements are allowed in and incorporated into the flow of the album, such as the temporary, modernist dissonance in Boulevard San Jorge or the jazz harmonies in Havana Street Parade. And naturally, mirroring the dualist nature of the set-up, contrasts abound, not only in instrumental timbre and dynamics, but also in the music's character: Thus, the cheerful sweetness of Pé de Moleque and Quebra Quiexo (both aptly performed according to their title referencing Brazilian candy) is abruptly cut short by two dramatic fados pondering nothing less than the value of life.
COSTAS attractively meanders between the light-footed and the profound, and the album's finale, Four Sephardic Songs, forms a majestic and evocative conclusion to an hour of music that is as vivacious, colorful and multi-faceted as the performing duo itself.
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Kamyar Mohajer’s PICTURES OF THE HIDDEN honors the composer’s “four Grand Masters:" Johann Sebastian Bach, Persian poet Hafez, and his parents. In this album, Mohajer shares his artistic upbringing by combining his roots in Persian modality with his love of Western classical music.
The eponymous piece, a set of five songs for voice and piano, feature the works of the Persian poet Hafez. In the multi-tiered composition, Mohajer draws from childhood memories of his mother’s singing. Used with Hafez’s poetry, which adores a superior spirit called “Beloved,” Pictures of the Hidden reaches towards a higher meaning, honoring the perfection of an all-powerful Spirit. Each song, sung in Persian by soprano Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghma, brings a motherly passion to the depth of Hafez’s poetry. With Karolina Rojahn on piano, the composer combines the story-like motifs and counterpoint of Bach-inspired piano composition with the brilliant virtuosity of Shehabi-Yaghma. In Reng, Mohajer shares the conventions of his native music. The dance , for instance, is built on a syncopated 6/8 rhythm characteristic of Persian dances throughout history. The dance signals a release, a giving up of self to the joy of music and movement. The album concludes with a stunning performance by the acclaimed Alexander String Quartet, who communicate the contrasting feelings of melancholic longing and swift energy - a task perfect for strings and their ability to produce sound across the dynamic spectrum.
Though the album is Mohajer’s debut, PICTURES OF THE HIDDEN is more than just an artistic expression of self. Rather, the album celebrates the past figures who shaped his present context, and demonstrates how art can leave humanity in a better place for having experienced it.
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Arnold Schoenberg's masterpieces that Jean Sibelius protested against and the direction they were taking music.
Transfigured Night, Op 4
5 Pieces for Orchestra Op. 16
Dominique Beaulieu conducts the CMD Philharmonic of Paris in Orleans
23Sep18 - repaired rendering error
23Sep18 - repaired error in original recording of Transfigured Night
Pamela Coats - Paris mon Amour
From the end of the 19th century through today, Paris has been named the "Capital of the Arts". For many composers "the city of lights" was not only a place of creative exchange and inspiration but also a place of adventurous "Joie de vivre“.
In the CD "Paris mon Amour/Paris, my love", the clarinet-piano duo Coats-Stefanescu presents composers, that in their time, had their finger on the pulse of innovation and development of culture and music in France as well as Europe.
This CD filled with thrilling, melancholic and sensuous chamber music from the "city of the arts and love", will delight and enchant all audiences.
1 - Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 167
2 - Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Premiere Rhapsodie for Clarinet and Piano
3 - Darius Milhaud (1892-1975)
Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 100
4 - Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, FP. 184
Allegro con Fuoco
5 - Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983)
Arabesque for Clarinet and Piano
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With her Navona debut I CLOSE MY EYES IN ORDER TO SEE, accomplished Canadian flutist Sara Hahn demonstrates her exceptional sensitivity for emotional nuance coupled with great virtuosic capability, but most of all: the healing power of music itself.
Hahn, currently the Principal Flutist for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, is rightly known for her refined and beautiful tone, and I CLOSE MY EYES TO SEE indubitably attests to this. But extraordinarily, there is even more to Hahn's musicianship: An exquisite ability to get right into the heart of a composition.
No doubt this is in part due to the highly personal selection of pieces: The album's eponymous opening track, I Close My Eyes To See, was dedicated to Hahn by composer Arthur Bachmann, written to commemorate her mother's hard (but eventually successful) battle with cancer.
Indeed, the compositions of this album center around perhaps the greatest, and most universal, challenge of the human condition: overcoming Fate's hardships. In this spirit, the individual musical pieces represent emotions such as fear, sadness, the desire to bargain, and depression and anger are reached with the help of mental fortitude and spirituality – all culminating, inspiringly, in acceptance and optimism.
Sara Hahn's interpretation of these wildly diverse sentiments is nothing short of riveting and, towards the album's cheerful conclusion, supremely uplifting. In this sublime feat, pianist Laura Loewen and alto flutist Sarah Gieck, who both accompany with fitting delicacy, add great musical depth.
I CLOSE MY EYES TO SEE is an aesthetic feast for the ears, no doubt; but its true strength lies in having encapsulated not only a timeless constant of the human experience – suffering – but also a viable, feasible way to overcome it.
DREAMS LAID DOWN brings to life the works of several acclaimed composers, evoking a tender, reflective atmosphere. Inspired by sources from the Beatles to the poetry of Rinehart’s wife, the album creates an intimate aural experience that is as personal to the listener as it is to the artist himself.
The title track, composed by Michael Karmon, is named after a book of poems by Rinehart’s wife Janice Notland. Karmon animated six of her poems with thoughtful, evocative compositions. Contrast this with composer John Oliver’s Ancient Heroes Suite. Oliver, inspired by ancient music conventions, worked with dance-oriented rhythms in experimental time signatures that recall melodies resonating through ancient halls, while filtering them through a modern context.
Variaciones Sobre un Tema de Juan Lennon, written by New Brunswick composer Richard Gibson as a wedding gift for his daughter Julia, reimagines parts of a song originally written by John Lennon. Exploring shifts in key signatures, major and minor modes, and alternate harmonization, Gibson takes the pop song and breathes his unique perspective into it. The album is rounded out with works by two more well-established Canadian composers. Guitarist-composer William Beauvais contributes his improvisatory and rhythmic Beginning of the Day and Vancouver's David Gordon Duke explores the full range of guitaristic colors in his Soliloquies and Dreams.
DREAMS LAID DOWN tenderly beckons for the listener’s attention with the lilting strains of classical guitar. Showcasing Rinehart’s inspired musical gifts, the gentle performance warmly invites audiences into a serene listening experience.
The Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, by Dmitri Shostakovich is a work for orchestra composed between April and July 1937. Its first performance was on November 21, 1937, in Leningrad by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky. The premiere was a huge success and received an ovation that lasted well over half an hour.
Conducted by Maestra Kathryn Cavanaugh - Executive Director and Conductor
CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice Orchestra
MIND & MACHINE VOL. 2 is the second electro-acoustic compilation to be released on Ravello Records. Each of the seven composers featured on MIND & MACHINE VOL. 2 offers his or her own striking exploration into the means by which technology can be used to alter time and form to create entirely new musical experiences.
This diverse assortment of composers have all taken different paths to reach that goal. The sounds of nature are manipulated or integrated into pieces such as Tom Prescott’s The Singing Forest and Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz’s Les Crapauds de la Fontaine, while Joshua Tomlinson’s Convergences utilizes the natural elements of metal and wood. Julius Bucsis takes as his source material the work of renowned composer Igor Stravinksy for Some Writings of Spring, using Schenkerian analysis and various audio processing techniques to reinvent The Rite of Spring. Cory Fant deliberately worked outside of the studio to create the sounds in his Vox Ballet without using synthesizers, while Lou Bunk’s Cut and Joshua Harris’ a tiny fleck of blue crying light into the void both each use pianos – albeit very dissimilar ones – in their individual manipulations of time and space.
If there is one common trait that the works on MIND & MACHINE VOL.2 share, it is their ability to capture the immediacy of sonic experience and, regardless of context, to subtly create an entirely new musical narrative, again reinforcing the limitless possibilities inherent in the realm of electro-acoustic music.