Sun, 4/28 | 4-5pm Free @ Fort Atkinson Club
211 S. Water Street East, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
Chamber Series Concert featuring Sound Out Loud
From Fort Atkinson Club: “Join us on Sunday, April 28 2019 from 4-5pm for the second 2019 Chamber Series Concert. Stay after the concert for a complimentary wine and appetizer reception. This is a great opportunity to meet the performers! This event is FREE and open to the public.
The Sound Out Loud Collective is a contemporary music ensemble based in Madison. While the specific instrumentation of the group fluctuates with each program, the core ensemble is comprised of flute (Iva Ugrcic), violin (Aaron Yarmel), cello (Brian Grimm), and two pianists (Satoko Hayami and Kyle Johnson). Sound Out Loud specializes in engaging works from the early 20th century–present and commissions new pieces from composers around the world. April’s concert will feature a diverse program of National Styles. Bryce Dessner’s “Murder Ballades” features intense, rhythmical arrangements of American ballads, while Arnold Schoenberg’s “Chamber Symphony” offers a mix of high modernism with popular European styles.
While these concerts are open and free to the public, many dedicated patrons and sponsors are to be thanked for their generosity and support of the Chamber Series Concerts. “
Features on the Program, notes by Brian Grimm
I am thrilled to be joined by Todd Hammes (tabla) for a performance of compositions and variations in Drut Ektaal (fast 12 beat cycle) on Raga Bageshree. These theme and variations were given to me by my guruji pandit Sugato Nag, a sitar master based out of Kolkata, India. Sugato’s style of playing is highly melodic and vocal, which has been one of the great advantages as he has helped me to adapt this music on my ‘sarangicello’. Todd studied under Pandit Sharda Sahai and for a period of time, was my brother AJ’s tabla teacher. I’ve had a lot of fun rehearsing with Todd and can’t wait to perform more Indian Classical with him in the future! Here is a performance of my guruji Sugato Da and his son Snehesh Nag performing the same main compositions, with different variations:
Ravi Shankar, one of the greatest musicians of all time has remained a favorite inspiration of mine throughout my life. Only in the last year did I stumble upon one of his masterpieces for dance and theater, Ghanashyam: A Broken Branch (1989). Back in college, I found a CD of Indian ensemble music featuring a concerto for two sitars and ensemble music highlighting bansuri flute that Ravi had composed – I’ve always kept my eye out for more of that sound. Most people in the Western World have come to know of Ravi Shankar via his influence on the Beatles, being that he was George Harrison’s guru. Ravi became one of the first Global Musicians to help spread and educate on the deep joyful experience of Indian Classical and Folk music. I first heard the Overture of Ghanashyam on a compilation disc I found years ago at a Half Priced Books, and was blown away! This was exactly what I was looking for and what an exciting piece to kick off any album or production! I couldn’t find any more info on this piece and for a couple of years, I simply enjoyed it and stopped looking further. Then, curious again last year I happened upon the good news that the entire project was remastered and re-released in 2017! I immediately ordered a copy and it has become one of my favorite albums of all time.
Ravi of course was know also as one of the greatest sitar soloists of his time, but few Westerners know of his ensemble compositions that he did for film, radio, and dance. Shankar grew up performing traditional Indian dance and music, so he was the perfect person to create this dance and theater piece about the ultimate death of a dancer due to drug abuse, and the effect on those around him. If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that the Brothers Grimm have composed many scores for dance and theater, so this is kind of an ultimate geek out album for me.
I have arranged the overture for Sound Out Loud to play at this Fort Atkinson performance. One brilliant idea executed in this overture is that no matter how that each musical theme presents it self later on in the production (4, 6, 7, 12, 16, etc beat cycles), they are all stitched together and made one by fitting each theme to an 11 beat cycle within the overture.
The remaster sounds amazing, they really did a great job cleaning up the mix and opening up space and definition around each instrument, bringing out the color in each instrument voice. You can pick up your physical copy here: East Meets West Shop
From East Meets West, Ravi’s legacy record label:
” Nine Decades Vol. 5 is a special re-mastered recording of the music-theater piece entitled, Ghanashyam: A Broken Branch, originally commissioned by he Birmingham Touring Opera Company and premiering in 1989. Created out of his deep concern over the youth culture’s preoccupation with drugs as an “easy escape from the sadhana found in disciplined hard work,” Ravi Shankar wrote this outstanding piece of music in the folk tale tradition. It is an examination of the forces that can dilute the world-changing potential of the artist. The music is lush, featuring Shankar’s usual proclivity to combine Eastern and Western orchestral instrumentations to great effect. Featuring dance music in the North Indian Kathak style, as well as the South Indian Bharatanatyam and Kathakali styles, Ghanashyam is a dynamic work of unearthly beauty and one that is very much influenced by Shankar’s eight years of dancing in his brother Uday Shankar’s troupe. Originally released on CD in the early 1990s at a truncated 60 minutes, East Meets West has re-mastered the original reels and restored a full twenty more minutes to the music, making this recording a more faithful to the audio that accompanied the original theater production. “
Sound Out Loud will close the program with a performance of Murder Ballads (2013) by Bryce Dessner. Dessner is famously known in popular music circles as the guitarist for the National and the Clogs. Murder Ballads (recording below by Eighth Blackbird, in Chicago) explores a wide range of folk styles converted to 21st century Classical chamber music. This piece is a ” set of seven instrumental ballads, the piece was inspired by the tunes, stories and playing styles from the great American folk music tradition. The ballads include pieces loosely based on classic tunes, plus Dessner’s original compositions which were informed by the many months he spent inhabiting the seductive music and violent stories of these murder ballads. “ It has been super fun and challenging to learn this piece, there are a number of movements which require very accurate bow technique. However difficult individual technique gets, it always remains melodic and easy on the ears. No matter how dark the murderous folk lore subject matter may be, we find it to be quite an enjoyable ride and a nice way to close out the concert.