Archive for the ‘Contemporary Music’ Category

Drifting in This Is Classical Guitar

The wonderful website ‘This is Classical Guitar’ run by Bradford Werner gave a wonderful shout out to ‘Volume 3 of the New Lullaby Project Drifting’ in a recent blog post. Check it out and take a listen to the free embed music. Let me know what you think!

Huge thanks to Bradford for his continued support of contemporary music and passing his great love of the guitar to people!

Drifting by Aaron Larget-Caplan

 

New Review – DRIFTING in The Whole Note

The Canadian classical music publication ‘The Whole Note’ has reviewed ‘Drifting’ in their latest edition!

“Another captivating addition to a significant series that continues to add miniature gems to the contemporary guitar repertoire.” – Terry Robbins

Volume 27 Issue 1 – September / October 2021https://kiosk.thewholenote.com/34

 

New Video – Steps and Leaps by Tom Flaherty

Watch Aaron’s latest video ‘Steps and Leaps’ for guitar and electronics by Tom Flaherty. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing, it includes percussion, effects, and a few other things.
Video by Aaron and art work by Agustín Castilla-Ávila. Premiered for the New Music Gathering on August 16, 2021. In-person premiere on August 27-28 at the Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, Rockport, Massachusetts

 

Steps and Leaps (2019) by Tom Flaherty was composed for the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon, its title inspired by Neil Armstrong’s first words from the surface of the moon, “One small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind.” The music brings to my mind the beating hearts, ticking clocks, interlocking actors, rising tension, and release into weightlessness that I associate with that first lunar landing.

“Steps and Leaps” is dedicated to Aaron Larget-Caplan

Bandcamp Friday Discount

To celebrate Bandcamp Friday (8/6) we are having a sale on all items: downloads, CDs, scores, and stickers.

Use code: 10offalc for 10% off.

The code will be good for 1 week. Please share with your music loving friends!

Go to: https://alcguitar.bandcamp.com/

 

Stone Records Releases All Of Aaron’s Recordings

On August 6, 2021 the UK label Stone Records will issue Aaron’s sixth studio album ‘Drifting, Volume 3 of the New Lullaby Project’. At the same time they will re-issue Aaron’s earlier studio albums dating back to his debut album in 2006 and two the first two volumes of the New Lullaby Project. After the

Aaron and Mark Stone at Symphony Hall, 2018

successful collaboration of the 2015 and 2018 releases ‘The Legend of Hagoromo‘ and ‘John. Cage. Guitar.‘, Aaron and label founder/director Mark Stone came to an agreement that the music and the audiences would be best served by expanding their relationship to these albums. A fourth volume of new lullabies is in the works!

Newly released in the Stone Records catalogue:

  • Tracing a wheel on water (2006) – Music by Barrios, Brouwer, Dyens Pujol, Takemitsu, and premieres by Lior Navok, Daniel Pinkham, and Kevin Siegfried.
  • New Lullaby (2010) – Volume 1 of the New Lullaby Project. 14 contemporary solos in the genre of the lullaby.
  • Nights Transfigured (2020) – Volume 2 of the New Lullaby Project. 14 contemporary solos in the genre of the lullaby
  • Drifting (2021) – Volume 3 of the New Lullaby Project. 15 contemporary solos in the genre of the lullaby.

Already in the Stone Records catalogue:

  • The Legend of Hagoromo (2015) – Inspired by Japan, each piece has a connection to the country either through the composer or aesthetic. Compositions by Brouwer, Takemitsu, Gershwin, Keigo Fujii, and premieres by Kota Nakamura, Ken Ueno, and Martin Max Schreiner. Only the 2nd recording of the title track.
  • John. Cage. Guitar. (2018) – The first classical guitar album dedicated to the music of John Cage. Guitar solos, duos for violin and guitar, prepared guitar duo. All arrangements by Aaron Larget-Caplan.

LISTEN:

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Publishing Awards for Nights Transfigured

So proud to announce the Music Publishers Association of the United States Revere Awards for 2020-21! It is not every day that one can say their project topped anything by guitar god Steve Vai, but that is exactly what has happened today, and without a whammy bar.

I am over the moon to learn that Volume 1 of the New Lullaby Project Anthology ‘Nights Transfigured’ has won two 2020-2021 Revere Awards for Guitar Music and Book Design.

We placed in two categories of graphic excellence, and I could not be more proud of this work that we have been doing through the pandemic months. A very big shout out to Simon Henry Berry and Will Rowe absolutely bringing their best to our little publishing enterprise at American Composers Alliance.

Nights Transfigured, various composers – curated by Aaron Larget-Caplan won 1st prize for Guitar Music as well as book design and cover art.

Featuring 15 compositions by composers from three countries and off two albums, ‘Nights Transfigured’ is a collaboration between the American Composers Alliance and ALC Music Publishing. It was assembled by the outstanding team of Gina Genova, Simon Henry Berry, and me. A shout out to Alex Fedorov for assisting in the original New Lullaby Project artwork that inspired the cover art. Gratitude to the composers for entrusting me with their music. CHAMPAGNE FOR ALL!!

Award link: https://www.mpa.org/2020-2021-revere-award-winners/?fbclid=IwAR1JcpXCrEzPxXC8ak_MbPQWwao4nzOx0lI5FX_PlmLXOAsZF_vInLfhlqc

You can order ‘Nights Transfigured’ through your local music dealer. PDFs and institutional discounts are at the ACA website: https://composers.com/composers/various-collections-and-anthologies/nights-transfigured

It is also available through Bandcamp: https://alcguitar.bandcamp.com/merch/nights-transfigured-scores-of-the-new-lullaby-project-vol-1 (discount code: 10offalc for 10% off)

Album Review: Nights Transfigured, American Record Guide

Year of the New Lullaby!

Happy New Year Fans of the New Lullaby Project!

Thank you for redeeming a bit of 2020. I hadn’t planned on 2020 being the year of New Lullabies for me. I had planned a year of Cage, chamber music and touring, but a chance New Lullaby collaboration at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity with performance artists Laura Sofía Pérez & Jasmine Yeh in January planted a seed that would blossom into two new creations as the pandemic decimated the performing arts.
The prospect of recording close to 50 New Lullabies still to be recorded had been a major financial hurdle. Catherine and I had spent the prior 18-months re-organizing our basement with plans to rent short-term, but the Boston Housing Gods decided in June that we had too many rooms for a single family, so no rentals would be allowed in the basement. With Catherine’s blessing, some advice from engineer friends and mentors, I began building a home studio. As the saying goes, If I can’t make money on it, at least I can deduct it for business!
At this time, I had a conversation with the director of the American Composers Alliance, Gina Genova, regarding my longtime dream of publishing scores from the New Lullaby Project in an anthology; btw, a collection is different than an anthology. I had received grants from the ACA for the performance of multiple pieces by Thomas L. Read, and the ACA introduced me to the music of Tom Flaherty, so I knew they were a legit organization of awesomeness. They rest, as they say, is history.
I’m extremely happy with the album and anthology. I have plans for another album and anthology volume to be released in early 2021.
To all of the patient composers and longtime audience members who have expressed support of the project through attending concerts this year online, purchasing the albums and anthology, and writing me directly: THANK YOU!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May we Dream Well!
Aaron
Lullabies Performed in 2020 (+/-)
Scott Wheeler – Nachtlied
Ken Ueno  – Ed è subito sera
Jacob Mashak – Lulubye
Ian Wiese – Seeketh Not Its Own
Michael J Veloso – Little Dancer
Patricia Julien – After Many Days Without Rain
Jim Dalton – A World of Your Own
Garrett Shatzer – Lullaby for D—
Laurie Spiegel – Watching Rain – world premiere
Stefanie Lubkowski – Drifting – world premiere
Anthony R. Green – Counting Backwards – world premiere
Kincaid Rabb – Water Lilies – world premiere
Francine Trester – Lullaby for Our Time – world premiere
Roger Éon – Berceuse
Stephanie Ann Boyd – Esperanza

New Lullaby Concert, 12/10/11, Francine Trester, Hayg Boyadjian, John McDonald, Martin Schreiner, Demetrius Spaneas, Patricia Julien and Jacob Mashak

John McDonald – Upward
Thomas L. Read – The moon through the window shines down
Thomas Schuttenhelm – Wiegenlied
Barnaby Oliver – The Pillow That You Dream On
Agustín Castilla-Ávila – Perseiden
Charles Turner – White Potatoes
Eric Schwartz – Song Softly Sung, In Trying Times
Tim Pence – The Sleeping Guitar
New Lullabies Received
Curtis K Hughes – Lullibule
Stepan Rak – Lullaby
Special Thanks to Your Heaven Audio, Steve Hunt, Groupmuse, Alex Fedorov, Jeffrey Means, and Simon Berry.
Listen to all of the New Lullaby Project Releases and order the Anthology: https://alcguitar.bandcamp.com/

New SCORE Anthology Published!

Nights Transfigured, 15 solos for guitar
Dec. 21, 2020

Published by the American Composers Alliance (ACA), ‘NIGHTS TRANSFIGURED’ is the 1st of a multi-volume endeavor exploring  the over 60 compositions written for my New Lullaby Project since 2006. These compositions assert that the sonic boundaries of the guitar are only limited by the composer’s imagination and physical abilities of the player. Whether a student, amateur, or professional there is a lullaby for you. Recordings of works featured are on the 2010 ‘New Lullaby’ and the just released ‘Nights Transfigured’.

  • Download the PDF HERE via the ACA website
  • Physical scores are avaialble on BANDCAMP, the ACA website, or order it from your local music dealer (local is great!)
  • Institutional orders with a discount must be made via the ACA website

Nights Transfigured features new lullabies inspired by composers’ children, song and the intimacy of singing to another, the end of night, poetry, longing for sleep, our troubled times, gentle motion, and of course, the melding of stars and moonbeams. They are lullabies of passage and being, longing and loneliness, marking time, memory, and yet these sonorous landscapes are also inhabited by warmth, hope, and peace.

There is a variety of musical languages–tonal, 12-tone, contrapuntal, North Indian, minimalist, and quasi-improvisational, with many using a mix of them while requiring many extended instrumental techniques. American Composers Alliance is honored to publish and distribute this collection of scores, in partnership with curator, guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan.

One of the leading classical guitarists of his generation; Aaron Larget-Caplan is an enthusiastic ambassador for new music. Following his groundbreaking 2015 release ‘John. Cage. Guitar.’ (Stone Records), Aaron returned to his New Lullaby Project with première recordings, available on Bandcamp and iTunes, and the publication of the score collection.

The score volume includes the following pieces:

3    Francine Trester          my darling’s slumber
6    Agustín Castilla-Ávila   Perseiden
10  Stephanie Ann Boyd    Esperanza
15  Carson Cooman           Unfolding the Gates of Dawn
18  Scott Wheeler               Nachtlied
23  Alan Fletcher                 Lullaby in Three Voices
27  Thomas L. Read           The Moon Through The Window Shines Down
31  Patricia Julien               After Many Days Without Rain
34  Barnaby Oliver             The Pillow That You Dream On
36  David Leisner               Disturbed, A Lullaby
41  John McDonald             You Are Alone To Sleep
45  David McMullin             Sleeping Light, Spinning World
48  Vineet Shende              Reva’s Lullaby
52  Eric Schwartz               Song Softly Sung, in Trying Times
54  Demetrius Spaneas      A Child Sings at Thanksgiving

60 pages, with composer notes on the works and biographies.

Curator’s note (excerpt):

The solos found in this first volume give an introduction to the more than 60 compositions written between 2006-2020 by over 50 composers from nine countries. Volume one contains compositions from Austria, Australia and the USA, and have lullabies inspired by composers’ children, song and the intimacy of singing to another, the end of night, poetry, longing for sleep, our troubled times, and of course, the melding of stars and moonbeams. On a theoretical level there are a variety of musical languages: tonal, 12-tone, contrapuntal, North Indian, First Nation, additive, minimalist, and quasi-improvisational. A few will stand out for their use of extended techniques, only three require scordatura, and harmonics abound!

These compositions assert that the sonic boundaries of the guitar are only limited by the composer’s imagination and physical abilities of the player. Whether a student, amateur, or professional there is a lullaby for you.

CONCERT REVIEW

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

a virtual journal and essential blog of the classical music scene in greater Boston

ALC and Groupmuse Provide a Brief Respite

by Ian Wiese • APRIL 8, 2020

Aaron Larget-Caplan (file photo)

What else can be said about the current “New Normal?” Social distancing forced the cancellation of nearly all of our concerts, which means that musicians are not performing for audiences in the same room if they’re performing whatsoever. Music has entered uncharted territories. That has not stopped the ever bar-raising concert host Groupmuse, however, which has transferred its concerts over to Zoom for its digital audience. One took place on April 3rd over cyberspace:  guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan played for nearly 70 people across the world through a webcam and sophisticated microphones while the audience sat on couches or in their kitchens at home drinking wine and enjoying one little respite.

Larget-Caplan started the unusual evening a couple of his own transcriptions from J.S. Bach Well-Tempered Klavier. The ubiquitous C major prelude showed his fluidity and deep sense of forward momentum that rivaled many keyboardists. He let the music ebb and flow with a firm hand but a sensible gentle guidance. The second was the B-flat major prelude transposed down to A for the sake of the guitar. Rather than showing his inner musicality, this prelude showed the artist’s expressive virtuosity, making the rather unidiomatic prelude seem easy on the guitar. This reviewer wishes he could have LC’s confidence.

Taking a second to acknowledge the reality of our current world, LC dedicated Augustin Barrios’s Una Limosna por Amor De Dios (roughly translated to “A Donation for the Love of God”) to the victims of COVID-19 prior and coming. Centered on rasgueado playing with a line over it, it gave him a chance to explore the colors of the instrument with great ease. The melody effortlessly sang out over the accompanying rasgueado strumming. This number seemed to be an audience favorite from what this reviewer could see from the other webcameras; the audience members popped up infrequently throughout the stream, as the Groupmuse host muted everyone except LC. During the applause, the other viewers came on the main screen; this reviewer did note that the audience was visible on the all users bar at the top of the screen, so some of the reactions could be seen in real time. It felt like looking out into the audience to gauge reactions but where one could see all the faces at once. Suffice to say, this was a slightly unusual sensation, but not one to scoff at.

LC represented his commissioning series “The New Lullaby Project” with Stephanie Ann Boyd’s Esperanza. Boyd, who was in the digital audience, said that she wrote the piece as though she were writing a lullaby for her little sister (who was also in digital attendance) titled with what she called the most beautiful girls’ name while exploring magical and dreamy sounds from the guitar. Laced with harmonics and initially minimal chord flourishes, LC crooned the soft melody as though he himself were singing it. Gradually, the piece built up intensity until a very strong climax that lead back down into the quiet realm where it all started from with the only difference being a return to harmonics rather than merely restating the melody. It was a beautiful lullaby, though the climax might have awoken the sleeping baby girl.

This reflective atmosphere came abruptly crashing down with España Cañi by Pascual Marquina, arranged by LC for guitar. Originally an orchestral work heralding in the bullfighter to the ring, this transcription had all the hallmarks of a Spanish piece of music that need not be stated, for imagination is enough. LC imbued it with the proper amount of aggression and machismo needed to keep it interesting and the sound bitingly sharp. This piece also let the audience really see LC’s precision and accuracy with his right-hand technique, which occasionally moved so fast it blurred in the otherwise clear webcam feed.

Following in his own transcribing footsteps, LC treated the audience to one of his John Cage transcriptions for guitar, In a Landscape. This choice was a rather bold one, as the guitar both can and cannot have the same resonance as a piano or harp, as Cage originally wrote for. Through some creative manipulation of placing lines on different strings and exceptional left-hand technique, LC pulled it off quite well. The resonance needed to sell the landscape sounded most of the time; there were occasions the mechanics of the instrument did not allow this to happen, which was disappointing but understandable. Deceptively simple and harmonically dream-like, LC really pulled this one through and made what seemed to be a difficult choice for guitar extremely convincing.

This reviewer, who has been to several of LC’s concerts, was not surprised that the traditional ending of The Legend of Hagoromo by Keigo Fujii rounded out the program once again. As one of only a handful of guitarists to be able to play such a complex piece, it is understandable why he has adopted that tradition. Basing the work  on a 13-century Japanese legend of the same name, Fujii crafts a tour-de-force solo-concerto for guitar while maintaining a folk-like wonder to the sound, in no small part due to the resonance of the strange DADGAD string tuning and use of nearly every possible standard technique for guitar. LC burned through this one like thermite through steel, meeting Fujii’s challenge with unprecedented skill. Quick changes in playing style or technique shifted like greased levers with clear musical intent and integrity. Whatever the guitar can do, LC can do 50 times better than other guitarists. When the piece got very quiet, Zoom did seem to filter out some of the music, making an occasionally strange gap of watching him play while hearing nothing, but what can be done with technology in that case?

If this New Normal has led to this reviewer hearing such a fantastic guitarist from the comfort of my bedroom on a computer with (sub-par) speakers, for the time, I will take it. I would listen to LC live or on livestream any day.

As for Groupmuse and their new attempt to keep the music going, this first Boston-based concert was definitely an admirable effort. The platform, Zoom, was never built for concerts, so the fact that this one worked as well as it did is a testament to the software and its functionality. Perhaps they can fine tune this system for our uses, but to them, concerts are completely ancillary functions to the business meeting. Groupmuse kept a charge of $3 to attend the livestream, which is completely understandable. So long as the organization and the performer work together and utilize moderately professional equipment as a base line (LC used some studio-quality gear for this concert, and rightfully so), the fee is negligible. Perhaps to warm people up to this new idea they should offer one concert booking free to their base, but that would only be to drum up support if needed. I think it definitely worked, and so long as this New Normal persists, this style of concert-going experience serves to be a good band-aid to the situation.

Ian Wiese is a doctoral student composer at New England Conservatory studying under John Heiss.