Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

REVIEW – Drifting in AMR

A nice way to begin the new year with a write up of ‘Drifting, Volume 3 of the New Lullaby Project’ in the American Record Guide January/February 2022 edition.
What do you think? What New Lullabies stand out to you?

REVIEW: Drifting in Fanfare Magazine

REVIEW: New Lullaby – Music Web International

New Lullaby: Fourteen enchanting ways to fall asleep
Aaron Larget-Caplan (guitar)
rec. Futura Productions, October 2009, Roslindale, Massachusetts, USA
Six String Sound 2009 & Stone Records 2021 [52:46]

This CD, the first of three that form the “New Lullaby Project”, presents lullabies for adults. As Larget-Caplan states in his liner notes “I don’t have kids”.

In 2006 he started requesting compositions for this project before he suffered two major traumas. Firstly, he lost his house in a fire. Secondly, only two months later, his wife sustained major injuries in an accident. He refers to the irony that he himself needed so much sleep after twelve house-moves in over two and a half years. The fourteen lullabies were performed at three locations in 2009, shortly before this recording. He states that they “Calm the mind, take us to a new place and leave our ears with the gift of sound as we travel through the realm of our realities. Let us be enveloped by the living music of our world and take comfort that we live amongst it.”

I listened to the disc and treated it as a whole concept. The various compositions work fluently and the sequence has been well thought out. There are notes on each piece by the composers; in a live setting I presume that Larget-Caplan would explain the pieces. I was particularly taken with “Berceuse” by David Vayo where Aaron (I presume) whistles and hums. It would certainly be appropriate for young children. Not all the lullabies are “night music”. Carson Cooman contributes “unfolding the gates of dawn”: a morning lullaby. My son, listening to the CD with me, pointed out the hint of the Beatles’ “In no time” by Jonathan Feist. The “Fab Four” clearly influence some of the other compositions as does “Cavatina”. That said, the composers are to be congratulated for composing music of intrinsically high quality.

This album certainly engenders feeling of peace which, given the personal circumstances of the performer when he was planning the project, is apt. There are times when this disc will be appropriate and I found it achieved its aim of producing a state of peacefulness. I look forward to hearing the next two CDs in this project. David R Dunsmore, October
Contents
1. The Sixth Night – Lynn JOB [3:39]
2. Leaky Roof – Jonathan FEIST [1:27]
3. No Time – Jonathan FEIST [2:22]
4. My Darling’s Slumber – Francine TRESTER [3:07]
5. Nachtlied – Scott WHEELER [4:19]
6. Cradle Song – Kevin SIEGFRIED [3:19]
7. Descent to a Dream – Mark SMALL [4:32]
8. Lulla – for Sam – Nolan STOLZ [3:20]
9. Unfolding the Gates of Dawn – Carson COOMAN [3:53]
10. You are Alone to Sleep, Op.430 – John McDONALD [2:46]
11. Berceuse – David VAYO [7:01]
12. Disturbed, a Lullaby – David LEISNER [4:32]
13. Song Softly Sung, in Trying Times – Eric SCHWARTZ [3:50]
14. Shhh – Ryan VIGIL [5:22]

Link: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2021/Oct/New-lullaby-88801.htm

REVIEW: Nights Transfigured in Fanfare Magazine

NIGHTS TRANSFIGURED: Vol. 2 Of The New Lullaby Project • Aaron Larget-Caplan (gtr) 
STONE RECORDS (59:55)

SHATZER Lullaby for D—-. CASTILLA-ÁVILA PerseidenTHOMAS L. READ The moon through the window shines down. JULIEN After Many Days Without Rain. SHENDE Reva’s Lullaby. ALAN FLETCHER Lullaby in Three Voices. ÉON Berceuse. DAVID MCMULLIN Sleeping Light, Spinning World. TRESTER Lullaby for Our Time. JAMES DALTON A world of your own. SPANEAS A Child Sings at Thanksgiving. STEPHANIE ANN BOYD Esperanza. SCHUTTENHELM Wiegenlied. BARNABY OLIVER The Pillow That You Dream On

Nights Transfigured is Volume 2 of the New Lullaby Project, the creation of Aaron Larget-Caplan, a guitarist currently on faculty at University of Massachusetts Boston (previously he taught at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee School of Music). Larget-Caplan inaugurated the New Lullaby Project in 2007. Volume 1 in this series, New Lullaby, was released in 2010. During the course of the New Lullaby Project, Larget-Caplan has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous works. As he describes in the liner notes for Volume 3 (Drifting, also reviewed in this issue of Fanfare): “The requirements were simple: a beautiful 3-5 minute guitar solo in the genre of a lullaby … a malleable definition. So simple and yet after 65 premieres by over 55 composers in nine countries, no two lullabies sound the same.” Larget-Capan characterizes the works featured in Volume 1 as “divided into warm and safe versus dark and foreboding.” With regard to Volume 2: “in Nights Transfigured each possesses soupçons of melancholy, shadows of warmth, and inward contemplations, reflecting the times when they were created, between 2011-2020.” As one might anticipate, the 14 works on Volume 2, written by as many contemporary composers, explore a wide range of styles and expression. That said, they are all accessible, and gratifyingly embody the function and spirit of the lullaby. For example, After Many Days Without Rain, by composer and jazz flutist Patricia Julien, explores 12-tone writing, cast in a 5/4 meter. I agree with Julien’s comment (each composer supplies his or her own program notes) that “neither feature is particularly evident when hearing this work,” in the sense of posing undue challenges for the listener. Larget-Caplan performs all of the lullabies with the utmost affection, tonal beauty, and sensitive phrasing. The recorded sound is marvelous; rich and detailed, with a (not too) close perspective of the performer. In addition to the composers’ program notes, the booklet includes information on each work’s premiere and score availability. There are also bios of the composers. Nights Transfigured is a truly beguiling hour of music making, one that (perhaps despite the traditional goal of a lullaby) held me in rapt attention throughout. I am always deeply gratified by recordings that document the commissioning and marvelous performances of first-rate works. Nights Transfigured is such a release. Recommended. Ken Meltzer

This article originally appeared in Issue 45:2 (Nov/Dec 2021) of Fanfare Magazine.

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

 

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

 

Album Review: Nights Transfigured, American Record Guide

REVIEW – Nights Transfigured

– May 2021
The Whole Note is a Canadien publication based in Toronto, Canada.
https://www.thewholenote.com/index.php/booksrecords2/booksrecords2-2

Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan follows up his 2010 CD New Lullaby – 14 Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep with Nights Transfigured – Vol.2 of the New Lullaby Project, a second collection of short pieces by 14 different composers written for Larget-Caplan between 2009 and 2020 (Stone Records 5060192781106 stonerecords.co.uk).

Don’t be misled by the title. Although there’s obviously a general sense of calm throughout the CD, this isn’t a disc of music for children but a fascinating collection of exquisite contemporary miniatures for classical guitar that explore a wide range of musical languages and often employ extended guitar technique, all of it beautifully played and recorded.

LISTEN AND PURCHASE  THE ALBUM HERE: https://alcguitar.bandcamp.com/album/nights-transfigured

Album Review – Nights Transfigured

Nights Transfigured by Aaron Larget-Caplan

“Nights Transfigured, Volume 2 of the New Lullaby Project by Aaron Larget-Caplan is an album filled with creativity, virtuosity, and beauty. It’s more than an album release, it’s a creative project that encourages interaction between the performing artist and composers but also between the compositions themselves. Each composer approaches the lullaby in a new creative way allowing the listener to engage with the album as a conceptual whole. From colourful sensitive phrasing to virtuosic execution of soothing new music textures, Aaron Larget-Caplan’s playing is exquisite. Highly recommended.”

The link includes a few words from me about the album.

Read the complete review at: https://www.thisisclassicalguitar.com/nights-transfigured-aaron-larget-caplan/

 

New ALBUM – Nights Transfigured

NIGHTS TRANSFIGURED, Vol. 2 of the New Lullaby Project

Aaron Larget-Caplan is more than one of the leading classical guitarists of his generation; he is an enthusiastic ambassador for his art. Following his groundbreaking 2015 release ‘John. Cage. Guitar.’ (Stone Records), Aaron returns to his New Lullaby Project with the première recording of a second volume of contemporary lullabies in Nights Transfigured. Compositions written between 2008 and 2020 by 14 composers from Australia, Austria, France and the United States, these new lullabies give a compelling argument for the listener to examine their relationships to contemporary music, the lullaby, and how to bridge the chasm between audience and living composers.

When Covid-19 canceled touring and public performances, Aaron constructed his own studio, L’atelier des Artists Boston, and recorded the album in September 2020. It is an exhilarating representation of 21st century composition for guitar and the album demonstrates how extraordinarily welcoming Aaron is in his expansive ideas about what can be embraced in the musical idea of lullaby.

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. On a theoretical level 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. The American Composers Alliance will publish a multi-volume anthology of new lullaby project scores beginning in 2021.

Whether a music lover, amateur or professional musician, child, or someone who wishes to doze off peacefully, there is a piece for you. A lullaby’s creation is tied to something never quite forgotten or remembered. Lullabies transfigure our nights, so, then, they must transfigure our dreams.


CRITICAL ACCLAIM

“Aaron Larget-Caplan is a riveting artist. His classical guitar performance was a treasure” ~The Washington Post

“This is not some godawful Classics-for-Baby CD” ~Fanfare (New Lullaby, 2010)

“A fascinating program … with irresistible mastery” ~American Record Guide

“Astounding technical proficiency and artistic delicacy” ~Boston Musical Intelligencer

“Aaron Larget-Caplan is fast becoming perhaps the greatest guitar advocate for the music of John Cage.” ~ Classical Guitar Magazine

 

BIOGRAPHY

Aaron Larget-Caplan is an international recording and touring guitarist, who has premiered over 80 compositions. He is the founder and director of ¡Con Fuego! – a Spanish classical music & flamenco dance trio, and the commissioning-performance endeavor the ‘New Lullaby Project’, which has premiered over 60 compositions from nine countries.

Aaron has five critically acclaimed solo recordings: Tracing a wheel on water (2006), New Lullaby (2010), The Legend of Hagoromo (Stone Records, 2015), John. Cage. Guitar. (Stone Records, 2018), Nights Transfigured (2020), and he is featured as a soloist and in chamber music on four other albums for Albany, Navona, and American Composers Alliance record labels. Aaron’s groundbreaking arrangements of John Cage for guitar solo, and violin-guitar, are exclusively published by Edition Peters and are the first officially sanctioned arrangements of Cage for guitar. Forthcoming publications include solo and chamber music of Cage, Alan Hovhaness, and Reynaldo Hahn. A partnership with the American Composers Alliance will see a multi-volume anthology of New Lullaby Project scores beginning in 2021. Aaron also utilizes his own arrangements of Bach, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and numerous Spanish composers.

Aaron is on faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston and formerly at the Boston Conservatory. He presents lectures for universities, the Guitar Foundation of America, 21st Century Guitar Conference, and Mu Phi Epsilon. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory, and his principal teacher was Dmitry Goryachev. He recently received a medal from the Société Académique Arts-Sciences-Lettres of Paris, France for his trailblazing work in music, and was Musician in Residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Raised in Colorado, he resides in Boston where he enjoys espresso with his wife, healer, and muse, Catherine. Aaron performs on an Olivier Fanton d’Andon guitar and Hannabach strings exclusively.

https://www.NewLullabyProject.com

END

 

Artists: Aaron Larget-Caplan (guitar)

Disc: Nights Transfigured, Volume 2 of the New Lullaby Project

Label: Six String Sound

Catalogue number/barcode: 195269049775

Release date: 06 November 2020

Track Listing:

1.      Shatzer: Lullaby for D—

2.      Castilla-Ávilla: Perseiden

3.      Read: The Moon Through The Window Shines Down

4.      Julien: After Many Days Without Rain

5.      Shende: Reva’s Lullaby

6.      Fletcher: Lullaby in Three Voices

7.      Éon: Berceuse

 

8.     McMullin: Sleeping Light, Spinning World

9.     Trester: Lullaby for Our Time

10.   Dalton: A World of Your Own

11.   Spaneas: A Child Sings at Thanksgiving

12.   Boyd: Esperanza

13.   Schuttenhelm: Wiegenlied

14.   Oliver: The Pillow That You Dream On

 

*all première recordings