Archive for the ‘New Lullaby Project’ Category

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.

Ways to De-Stress

It’s a stressful time. It is.
Dealing with the unknown and needing to react quickly to the latest cancelation or news is not easy. Here are 5 ways to relax by yours truly!

“Not some godawful
Classics-for-Baby”
Fanfare

1 – MUSIC

Of course!
I released ‘New Lullaby’ in 2010 knowing our culture doesn’t sleep well enough or listen to much music by living composers. The result is 14 New Lullabies from 13 American composers, from the warm and sightly dark to the lullaby you shouldn’t hear the end of because you’re asleep. It has continued with over 55 premieres!
Check out the album on BandCamp: alcguitar.bandcamp.com/ (best for Artists)
Physical CDs from: Amazon
Autographed CDs from my Store: alcguitar.com/store (great for Artists!)
Join the New Lullaby Project FB Group!!
Youtube Playlist of New Lullaby Videos

2 – Neu-Becalm’d

After a major house fire in 2007 and finding I couldn’t sleep more than 4 hours or quiet my mind, my wife discovered Neu-Becalm’d™. It is a nutritional supplement that gives the brain-targeted nutrients to aid in the balancing of neurotransmitters. Problems such as mental and emotional focus, or substance abuse may be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Very helpful for performance anxiety and quieting the mind. This was life changing!
I do not recommend drugs of any kind (beta blockers, weed, etc), but this is only amino acids. I do believe in it enough to be a distributer.
• You can find it at my Website Store: alcguitar.com/store (we will match prices)

3 – Food

Jasmine Yeh at Banff

During my Banff Music Residency in January (remember January!?) we held a New Lullaby concert with performance art and visuals called ‘The Oscillating Dream Space’. Artist Jasmine Yeh (NY) served up “chill food” and Laura Sofia Perez did visuals. It was amazing!!

I can’t recommend enough finding the right food to compliment your body and assist your mind. It is not comfort food. Chill food is food that helps you relax by its chemical makeup, ie. melatonin (amino acids!).
• A few include: Fruits and vegetables (tart cherries, corn, asparagus, tomatoes, pomegranate, olives, grapes, broccoli, cucumber)
• Grains (rice, barley, rolled oats)
• Nuts and Seeds (walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, mustard seeds, flaxseed)
In other words: Cook!

4 – Garden

‘Tis the season. Go work in your garden. There is not much that compares with digging in the dirt. Don’t forget to wear gloves if you’re a musician. Our Dwarf Iris’ came out and they bring smiles. We need smiles!
That’s it.
Go dig and start planting!

5 – Walk

Go.

via GIPHY

Aaron’s Fall Concert Schedule

See Aaron’s Fall Newsletter!

http://createsend.com/t/y-B9ACD42E1FA6369B

New Interview – Boston Voyager

An interview from April is now out in Boston Voyager Magazine.

Includes the trials and tribulations of being a touring musician, the many hats I wear, collaborations, arrangements, teaching. Click the link below to read the article.

http://bostonvoyager.com/interview/meet-aaron-larget-caplan-aaron-larget-caplan-guitar-classical-world-guitarist-aaron-larget-caplan-live-dorchester-teach-umass-boston-tour-internationally/

Thank you 2017!

2017 was musically exciting and adventurous. New collaborations with wonderful musicians and composers pushed me in new directions, for which I am grateful. I am extremely grateful for the friends and family that listen, support, and attend concerts. Also, to the many students who work every day to be better musicians and to find the music in daily life. 

May 2018 be all that you wish for: to good strings, exciting music, and lovely people!

Happy New Year!
Aaron

Musical Highlights of 2017

Concerts in Granada & Extremadura, Spain with cellist Kathleen Balfe
(Spain premieres by Thomas L. Read & Tom Flaherty)

Composers Ian Wiese, Tim Pence, Vineet Shende, Francine Trester, Scott Wheeler, & David McMullin

All-New Lullaby Concerts at the ICA Boston and Coaster Theater, Oregon!

New Lullaby World Premieres by Vineet Shende, Ian Wiese & Stanley Hoffman (New Lullaby Premiere #52!)

A World of Guitar kickoff tour in Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee with guitarists Peter Janson and Steve Davison

World premieres of Carnatic Preludes, After J.S. Bach (N. 1, 11) by Vineet Shende

Concerto debut with the North Shore Philharmonic under Robert Lehman

All-John Cage concerts in Mainz, Germany and the Mantova Chamber Music Festival, Italy

Recorded Concert Champêtre for cello & guitar by Thomas L. Read with Rafael Popper-Keizer

Astoria Music Festival debut with bass-baritone Richard Zeller

A World of Guitar west coast tour of Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona with Peter Janson.

Lecture and performance for the 2017 MU PHI EPSILON tri-annual Convention in Denver

First John Cage for Guitar Lecture-Performance at the Mannes School of Music

Publication of John Cage’s Piano Music Arranged for Guitar by Edition Peters!!

Recording begun of John Cage for Guitar at the Kitchen with engineer Steve Hunt and guests Adam Levin (guitar) and Sharan Leventhal (violin)

ACME Honoree from Mu Phi Epsilon

It is a great honor to be a Mu Phi Epsilon ACME Honoree!

I look forward to continuing my musical adventure with the wonderful musicians and music lovers of Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity. Go Beta Chapter!!acmee-mpe-fall-2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read about the fraternity and other ACME Honorees at: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.muphiepsilon.org/resource/resmgr/triangle_issues/vol110issue3Fall2016.pdf

El Virtuoso de la Guitarra – CD Review

The Spanish website www.GuitarristaOnline.es reviewed Aaron’s latest CD.

The Legend of Hagoromo de Aaron Larget-Caplan

CF005633El virtuoso de la guitarra

Aaron Larget-Caplan es mucho más que uno de los líderes guitarristas clásicos de su generación; es un embajador de su arte, como lo demuestra con su primer CD en solitario para Stone Records que lleva por título The Legend of Hagoromo.

Comprendiendo una mezcla embriagadora de música japonesa y americana, esa fusión-recital es concebida brillantemente y realizada por este virtuoso músico. El disco incluye un número de debut grabaciones que incluyen títulos como Ed è subito sera de Ken Ueno, Sui-hou de Nakamura y Japanese idylls de Martin Schreiner, algunas de las cuales se han escrito específicamente para el, así como la proeza epónima, The legend of Hagoromo – una moderna obra maestra que destaca especialmente por poseer una vitalidad maravLarget-Caplan-coverillosa.

Esa fusión cruzada confluye en el trabajo entre compositores de Japón y de América, donde se escribe música inspirada en la cultura del otro, incluyendo las adaptaciones sorprendentes de Summertime y Somewhere over the rainbow de Toru Takemitsu.
Estamos ante una música clásica carismática, estupenda y magnífica.

El reconocimiento de la crítica no se ha hecho esperar y Aaron Larget-Caplan se ha visto recompensado con elogios hacia su capacidad técnica, su delicadeza artística y su magnífico talento al servicio de los sentidos.

Aaron Larget-Caplan debutó a los dieciséis años. Desde entonces hizo las primeras representaciones de más de sesenta y cinco composiciones y ha tocado en Estados Unidos, Rusia y Europa.
Estamos ante un artista talentoso, un solista buscado y un músico de cámara que se atreve tanto con un repertorio moderno como clásico. Sus grabaciones han recibido el reconocimiento de la crítica de Audiophile, Fanfare, American Record Guide, Guitar Magazine y mucho más.
Como músico de cámara ha presentado obras para conjuntos grandes y pequeños incluyendo coro, cuarteto de cuerda, dúos de todos tipos y grupos mixtos.

Colabora regularmente con bailarines y es el fundador del grupo ¡Con Fuego! que yuxtapone música española clásica con baile y canción flamenco. Él presenta muchos de sus propios arreglos de J.S. Bach, D. Scarlatti y compositores españoles. Su arreglo de “Six Melodies” de John Cage es publicado por Edition Peters y ha derechos exclusivos de Éditions Musicales Alphonse Leduc pour sus arreglos de canciones de Reynaldo Hahn. También es el director y el fundador de Greater House Concerts. Está graduado por el New England Conservatory of Music de Boston donde estudio con David Leisner. Su principal profesor de guitarra fue Dmitry Goryachev y el recibió entrenamiento adicional de Eliot Fisk, Juanito Pascual, y del pianista Seymour Bernstein.

Si quieres escuchar cómo suena la música de este guitarrista, pincha en el siguiente vídeo:

Más información en: www.stonerecords.co.uk

http://www.guitarristaonline.es/noticia/7485/clasica/el-virtuoso-de-la-guitarra.html

27/3/2016

Oregon and Washington Tour Photos and Video!

I had a fantastic time traveling through Oregon and Washington in early February.  In a little over nine days I performed six concerts, one radio show and a workshop in two states. I gave the Oregon-Washington premieres of Lynn Job’s ‘The Sixth Night’, Nolan Stolz’s ‘Lullaby for Sam’, Scott Wheeler’s ‘Nachtlied’, Garrett Ian Shatzer’s ‘Lullaby for D—‘ (world premiere and 45th New Lullaby) and my new arrangements of Bach and Scarlatti. My return to the Pacific Northwest came at a wonderful time: I missed the worst of the snow in Boston! A full map of my travels are below.

Practicing some Scarlatti in Astoria, Oregon:

For the opening concert at Grace Episcopal Church in Astoria, Oregon, the amazing artist Charles Schweigert allowed for his painting ‘Hagoromo’ to share the performance space with me, giving another interpretation of the Japanese myth while I performed Keigo Fujii’s ‘The Legend of Hagoromo’. A detail of the painting will be the cover art on my forthcoming CD!
DSCN3427

A true ‘full-house’ in Oysterville, Washington. It was my second performance for this wonderful house concert series.  Read a post about hosting such events by Sydney Stevens, click HERE.
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The Volcanic Theatre Pub in Bend, Oregon was the third concert of the tour.  Met by old friends and eager ears!

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A pop-up concert was added at the last minute back in Astoria in collaboration with the Orange on Blue Gallery Exhibit by Darren Orange at the John Jacobs Hotel. It was a fantastic evening with tango dancers improvising, gorgeous art work and a curious and excited audience! Watch a brief video by Jeff Daly: HERE (FB)

DSCN3511dancersMyself, tango dancers JL Gillikin & Heather Hryciw and Artist Darren Orange

DSCN3512

Astoria has an amazing number of artists and writers. After the performance I was surprised to meet the celebrated artist Noel Thomas.  He drew this sketch:
Noel Thomas DrawingThe Coaster Theatre in Cannon Beach received a special Valentine’s Day concert, Of Love & Dreams.  The concert featured a great audience in a wonderful venue.  They also hosted in me a beautiful hotel on the beach and made sure the sun was just right so I could walk barefoot in the sand. IMG_7131IMG_7114DSCN3526

A selfie prior to concert time in Cannon Beach followed by an advertisement at Lincoln City Cultural Center, which I did not know about until I arrived! I found myself intrigued when I was drying my hands. Quite a smile!
IMG_7140 IMG_7180 IMG_7156One of the pleasures of touring is meeting friends on the road and being touched by their generosity. My fraternity brothers and sisters of Mu Phi Epsilon are very special and never cease to amaze me.  I met Judy and RG Goff when I was a wee lad of 19. In Bend they fed me, made sure I stayed hydrated with local concoctions, got me walking and were great supports in so many ways. Besides being very patient, Judy is a fantastic teacher and singer. Here she is at Lava Butte in Deschutes National Forest.

DSCN3429Hanging with MPE brother Michael Lasfetto in Portland. Great sushi!
IMG_7154

And with Mom in Astoria following the concert at the Darren Orange exhibit.
DSCN3515It was a marvelous tour! I met many fascinating people, some who attended three performances(!), premiered multiple works, collaborated with dancers and artists, explored amazing scenery, enjoyed good coffee and sushi and made some beautiful music, all while driving just under 900 miles.  I can’t wait for the next tour!

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.58.52 PMThank you Oregon and Washington!!

 

Oregon and Washington Concerts and Workshop

*Read about the program in the Coast Weekend

Slide1

 

**Go to www.ALCGuitar.com/calendar for complete tour info**

ASTORIA:

Aaron L-C, Astoria Feb-7-8-11BEND:

aaron Volcanic poster

CANNON BEACH:

Coaster Poster

2014 – A Year in Pictures & Videos

2014 was full of music with over 50 concerts throughout the United States and in Russia.  I gave  World Premiere performances of compositions by Thomas L. Read, Schott Scharff, Ricardo Odriozola and Martin Schreiner; introduced new works to Russia by Ken Ueno, Francine Trester and Keigo Fujii.  Made new friends via collaborations with the Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet and the Mu Phi Epsilon Tri-annual convention, reunited with musical friends for concerts with  Schola Cantorum of Boston, mezzo-soprano Betany Coffland and cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer.

Below are some pictures and videos from the year!

January

Café Tango, photo by Nancy Barron

Café Tango, photo by Nancy Barron

Performance of Libertango by Piazzolla with Mary Oleskiewicz, flute and bandoneon, Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February
Premiere of ‘Lullaby’ by Schott Scharf

March
Denver, Colorado & Memphis, Tennessee

Concert with the Denver Skyline

Concert with the Denver Skyline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April
Touring with Betany Coffland

Betany & Aaron at Red Poppy Art House, San Francisco

Betany & Aaron at Red Poppy Art House, San Francisco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May
Russia with the Educational Bridge Project’s ‘Days of America Festival’

With Catherine at Catherine's Palace

With Catherine at Catherine’s Palace

Oval Hall, Moscow DSCN0296

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read about the Festival here:  http://alcguitar.com/blog/days-of-american-culture-in-russia-festival-2014/

 

June
Concerts in Maine!

Eastport, ME  Photo by Robin Farin

Eastport, ME
Photo by Robin Farin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July

Concerts in Southern California!

Katherine Bender, 2014 Encinitas

Katherine Bender, 2014 Encinitas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August
Mu Phi Epsilon International Convention, Sacramento!
Edited New CD!

September
Wakefield World Music Festival
US Premiere of Concert Champêtre by Thomas L. Read

Aaron, Thomas Read and Rafael Popper-Keizer

Aaron, Thomas Read and Rafael Popper-Keizer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October
Boccherini Intro & Fandango with the Rimsky Korsakov String Quartet

Concert Champêtre with Anton Andreev, cello

November
Schola Cantorum of Boston (technically October & November)

December
Some extended techniques!

Some extended techniques at Living Buddha Nature, Millis, MA

Living Buddha Nature, Millis, MA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for a great 2014 and see you soon.
Musically,
Aaron