Clark Media Productions

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Filtering by Category: new music

New recording: Tuba and 12

I am constantly amazed at the colleagues I have a chance to regularly make music with here in Washington, DC.  Since I started recording and working in audio over the past few years, the chance to record my colleagues in the Marine Band is always a treat.  Today, I’d like to share a recording I made recently for composer Anne McGinty, of her piece called Tuba and 12.  Anne composed the piece for solo tuba, piccolo, flute, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, 2 trumpets, 2 horns, and 2 trombones.  You can find the music for purchase at Anne’s website, McGinty Music. 

Here are Anne’s notes about the piece:

Tuba & 12 was inspired by a Bedouin proverb that states: “While the words are yet unspoken, you are master of them; when once they are spoken, they are master of you.”

Proverbs, in general, state a general piece of advice. This piece assumed that words were spoken, resulting in tension and an apology. Relationships, the first movement, has brass vs. woodwinds, tonality vs. dissonance, duples vs. triplets, et al. as well as the synergy and cooperation among all. Unspoken Words is the second movement and the dissonant opening theme in the piccolo and flute is presented three times. The third movement is Resolution. Over a constant low pedal G, the horn ostinato adds tranquility as all the themes from the first two movements return in fragmented form, before all is finally resolved.

Although tuba has top billing in the title, each instrument is equally important.

Many thanks to Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church for the use of their beautiful space to make this recording, and to Ryan Nowlin for his conducting and fantastic producer’s ear.

Personnel on this recording are:

Tuba - John Cradler

Piccolo - Courtney Morton

Flute - Beth Plunk

Clarinets - Tracey Paddock, Bill Bernier

Bass clarinet - Barbara Haney

Alto Sax - Steve Temme

Trumpets - Matt Harding, Michael Mergen

French horns - Hilary Harding, Mark Questad

Trombones - Bryan Bourne, Tim Dugan

Conductor and Producer - Ryan Nowlin

Producer, engineer, mixing - Chris Clark

Mastering - Michael Ducassoux, Red Room Productions



Thanks for listening! 

Oz meets Texas!

In May of 2015, two trombonists met at a trumpet workshop, no less...

They knew their lives had reached a new low, hanging around trumpeters and such...

They decided they MUST. TAKE. ACTION.

Introducing....

WORLDWIDE BONE

Oz meets Texas

Australian composer and trombonist Brendan Collins
Trombonist Chris Clark

Jazz Duet No. 1, by Brendan Collins

Sometimes you get lucky in life and run into people you just really have a great time with!  Brendan, in addition to being a talented trombonist, is a fantastic composer.  He has written a large amount of brass music, and continues to write interesting and fun compositions!  He has recently written a great quintet that Valor Brass hopes to perform this year.  I also took his Trombone Hymn for 4 trombones and recorded that with some friends this spring - that is a really beautiful piece.  Check out his music and give it a play!  

Brendan has generously offered to make his Jazz Duet available as a free download here on the site.  You can get it HERE.  Please take the time to join the email list on the site as well if you download the piece!

For the video, Brendan recorded the top line at home in Australia, and I recorded the bottom line and put the two together for the video.  It was great fun collaborating in this way.  We are already looking to do some more virtual projects together soon!  Virtual projects can yield REAL results...cool!

Enjoy.


I never thought I would discuss this!?!?

This week's post feels a little gratuitous, but it's a service that I have found quite useful over the past couple of months, so much so that I have been surprised by it!  Thanks for watching and let me know if you've found this useful as well. :)

David Bowie and brass quintets...

No not really, sorry!  But I am embarrassed to say that it took David Bowie's death for me to discover his music.  And wow, have I been missing out!  His new album, Blackstar, is amazing, and due to my wife's amazing Christmas gift to me of a new turntable, I did order it on vinyl!  

Tonight, I watched a great video produced by the BBC, with producer Tony Visconti, about the recording of another seminal Bowie album, Heroes.  The video was posted by one of my favorite writers, Austin Kleon, and it's well worth the 20 minutes you'll spend watching...

http://bbc.in/1QqfRTZ

I think one of the most interesting things about insights like this is the debunking of the myth that great creations spring from some fully formed vision of the artist, and that it all comes out in one clear and finished product.  Just like one of my favorite podcasts of late, Song Exploder, you see that that is most often not the case...

So, what does David Bowie have to do with brass quintets?  Well, nothing yet... maybe we can get our good friend Tom Holtz, who has arranged so many great tunes for Valor Brass to arrange something cool...???  Tonight, we had the chance to perform on a recital of the Composers' Society of Montgomery County in Bethesda, Maryland.  We played a new piece by composer Jeffrey H. Bauer, titled Danse Macabre.  Jeff is a conservatory trained (Peabody Institute) pianist and trombonist, and he contacted Valor Brass a few months ago about working together.  We really enjoyed his new work, and it just reinforced the fact that relationships between creators (composers) and musicians (performers) are such a rewarding experience.  Check out Jeff's scores at Balquhhider Music.

Here's a rehearsal recording from a few days ago of Danse Macabre...

 

"Excuse me, sir?  What should I do if I want to make it as a trombone player?"

   Blind Boys of Alabama   Moog factory tour

  Playing with fun toys 

 At a concert the other day, a young man approached me at intermission and, literally, asked me the question above.... 

After I said, "practice", I asked him if he listens to a lot of music.  He said, "not really."

Now, I will admit that I wasn't surprised to find a young player that doesn't listen to a lot of trombone recordings. However, I was surprised that someone who doesn't listen much did have the curiosity to ask the question in the first place. 

It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that you, as an aspiring musician, listen to as muc music as your ears and brain can stand. Preferably music that is directly related to the styles in which you want to be fluent. If you play the trombone, and you tell me you've never heard a recording by Joe Alessi, Christian Lindberg, or JJ Johnson, then you have some serious work to do!  I discussed with the young man where he might go to hear great performers: YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc., and most of it for free!  

The fact of the matter is, you will play the sounds you have in your head. If you can hear it, then you can proceed towards reproducing that sound. 

Second, you should be listening to music that you might think doesn't interest you. Over the past two weeks, I did two things that were eye openers for me: I toured the Moog synthesizer factory in Asheville, NC, and I heard the Blind Boys of Alabama while we were in Birmingham. The Moog tour was interesting because our tour guide, besides giving us a great overview of the history of Moog, pointed me towards some fantastic musicians and bands whose work I discovered I really enjoy, such as Deltron 3030 and Dan the Automator. Those are bands and music styles I would have NEVER discovered on my own!  Likewise, the Blind Boys of Alabama do play a style of music that I already enjoy, gospel, but their live show was so much more than that. Backed by an absolutely fantastic 4-piece band, they played gospel, soul, country, rock, and put on a live show that was as entertaining as it was musically amazing!

So, listen, listen, listen. No excuses!  That is, IF you want to improve and broaden your horizons.... :)

Yours virtually,

Chris

Blind Boys of Alabama Bombassic Deltron 3030

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