Robert Cassidy, Piano - NEW CLASSICAL ALBUM - Debussy, Chopin and Joel Feigin
Hello friends and family of the musical community! With the coming new year, I am very excited to record my second solo album. This new CD accompanies my debut album, on which I recorded the first book of Debussy's Preludes. I now present Book II of these exquisite miniatures, alongside the gorgeous Chopin Barcarolle in F#, Op. 60, and a wonderful set of Four Elegies by Joel Feigin (b.1951).
Recording an album is a collaborative effort, and I am fortunate to be in the hands of an excellent and familiar team. I am thrilled to have Ben Maas as our sound engineer, and Grammy award winning producer Elaine Martone join me, as she did on my first album, listening with discerning ears. We will record on February 2 -4, 2015 in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West, in Santa Barbara, California. Once we arrive at a final product we are proud of and ready to distribute, it will be presented and marketed to audiences worldwide.
Proceeds from CD sales will be shared with the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, www.sbrm.org. This important organization provides necessary help and assistance to the homeless and drug-addicted. I had such a fantastic time joining forces with this organization for my latest event in Santa Barbara, we have decided to continue our relationship and keep creating opportunities to provide for those in need, by drawing awareness through music!
The purpose of this project is to bring these pieces to life and present them in the best way possible. This means that from the recording space, to the final pressings and packaging of the album, there are many details to be attended to with great dedication and creativity, and the professionals at work must be rightly compensated and acknowledged. Where does your contribution go? The majority of expenses go towards:
- Piano Maintenance - Proper Equipment - Sound Engineering - Production
Other expenses: Album Art - Presentation - Packaging - Marketing - Delivery etc. These particulars are the thread that hold the whole package together, and make the listening experience truly unique and personal.
Everything comes together toward the same intent; to preserve the integrity of the music, further push my own knowledge and capacities, and simply record some outstanding music. Just as this project is a collaborative effort, so is funding to make it possible! I hope you will join me in reaching new ears and keeping classical music a dynamic voice in the arts.
Interested, but not sure if the music is for you? Read on...
The program is a rich and intriguing one. Debussy's Book II of Preludes is well-complimented by the cavernous atmosphere hung with suspensions of tenderness heard in Feigin's Four Elegies, while the Barcarolle speaks for itself. For those new to these composers, here is a brief description of the composers and pieces themselves.
Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918) - Most easily described as one of the most influential Impressionist composers to come out of France (or anywhere) in his time, although he was not fond of the label himself. He is an ingeniously playful composer, using a variety of musical devices that were previously unexplored at such depth by Western-European composers. His use of pentatonic scales, ambiguous tonality and emphasis on space, decorated with Debussy's character, create contexts and colors that easily infiltrate your imagination. Each Prelude is individually titled and is always descriptive or indicative to a certain mood or setting.
For an idea, below is a recording from my first solo CD, featuring Debussy's Preludes Book I. This recording is of only one Prelude from Book I, the famous "La Cathedrale engloutie" or "The Sunken Cathedral".
Frederic Chopin (1810 - 1849) - About fifty years before Debussy, Chopin was enjoying his popularity among musical peers and students as a master of technique and composition for piano. He would be revered by many of his most famous contemporaries, including Debussy himself. He was recognized as a child prodigy in Poland before he left for Paris, where he lived a short life in poor health, but high demand as a musician. The Barcarolle in F# Major, Op. 60, is unique for Chopin, who often composed with inspiration from nationalistic themes or polish folk tunes, and not often in the key of F# Major. Nevertheless, the dimensions and intensity of this piece lend itself easily to a performer. The Barcarolle is a call to the barcarola, a Venetian song among the gondoliers that is heard among other compositions of fellow 19th century composers.
Joel Feigin (b.1951) - Feigin studied composition at The Julliard School, and currently resides in Santa Barbara, California as a professor of composition at the University of California. Feigin's works have been premiered and celebrated world-wide, and I encourage you to explore his repertoire at http://joelfeigin.com. His Four Elegies for Piano: in Memoriam Renée Longy (1897-1979), was originally written in memory of Renee Longy, Feigin's ear-training teacher at Julliard. Expertly using the full range of the piano, Feigin bends your ear with tonality (or lack there of), register, and a moving blend of chaotic gusts and then profoundly simple lines that tantalize your emotions.
For more listening enjoyment, please refer to the "Bio" section of my profile and click on the media links, or simply visit my website www.robertcassidypianist.com.
I would like to thank the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission for giving this project a greater purpose, and for being excellent at what they do. I must also thank the Music Academy of the West for all the services and equipment they provide, not to mention the venue and piano!
To my family and friends who show me unwavering support and continuously inspire me, I cannot thank you enough.
And to all the listeners, readers, educators, students, music lovers and those who have stumbled upon this project out of curiosity; it is you that give art meaning and vibrancy. Thank you!
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