Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chillin' with Higdon

I Can Haz Muzik?

After listening to Steampunk admittedly a bunch of times, I wanted to find some similar sounding pieces. In that search I came across Concerto 4-3 written by Jennifer Higdon. It could equally work well in that alternate Victorian universe. 

Now, I recognized Hidon's name from a chat with a friend who told me to write about her. (This post is just for you!) But I don't want to post something so similar to the last piece, though you're welcome to click on the link for some epilogue worthy ear candy.

Instead, I'll feature two other pieces from the Brooklynite. Let me first say Jen is praised as one of the most performed living American composers, with her Blue Cathedral piece for orchestra being performed over 400 times since its premier in 2000. I didn't know she was that popular, but after listening to recordings of her music, I'm not surprised. A lot of her stuff sounds really good while being technically challenging. 

Ironically, I chose to feature two woodwind-centric pieces  when her 2014 concert schedule is percussion and string heavy. Of all her performances next year, I'm especially especially excited for Skyline. Also, you can hear Blue Cathdedral performed by the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra 22 February. 

But on to the two pieces that I chose because isn't that what this post is about? First up is Calmly for its mix of jazz and classical (jazzical?). Also, saxophone is under-represented in classical music and this is one piece that I can see becoming a classical standard. Don't be fooled by the calm introduction. This piece goes places and is deceptively busy despite its title. If you're looking to switch up your playlist for any seasonal party with friends, add this one. The other piece is Autumn Reflection, which has a French impressionist feel with some serious Debussy-esque goings on in the piano. 


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