Posts tagged music
New Album Night Triptych Praised by Critics
It’s been 1 month since Duo Noire released our album Night Triptych, featuring 6 incredible new classical guitar duets by brilliant women composers from around the world: Clarice Assad, Courtney Bryan, Golfam Khayam, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Gity Razaz, and Gabriella Smith.  

 We are honored to have worked with them and to have received such amazing reviews, including this newest one from 
Stereophile.  

 We hope the guitar world enjoys and embraces this music of our time.  
*** 
“There’s a goldmine of ideas here, whose riches will unveil themselves more and more over time.” -Stereophile 
*** 
“Flippin and Mallett [are] virtuosos who invest their performances with energy and conviction. To claim that the two break new ground in the world of classical guitar music on the hour-long release isn’t overselling it.” 
-Textura.org 

 ***  
“All contemporary programs of guitar music are not common, and this may be the first to feature exclusively female composers…A truly pathbreaking recording that is greatly satisfying in its own right.” -AllMusic 

 #newfocusrecordings #gabriellasmith #classicalmusic #classicalguitar #classicalguitarist #classicalguitarasia #strings #music #newmusic #composer #guitar #guitarduo #albumcover #albumart #acousticguitar #guitarstagram #womeninmusic #womencomposers #classicalmusician

It’s been 1 month since Duo Noire released our album Night Triptych, featuring 6 incredible new classical guitar duets by brilliant women composers from around the world: Clarice Assad, Courtney Bryan, Golfam Khayam, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Gity Razaz, and Gabriella Smith.

We are honored to have worked with them and to have received such amazing reviews, including this newest one from
Stereophile.

We hope the guitar world enjoys and embraces this music of our time.
***
“There’s a goldmine of ideas here, whose riches will unveil themselves more and more over time.” -Stereophile
***
“Flippin and Mallett [are] virtuosos who invest their performances with energy and conviction. To claim that the two break new ground in the world of classical guitar music on the hour-long release isn’t overselling it.”
-Textura.org

***
“All contemporary programs of guitar music are not common, and this may be the first to feature exclusively female composers…A truly pathbreaking recording that is greatly satisfying in its own right.” -AllMusic

#newfocusrecordings #gabriellasmith #classicalmusic #classicalguitar #classicalguitarist #classicalguitarasia #strings #music #newmusic #composer #guitar #guitarduo #albumcover #albumart #acousticguitar #guitarstagram #womeninmusic #womencomposers #classicalmusician

Pat Metheny on Music, Life, and Practicing
The only thing that remains really true is the feeling that at the end of the day, I know that I really played good or I didn’t. Or that I made some progress and I understand something that I didn’t understand at the beginning of the day, or I don’t. This to me, is the real currency of what it is to have a life of a musician. This accumulated wisdom and insight into the reality of music, and as much of a stretch as it might be sometimes, therefore into life and living…The main thing in my life, even as I stand here right now, right this second, is that I really need to go home and practice.
— Pat Metheny, 1996 Berklee Commencement Speech

I have made this mistake many times. I have played things that are not playable. You know, trying to prove that I could play more notes than other guitarists could. And then, at one point, you realize that “really, is that so important for me to show?” As you get older, at least for me, it’s much more about the beauty.



At the very beginning, it was the sound of the guitar. Then at one point, you realize that it’s more than the sound, that there’s music that’s even more interesting… But then you realize at one point that there is another level, it can become art.

Guitar Coop Interview with Manuel Barrueco Pt.3. (Youtube)
We’ve realized that we fell in love with the guitar for the same reason- not because we saw somebody play perfectly but because it touches us where we live.
— David Tanenbaum, Classical Guitar Magazine (Spring 2015)
You know, music is just not that important … I don’t enjoy messing up, but I accept that the only way to get better is to suck. And some people work really hard to circumvent that process by never playing a song that they haven’t immaculately prepared, and when you play like that and think like that, then nothing magical can happen on stage. You have to learn to leave some room to let things happen. But that requires risk. And if you’re risk averse, you shouldn’t be doing this. You should be an accountant.
— Branford Marsalis, The San Antonio Current, February 18, 2015

A behind-the-scenes look from Duo Noire’s recording session in Brooklyn last summer. This is our recent arrangement of R. Nathaniel Dett’s famous “Juba” dance. It was a common dance performed by slaves on plantations across the south. People would clap and slap their thighs and chests while singing and stomping their feet in 2/4 time (8th + two 16ths). Sometimes a lead fiddler or dancer would show off with increasing virtuosity as the crowd encouraged them. Slaves used their bodies for percussion because they were forbidden from having drums due to a fear that they would transmit coded messages. Glad to share this with the guitar community in the new issue of Soundboard. 

The goal of education is more education. To be well-educated, then, is to have the desire as well as the means to make sure that learning never ends…/If at any point, the journey stops, then education has failed.
— Alfie Kohn/Steve Denning
On failure and redemption.

image“This will be our reply to violence: To make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly, than ever before.” -Leonard Bernstein

Last month, I had an epiphany in the shower: Instead of writing the ensemble piece I was asked to write for St Louis students, I would write a piece related to the recent shooting of the St Louis teenager Michael Brown. The topic spoke to me more than what was originally planned, and when artists can do what they want, rather than what they are asked, the work is usually more meaningful. Presumptuous?

I began researching the events and discovered Michael Brown’s rap songs. Many of them were vulgar, but I decided to take a melody he had used and based an entire piece around those eight notes.  The aim wasn’t to glorify his crude raps, but to represent him aurally. The hope was that teens from all over the city would perform it and the whole community could come together across racial and socioeconomic lines to reflect on the situation in a healing and thoughtful way. Audacious?

Two weeks later and I had something…something I am very proud of. There is a reading by Du Bois to contextualize the racial aspect, and I gave players the option to raise or not raise their hands as they finish playing, in the hope that they could have a conversation about their choice. The fact is, people of good faith can -and do- have differing opinions about Ferguson, but I felt everyone would appreciate what I was trying to do. Naive?

But my perspective as a New Yorker didn’t anticipate just how tense and divisive things in St Louis are right now. And there are so many factors involved in having teens perform: Administrators, teachers, students and parents all have to be for it. Then there are all sorts of considerations for the presenting organization: Will we alienate members? Be seen as taking sides in this polarizing issue? How will the media portray this (e.g. “Presenter Showcases Vulgar Rap Song”)? We fought the good fight, even changing aspects of the piece to assuage objections (this is a whole other subject), but in the end, the difficulty in getting it performed as conceived became overwhelming. Failure.

UPDATE: So when at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I went back to the drawing board and through luck, grace, and the hard work of certain individuals I’m grateful to, the piece will be premiered by Duo Noire at the Alliance of Black Art Galleries in St Louis. Now the real work can begin.  Redemption.