Monday, September 3, 2007

Episode 039 - feat. Maxi Geil! and Playcolt, Paul Mercer, Maya Beiser, and Bellevue Rendezvous

Maya Beiser - Far Off Country, (Ten)
Bellevue Rendezvous - "Tolka Polka set"
Paul Mercer - "Trains"
Maxi Geil! & Playcolt - "Cold Genius"

Hello everyone,

Maya Beiser is one of the premiere American cellists, frequently performing the works of today's contemporary composers. I first heard Maya on her 2000 disc Kinship - a collaboration with various Arab and Indian composers. She recently was the featured performer in Steve Reich's Cello Conterpoint - the latest in his ongoing "Counterpoint" series. Her latest disc Almost Human features the sprawling Eve Beglarian piece Far Off Country. Her piece starts the episode without introduction.

Scottish group Bellevue Rendezvous is a world fusion group of sorts, with influences that spread well into northern and eastern Europe. Music is performed on the violin, the bazouki, and the nyckelharpa -- a traditional fiddle of Swedish origin that stops the strngs with keys (much like a hurdy gurdy). This selection, called simply "Tolka Polka Set" is a medley of tunes: Donal Lunny's "Tolka Polka," "Breton Hanter An Dro," "Welsh Fairy Dance," and "French Mediaeval Tune."

Paul Mercer's recent Ghosts project features works composed or improvised based on the unique acoustic and physical qualities of the various instruments. The featured track on this program was performed on an 1820 Hungarian viola made of Carpathian spruce - an instrument that Paul describes has having a "special affinity with rain" and incredible pizzicato tones. This piece emerged spontaneously in the studio after seeing a light reflected in the studio glass that resembled a distant train lamp.

Maxi Geil! and Playcolt is a Brooklyn-based rock band whose latest disc Strange Sensation features a cello-and-voice interpretation of the "Cold Genius Rises" passage of Henry Purcell's opera King Arthur. Their perforance is faithful to the original score. Features Okkyung Lee on cello

Thanks for listening!

Mark Allender, producer-host

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