Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cello Party! de Falla & Villa Lobos arr. for Lots of Cellos

I was looking at a a friend's facebook page and watching some of the YouTube videos he'd posted when a recommendation popped up for a wonderful arrangement of de Falla's Ritual Fire Dance performed by a group of about a dozen cellists with one soloist, Luca Sulic. I then found a very nice performance of a Villa Lobos piece from the same performance, but this time with no soloist.

The recordings were filmed in a beautiful, small hall at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in 2005. You can hear enough of the reverb in the recording to know that it must have been incredible to witness those 12 cellos in that room. The building is just singing with the overtones of those cellos! While it might sound a bit muddy when recorded, it must have been amazing in person.

So here is a playlist with both pieces. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve & John Hackett

Genesis fans will of course be familiar with guitarist Steve Hackett, but some of you may not be aware that his younger brother is also a talented musician. John Hackett's primary instrument is the flute; John recounts on his website that Peter Gabriel would sometimes ask to borrow his flute after wielding his own flute on stage as a sword, with rather disastrous consequences. On such occasions John would fear for the safety of his own treasured instrument!

In recent years John has begun playing a custom-made, vertically-held flute. Although I was unable to find a published explanation for this, I would expect it is for medical or comfort reasons.

Here are three videos of some very nice performances featuring John and Steve together, joined by different keyboardists, from recent performances:

Steve and John have both released numerous classically oriented recordings in recent years, both together and separately. Rather than attempting a complete list, I highly recommend the following:
Portions of all three of these albums can be heard in two different episodes of the Classical Connection radio show: Episode #3: Classical Genesis, and Episode #12, a special featuring Steve Hackett. I had the opportunity to interview Steve via email for the episode concerning his favorite classical music, his new album at the time, Wild Orchids, which features mostly orchestral tracks mixed with rock instrumentation, and other related topics. Both hour-long episodes are available for listening at the show's website.

And I'm looking forward to John's new  album, to be released on October 24th: Moonspinner, featuring music for classical guitar and flute. Watch his promotional video below: