The title track for this album is Escapade. The word elicits the idea of an action or journey that leads to an undetermined outcome. The music presented — each piece or taken as a whole — is a journey. Open your heart and mind to the music, and let your thoughts and experiences guide your path. Your participation will determine your own unique destination. Music is a collaboration between composer, performer, and listener. Thank you for joining us.
Escapade: My initial concept for this piece was to freely explore a simple idea and let it lead wherever it might. In my search for a clearer vision of the work, I came across the word “escapade,” defined as an adventurous action or journey that runs counter to the norm and often leads to unexpected results or destinations. This word captured the spirit of the unrestrained approach I had in mind and it propelled me into the work. I started with four pitches, the first four of the piece, and simply followed where they led. The result of this exploration is Escapade.
Klempirik Farms: “The Farm” was where my mother was raised and my grandparents resided. Prior to that it was where my grandfather was raised and my great-grandparents resided. It is a humble piece of ground that, like its residents, is warm, welcoming, nurturing, prosperous, and kind. In my youth I saw it as a place of wonder and discovery, labor and laughter, dreams and exploration, rambunctiousness and responsibility. The farm was the dirt on my hands after planting in the garden, the water in my shoes after falling in the creek, the wheat in my pockets after combining, the sweetness of the air after a summer’s rain, the melodious sound of Grandpa working in the shed, and the heavenly smells coming from Grandma’s kitchen. The farm is this and so much more; it transcends the physical place. It is a great gift that was cultivated by my ancestors, an ideal, a radiant place, a boundless source of peace, joy, and quiet strength given to my generation. It is a place that lives on in the hearts of me and my kinsfolk waiting to be cultivated, to be nurtured and nurturing, reaped and sown, and passed on. These are the Klempirik Farms. This work is dedicated to all the givers of this great gift, especially my grandparents, Ted and Alice, and my mother, Carol.
Blow, Eastern Winds was commissioned by and for the Eastern Wind Symphony. It is a vibrant group in delightful motion — the Eastern Winds in delightful motion. Simply stated, sound is air in motion. To make sounds, something must set the air into motion. Blowing is the way most members of the wind ensemble set the air into motion. Rather than the ominous, ill-wind of yore, imagine blowing winds from the east — winds both gentle and turbulent, an exuberant flow of invisible streams of air with the confluence of currents and crosscurrents. Be it a soft, restrained, yet powerful breeze, a collision of violent crosscurrents resulting in fierce storms, or an exhilarating, free-flowing stream that leaves whirls and swirls in its wake, they all are, like the Eastern Wind Symphony, dynamic, full of energy, and unstoppable.
Dream: A series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep, or a state of mind marked by abstraction or release from reality. This piece was commissioned by Danny Helseth. I set out to write an engaging musical work that reflects Danny’s technical and interpretive abilities; he shines on high-energy, intense, and emotion-filled pieces.
The Winds of the Quadrumvirate was written to feature the Solar Winds clarinet quartet in a symphonic setting. The “Winds” refers to Solar Winds and the four cardinal points of the compass: North, South, East, and West. The “Quadrumvirate” is a group of four working together as one. The work highlights the technical and musical diversity of each of the “four winds” individually, and then combines their diverse styles together into a distinct whole.
Der Heyser Bulgar: Percussionist Steve Przyzycki asked me to write a virtuosic xylophone piece for him in a traditional klezmer style. He requested Der Heyser Bulgar, a traditional Yiddish folk song. This piece is, like Steve, joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic.
— Joseph T. Spaniola
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Big Round Records is dedicated to presenting world-class musicians doing what they do best: smash the walls of genre and create groundbreaking new sounds while keeping one foot firmly rooted in tradition. Overdriven bassoons, orchestra-backed swing groups, blues-inflected Zydeco, outlandish arrangements of Disney songs, and modern-protest tunes is just a small slice of what you'll hear on our releases, which feature some of today's most forward-thinking and respected artists such as John Hall (Orleans), Steve Gadd, Andy Jaffe, Eddie Gomez, Tony Oxley, Charlie Barnett, Richard Stoltzman, Tony Clef, Mika Yoshida, and many more. Out of the box? With Big Round, there is no box.
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