Poor Greg. Most of the time, his news gets squished into a paragraph or two somewhere in my long, rambling, always-behind-the-times blog updates. Lately, though, he's had so much going on that his news deserves a whole post of its own.
There I was, tooling down the southern coastal route of Nova Scotia toward Yarmouth and the ferry, when Greg called. "Huge, amazing, wonderful news!" he said -- and he was right. Apparently ERM Media is picking up the orchestral version of the Water Suite for Volume 15 (or is it 16?) of their Masterworks of the New Era series. This is a fairly huge deal, since ERM has agreements with the Naxos label, with all of the big CD outlets such as Borders and Best Buy, and with practically every electronic outlet for music tracks, including iTunes and Napster. Pretty soon you can download The Man for 99 cents a track from iTunes! You won't be able to walk through a Borders bookstore without passing The Man in the Classical CDs section! Is this great, or what?!
The Czech Philharmonic and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra will be recording the works this summer in Prague. Greg says he probably won't go, but he will be able to talk to the conductor extensively before the sessions begin. If I had the available disposable income, I'd go to Prague -- not only could we sit in on the recording sessions/rehearsals, but we'd get to see Dinah Moe's litter sister Buffy and her family.
Of course, the activity level around here has been raised to tornado status as Greg prepares all the materials he needs to send to ERM before the recording session starts. He updated his bio, and had me take some new head shots for the CD art:
(Isn't he gorgeous?!) I had wanted to shoot a candid of him playing the piano, but I would have had to Photoshop out all of the house mess in the background -- so that idea went noplace. We ended up shooting against the back of the house instead.
In more Water Suite news, the Holyoke Civic Symphony wants to perform the suite sometime in the future. Greg's in the process of getting all the parts together for the orchestra, and will get them sent off as soon as he can. For a community symphony orchestra, these folks appear to do more than their share of new music premieres. Kudos to them! So many musical organizations prefer to stick to Mozart (or in the case of the chorus I used to sing with, old tired show tunes) because it's "safe."
Water really is turning out to be his greatest hit thus far!
A couple of weekends ago he drove down to NYC to hear the world premiere of his solo violin piece Clayton Run-Around at the ACA Festival of New American Music. Minghuan Xu, the violinist, played the heck out of the piece and enjoyed it so much that she's asked Greg if she can use it as an encore at some of her upcoming performances. Greg wrote Clayton during our last trip to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. He was so taken with Cape Breton fiddling that he wrote this piece based on that style. The name "Clayton" comes from Clayton Farm (a working Red Angus cattle farm and B&B) in Mabou, NS, where we stayed for a few days. Clayton Farm is a well-known crossroads for musicians in that area, and Greg will be sending a CD and a copy of the score to the owner of the place.
Also within the space of the same week... Greg has also just found out that his bio will definitely appear in the 2008 edition of Who's Who in America. Now, not only can you find The Man in every Borders bookstore, but he'll also be available in every public library in the country. He says I get a mention in his bio -- so I guess I'll be in all the public libraries, too! (Look me up under "I'm With the Band.")
The Brass Quintet is finished, but Greg's not entirely sure what's next for the piece. He sent it off to the lead trumpeter of the brass quintet who asked for the piece, and the trumpeter (who had heretofore been enthused about it, even after reading the score) replied that it was unplayable by his ensemble, and then refused to say any more. I'm afraid I don't quite understand how this person could have been surprised by the difficulty of the piece after he's had a chance to read the score and was pretty damned chuffed about it at that time -- but either way, I'm not sure that whole Carnegie Recital Hall premiere thing is going to go off as hoped. Greg has no way of knowing whether the piece really is too hard for a brass quintet to play, or whether it's just too hard for that brass quintet to play. He's thinking of rescoring it for clarinets if he can't find ways to make it easier for brass.