I have had remarkably little time in the last month, other than to keep my head above that euphemistically imaginary line labelled ‘Drowning’. I have started to consider how much music can one conductor keep in his/her head at any one time. Without doubt, I have discovered my limit!
This month sees the culmination of two recording projects, for release in 2017, that have been long in the planning and about to be short in the execution.
The first of these projects is the new CD of the music of contemporary American composer, Nan Schwartz to be recorded at the marvellous Synchron Stage facility in Vienna. The original Synchronhalle was built in the 1940s, adjacent to Rosenhügel-Filmstudios as part of “Film City Vienna”. In the 1960s, eminent classical artists such as Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, Yehudi Menuhin, Sviatoslav Richter and Mstislav Rostropovich used the halle for some of their now-legendary recordings.
Nan Schwartz comes from a family musical pedigree that is astounding, yet simultaneously defining in the emergence of her own unique musical voice in Amercian Music. Contrary to the availability of her Jazz arrangements, television and film music on records and CDs, the lack of available commercial recordings of Nan’s concert music is a major oversight – one that is about to be corrected.
Her family legacy includes a father who played with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and performed on nearly every Frank Sinatra recording, and a mother who performed such chart-topping hits as “Chicago” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” for musical legend Tommy Dorsey before going on to work as a studio singer for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Judy Garland, Henry Mancini, and Sonny and Cher, among others.
With a record 7 Emmy nominations, a Grammy win for her elegant and sophisticated arrangement of “Here’s That Rainy Day” for Natalie Cole, two 2014 Grammy nominations (Gianmarco & Amy Dickson), and a 2013 Grammy nomination (The London Symphony Orchestra) Nan’s melodic, harmonically-rich music, is a perfect vehicle for symphony orchestras to peform. No doubt you will start to see her name on orchestra concert programs in the near future.
The second project is the recording of Brenton Broadstock’s concerto for orchestra, Made in Heaven, that I premiered with the Australian Discovery Orchestra two weeks ago in one of their live-streamed Internet concerts. This is a marvellous piece and a wonderful homage to ‘Kind of Blue’, the iconic Jazz album of 1959 from Miles Davis. It is incredible how this large-scale work (for a very large orchestra) captures the heart and soul of this Jazz masterpiece without ever using a single melody from any tune on the record – it’s like a classical music counterpart to the five tunes that make up the album.
Made in Heaven will be recorded in Bratislava in early July.