Tag Archives | Kevin Purcell

The Orchestral Music of Nan Schwartz

Well, it is almost upon us!  After two years – almost to the day – three continents for recording sessions and the contribution of some of the best musicians on the planet, the Nan Schwartz album will hit the streets on March 9 (UK) and March 16 (USA) through Divine Art Records.

It’s often difficult to remain entirely detached from creative work in which you have been directly involved.  That said, this is a record of contemporary new classical music unlike anything I have heard (and I have heard almost everything) in the last 20 years.  The reason is that the music is so utterly brilliant and captivating, it seems literally impossible to contemplate why these pieces by America’s greatest living woman composer have gone unrecorded!

I have thought about this a lot over recent months watching the exciting and seemingly inexorable movement around the world to finally give women the recognition they deserve in the Entertainment and Arts worlds. What it has highlighted to me is how artists of extraordinary abilities can be so easily subsumed by an industry that only seeks out the ‘latest’ and ‘most hip’ trends (I’m sure those words are probably out-of-date) failing to ever look more closely for, and at the work from, Artists whose calibre of work outstrips the ‘latest’ and ‘most hip’ by eons.

The classical music industry is notoriously indolent in not seeking out new work that will have broad appeal to audiences trying to “get into” classical music and who wish to go further than the same, rather tired, playlists so often foist upon unsuspecting audiences by broadcasters.  I hope, in some small way, this might change with this record for there is is so much wonderful new classical music being written all around the world that most people never get to hear.

Finally, a word of encouragement to the numerous orchestras around the world looking for programming ideas – LISTEN TO THIS RECORD!

If you’d like to read more and listen to some excerpts from this marvellous new recording, please click here.

Take care,

Kevin

Orchestra Musicians Never Fail To Amaze Me

Kevin PurcellThis is a duplicate post I wrote for the Australian Discovery Orchestra website about a recent experience.

I had the great pleasure last weekend of working with an essentially ‘scratch’ orchestra comprised predominantly of musicians teaching instrumental music in Schools in Melbourne and regional areas; including some musicians from the ADO roster, all of whom gave so generously of their time.

The ADO, through Managing Director, Janine Hanrahan, and Artistic Administrator, Briony Buys, was asked to curate this concert for the inaugural Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) Arts Learning Festival. I was delighted to return to Melbourne to work with the orchestra on a program of music specifically composed for Children.

We really need to celebrate the capacity of orchestra musicians who live in Australia: their willingness to tackle difficult music – with far too little rehearsal time; an undaunted enthusiasm for the task of finding their musical way through a barrage of notes, rhythms, dynamics and endlessly shifting tempi and, ultimately, their conviction that they can “pull it off” when the moment really counts – the concert!

We underestimate and under-appreciate orchestra musicians generally.  I believe this is true in most places in the world with very few exceptions. What is asked of them – in terms of the minutely exacting technical and artistic expectations  – is a continuing feat of human dexterity and skill-level that belies any general understanding of what they individually and collectively accomplish in the process of making music. Continue Reading →