The Grammy-nominated string orchestra A Far Cry and pianist Simone Dinnerstein have teamed up on a new recording of keyboard concertos by Philip Glass. The album, entitled Circles, will be released on Glass’ Orange Mountain Music label.
The album features the world premiere recording of Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a new concerto for piano and strings co-commissioned by A Far Cry and composed by Glass specifically for Dinnerstein, whom the New York Times calls ''an utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation.''
Dinnerstein and A Far Cry toured the new Glass concerto in the fall of 2017, and recorded the album in the stellar acoustics of Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. Of their world premiere performance at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, the Boston Globe wrote, ''[Dinnerstein and A Far Cry] caught and held the music’s patient grandeur, giving each phrase, each chord judicious gravity.'' The Wall Street Journal called it ''an inspired pairing,'' adding ''Mr. Glass could not have hoped for a more graceful, fluid reading.''
The idea first germinated in 2014, when Dinnerstein and Glass met for breakfast in his garden and found that they shared a strong interest in the music of Bach and its impact on the world today. Glass, having come to know her work over the years, offered to write a piece for her, and Dinnerstein proposed that it be a concerto for piano and strings, to be paired with one of Bach’s own. She explains, ''There are almost no concertos written for piano and strings since Bach’s time. The pairing of the Bach concerto with Philip’s own composition creates myriad strands of connectivity, enabling the listener to create bridges between the old and the new.''
Glass finished Piano Concerto No.3 in 2017 as a response to hearing Dinnerstein play at the Glenn Gould Prize concert in Ottawa the previous year. He explains in the album’s liner notes, ''I can say that Bach’s music was not consciously in my mind as I composed this new concerto, but in a way it’s unavoidable. My basic musical formation was influenced by the study of Bach for years during my studies with Nadia Boulanger. Inasmuch, while this piece itself is not directly influenced by Bach, his music is by definition a part of mine.''
To fund the work, Dinnerstein reached out to a number of orchestras from across the U.S. and Canada, eventually enlisting a total of 12, from various parts of the country, to co-commission the work. It was clear from the beginning that the premiere and recording should fall to Boston’s A Far Cry, with whom Dinnerstein had formed a musical connection after filling in for pianist Leon Fleisher at a concert in 2016.
Jason Fisher (viola) of A Far Cry says, ''A Far Cry has always been a proponent of new music, and it has been a dream of ours since day one to commission a major work from an iconic American composer such as Philip Glass. We’re delighted to be partnering on this project with Simone Dinnerstein, a collaborator beloved by our group and one of America’s finest pianists.''
''I couldn’t imagine a more perfect partner to bring this record to life,'' Dinnerstein says. ''Just as this commission is the result of a collective effort between many orchestras, A Far Cry is a collective unto themselves, with every musician serving as an active listener and contributor.''
Circles is produced, engineered, mix and edited by Adam Abeshouse.
Dinnerstein tours Glass’ Concerto No. 3 with the New Century Chamber Orchestra in California this May. A Far Cry and Dinnerstein will perform on May 25 at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto.
VINYL: 180 GRAM BLACK VINYL
LIMITED TO 500
1. Movement I (8:16)
2. Movement II (11:09)
1. Movement III (for Arvo Part) (13:58)
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