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MP3 The Schmidt/Verdery Duo - Enchanted Dawn

Flute and guitar music from Japan, Brazil, India and America.

12 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Traditional, CLASSICAL: Contemporary

All the music you will hear on this recording has a story or a fond memory for Rie and me. They are pieces that found their way into our repertoire and hearts at completely different times. When it came time to record, we were delighted to find that in a curious way they seemed to fit together.
Haru No Umi (The Sea in Springtime) was originally written in 1931 for the koto and shakuhachi (relatives of the Western flute and guitar) by the Japanese composer, Michio Miyagi. This transcription by Janet Ketchum and Peter Segal is a natural. Besides being a wonderfully evocative piece, we both love the sea and springtime, and Rie is half-Japanese; for all those reasons, we wanted to record it.
Several years ago, a dear friend kept bringing me recordings of Astor Piazzolla, who at the time was a new composer to me. I loved all the music I heard, but my favorite one was entitled Tango Zero Hour. When I heard the legendary guitar duo, the Assads play a Piazzolla work in New York City, I was also moved. Their performance was an inspiration to Rie and me. In this same period, my father-in-law was telling me how much fun he was having playing Piazzolla Études (he is a great flutist, musician and was Rie’s first teacher) and that we should see if he wrote a piece for flute and guitar. I found a score of the L’Histoire du Tango which was dedicated to the great Argentinean guitarist, Roberto Aussel. Since then, the piece has become one of the most popular in the flute and guitar repertoire, and for good reason. Playing this piece will always be an honor and a thrill.
Playing music by our friends is always a joyous and enriching experience. A few years ago I called Fred Hand to inquire whether he had any new music I could learn. We met at his apartment, and he played through A Psalm of Thanksgiving (singing the flute part!) and I begged him to give me a copy. Since then, we have performed it many times. Rie has also performed it with Fred, giving me the opportunity to hear how he plays various passages. Fred was one of my teachers and will always be one of our favorite musicians. He said this about the work:
“A few years ago I had the privilege of joining a group of composers in New York City, whose purpose was to explore the relationship between music and philosophy. As the basis of our work we used scripture, ranging from the ancient Upanishads to the Old and New Testaments. Our method was to reflect deeply on the words of the text and then to compose, simply recording the notes that were heard, without judgment. This setting of Psalm 100 is the result of that practice.”
In 1986, composer Martin Bresnick arranged for solo guitar On an Overgrown Path (originally for piano) by the Czech composer, Leos Janácek. He arranged them for Dorothy Wagner, a gifted guitarist and student at Yale at the time. After hearing them performed I felt I had to play them too. They are substantial contributions to the guitar repertoire. I thank and congratulate Martin for having the vision to arrange them for solo guitar. Although only three are represented here, I hope to record all ten at a later date.
Gilbert Biberian, a familiar name to any guitarist, has given the guitar world many extraordinary pieces and transcriptions. I remember asking him if he had any new flute and guitar music, and to my delight these pieces arrived soon after our meeting. Being with Gilbert and playing his music is always inspiring. I asked him to say a few words about these two gems:
“These pieces were originally composed for piano. They are typical Armenian song and dance forms characterized by their simplicity and chastened sensuality.”
We first heard Ravi Shankar’s L’Aube Énchantée (The Enchanted Dawn) in its flute and guitar premiere in 1977 (originally written for flute and harp) at Avery Fisher Hall in New York, performed by Jean-Pierre Rampal and Alexandre Lagoya. It was a concert that could not be missed, especially since Rie had studied with Rampal in Nice, France the previous year. Since George Harrison’s introduction of Ravi Shankar’s music to our generation, Shankar has been one of my favorite musicians. When we found the piece had been published, we had to learn it. After all, how often do flute and guitar duos get to play ragas, not to mention one written by such a towering musician? When it came time to record it, it seemed natural to add tablas. We had the good fortune of playing with Samir Chatterjee, who is an extraordinarily sensitive and virtuosic tabla player. His guidance about the music was invaluable. Ragas are written for different times of the day. This work is based on the raga Todi, which is an early morning raga, starting slowly and then accelerating as the course of a day. We decided to have Samir perform a solo between movements and that I should play a simple accompaniment figure.
We would like to thank Vicki Bodner and Tom Clippert for their invaluable help during the recording sessions, Richard Ziello for his beautiful artwork on the cover and help with the layout and Steve Epstein for his engineering and good humor during the editing. We sincerely hope you enjoy listening to this music.
--Benjamin Verdery

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