MP3 John Neal - Eight Years, Off And On
This CD is a compilation of "classical"-style keyboard performances (some on acoustic piano, some on synthesizers) along with three original electronic compositions in different styles.
17 MP3 Songs in this album (50:22) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: Debussy, CLASSICAL: Bach
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John Neal holds a bachelors degree in music education from The Ohio State University and a masters degree in conducting performance from the University of Connecticut, and recently completed his thirtieth year as a high school music educator. A piano student from the age of eight, his teachers include Hildred Curtis Fowler, Natasha Chances, Rosemary Platt and Neal Larrabee.
In the early 1990’s, John was introduced to electronic music sequencing by his good friend and mentor John Milazzo; he slowly assembled a synthesizer collection and began sequencing – at first, projects for his high school music students and local drama productions, and then original compositions.
By 1994, after failing miserably at writing pop songs (music: too complicated; lyrics: too personal), John had completed a handful of successful original instrumental compositions, which he combined with recordings and sequences of some of his favorite piano pieces into this compilation entitled “Eight Years, Off And On” (referring to the fact that it took eight years of recording after school and during summer vacations to complete the project). There follows some notes on the selections included.
First, Debussy has been a favorite of mine since my undergraduate recital in 1978, and "Clair de Lune" was on that program; the "Suite Bergamasque" from which it comes, along with the Arabesques, perhaps constitute two of the more accessible of Debussy''s piano works and are certainly two of the best known.
Tracks 9-14 were experiments in electronic sequencing using favorite works of the Baroque period and especially J.S. Bach; purists (and my former teachers!) should know that, although modern electronic workstations can record very slowly and then have the synthesizers play back up to speed, I can play these pieces on the piano exactly at the tempos heard on the CD! Track 13 (the fourth two-part invention, in Dm) deserves some explanation, as the interpretation is (to say the least!) controversial. I once assigned this piece to a young piano student of mine, who came to his next lesson and "swung" it, tripletizing the rhythms and making it sound like jazz! Of course, I corrected him at once -- and then I thought, privately, that was pretty cool, and what could I do with it on the synthesizers in swing style? Here is the result, with apologies to J.S. Bach.
The final three tracks are original compositions, track 17 featuring an inspired guitar solo by my colleague and good friend Michael Hughes; this piece appears on the "Vasalisa" CD titled "Forest Animals". As a compilation, this CD represents a collection of some of my very favorite keyboard works along with three original electronic pieces, and in a sense constitutes a modest retrospective of my career as a keyboardist. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!