Connect with us

Music

Brian Field’s vocal diversity shines with ‘Vocal Works’

Published

on

Vocal Works’ is a compilation of pieces by American composer Brian Field on which the human voice is the main protagonist. With a long list of performers, the album contains a broad spectrum of works and instrumentation. Amongst the six pieces that make up the album, we can find dramatic song cycles with orchestral accompaniment, intimate a capella choral music, arrangements of traditional melodies, Broadway-inspired songs, and even a song cycle with piano.

‘By and by’ is the first number of the album, performed by The Budapest Chorus with Martón Tóth. It is a piece for a capella choir based on a hymn by Charles Albert Tindley. The singers are able to deliver a refined and modern take on the classical gospel sound. The conductor’s role in the preparation of the work can be especially seen in the choir’s extraordinary interpretational labor regarding the veiled timbre of the vocal emission, which greatly differs from that of a traditional European art-music choir.

The second work of the album—‘Tres canciones de amor’ (Three love songs)— is a song cycle for tenor and orchestra consisting of of three pieces named, Plena mujer, manzana carnal (Full woman, flesh-apple), Tengo hambre de tu boca (I crave your mouth), and Cuando yo muera (When I die). These are three poems stemming from Pablo Neruda’s poetic anthology ‘Cien sonetos de amor’ (one hundred love sonnets). Brian Field’s setting of these works reveals a side of his compositional aesthetic which, different from the album’s opening track, delves into the depths of post-romanticism. The three poems make up a cohesive whole through which a logical dramatic web is created.

Péter Illényi and The Hungarian Symphony Orchestra deliver a breathtaking reading of the cycle in which Field’s extraordinary orchestration shines through as an intrinsic part of the musical drama. Perhaps this performance more than any other on the record demonstrates the importance of a conductor attentive to detail and a responsive ensemble that is able to both technically and musically deliver accordingly. Recordings of new works or pieces which don’t belong to the standard repertoire rarely achieve such high-quality standards regarding ensemble tightness and subtlety. In this work, the orchestra has a protagonist role and is, as much as the singer, responsible for the turning of the dramatic wheels.

Regarding the tenor soloist Yanis Benabdallah, his command of the Spanish language is quite impressive for a non-native speaker and his delivery of the musical text engages the listener with Neruda’s text’s emotional and psychological depth.

Each of the three songs is unique and has its own characteristic features. The first one, Plena mujer, manzana carnal is the most expressionistic of the three with a broad dynamic range and generalized employment of dissonance. The second song, Tengo hambre de tu boca has a strong vocal presence in a declamatory style with few orchestral interventions. Finally, the closing song is the most blatantly operatic with fleeting references to Wagner, Strauss, and even Puccini. It is a highly lyrical piece that places Yanis Benabdallah in the spotlight and he delivers an extraordinary performance filled with passion and delicacy.

After the almost Wagnerian emotional climax of Neruda’s Cuando yo muera, the next track, Let’s Build a Wall! (An American Satire) with both the lyrics and the music composed by Brian Field, represents another stark stylistic contrast which at this point can already be seen as the norm. This piece is composed of tenor and a chamber ensemble. The subject matter is one of American president Donald Trump’s main campaign items for the 2016 presidential election, the construction of a wall between Mexico and the US as a response to the raging immigration crisis.

Zoli Mujahid’s delivery worked wonderfully well and emulated Broadway performance tropes perfectly. His powerful yet controlled voice is able to display a wide array of colors and timbres which perfectly capture the piece’s satiric and ever-changing style.

The orchestration once again demonstrates Field’s ability to masterfully adopt the stylistic properties which the piece at hand requires while still maintaining his own personal signature.

The album continues with an original arrangement for Soprano soloist and orchestra, of the traditional Sephardic lullaby Durme, Durme, Kerido Ijiko. Following the satire of let’s build a wall and the expressionist darkness of the Neruda songs, this arrangement comes as a much-needed emotional balm. The orchestra’s performance is filled with color and subtlety giving a light backdrop for Orsi Sapszon’s beautiful and heartfelt delivery.

The following track, Let the Light Shine on Me, returns us back to the intimate setting of the acapella choir with vocal solos in a similar gospel style to that of the opening piece. The Budapest Chorus delivers an even finer performance than on By and by with a warm vocal color and extraordinary dynamic range. The soloists’ performances are all-around stylistically on-point and contain beautiful flashes of the vocal display.

Before talking about the final work, it is important to make a comment regarding the album’s superb production quality, particularly regarding mixing. It is extremely difficult for albums with such a broad spectrum of instrumentations to sound cohesive and balanced but this one really hits the nail on it showcasing great clarity and every part shining through as it would in a live setting.

The final work in the album is Chimneys, sonnets-realities. This is an intimate song cycle for baritone with a piano accompaniment with texts from the E.E. Cummings’ collection Tulips and Chimneys. These are The Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls; goodby Betty, don’t remember me; ladies and gentlemen, this little girl; when you rang, at Dick Mid’s Place; “kitty”. sixteen, 5’1”, white, prostitute; and when thou hast taken thy last applause. E.E. Cummings bleak poetry is set in a through-composed manner with every verse getting an original treatment revealing the poet’s original train of thought.

As opposed to the other tracks on the album, this work was recorded live, giving it an extra dose of interest to the listening experience.

Musically speaking, this is Field’s most daring and modern work of the record. With a generally expressionistic language that reminds us of some twentieth-century song cycles like Arnold Schoenberg’s influential Pierrot Lunaire. However, perhaps the most noteworthy element of the cycle is not its rooting in preexistent models but actually its originality especially in terms of how each song (and poem) maintains the logical flow of the cycle while bringing in new elements.

The highlight of this performance is undoubtedly the extraordinary vocal work of Edward Whalen. Once again, in a manner similar to Pierrot Lunaire, Field has the singer constantly change the type of vocal delivery passing through powerful lyrical passages to short, rhythmically vigorous declamation and even an almost spoken delivery similar to Pierrot Lunaire’s sprechstimme technique.

Another noteworthy aspect of this work’s performance is pianist Veronica Tomanek’s masterful collaborative skills always leaving room for Whalen to shine through while at the same time delivering a strongly rooted and confident performance with great vigor and control.

Field’s setting of the words is extraordinary in the sense that it is able to deal with extremely characteristic poetry in a respectful way while at the same time enhancing its features.

All in all, this album succeeds both musically and production-wise with great performances and an all-around great sound. Another feature that makes it unique and indispensable addition to any record library is the extreme stylistic heterogeneity that Field demonstrates across his works, a feature which also makes it a wonderful introduction to the composer’s sound world.

Album name: Vocal Works

Composer: Brian Field

Year of publication: 2021

Performers (in order of appearance): The Budapest Chorus – Martón Tóth (Tracks 1 and 7)

Hungarian Symphony Orchestra – Péter Illényi (tracks 2-6)

Yanis Benabdallah (tracks 2-4)

Zoli Mujahid (Track 5)

Orsi Sapszon (Track 6)

Edward Whalen – Veronica Tomanek (Tracks 8-13)

Publisher: Navona Records

Length: 44:04 mins

Album info here:  https://www.navonarecords.com/catalog/nv6360/

Brian Field’s website:  http://www.brianfield.com

–Luciana Arroyo

Luciana Arroyo is an orchestral conductor and educator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On The Verge Artist

J Breeze: Is Ready To Regain His Buzz Within The Music Industry

Published

on

Justin Bryant, better known as  J Breeze is an on the rise recording artist. He has been creating music since he was only 15 years old. Years later this is still his passion. J Breeze wants everyone to hear his story through his music. Recently he has blessed his fans with an EP titled “Captivated” since then he has also released a few singles that are all now available on streaming platforms. It is a nonstop grind for him right now as he aims to grow his brand and really make his name known within this industry. He also has an official clothing line launched called “Freedom Forever”. His work ethic is like no other. Each project he releases is a work of art.

Currently J Breeze is working on regaining his buzz and is in the process of working on an album titled “Ascension”. The goal for 2022 is to get his name and music heard around the world. He states “My motto is that if I can do it, anyone can!”. With his sheer determination and true passion it will not be hard for him to gain traction behind his music. In the meantime check out his latest releases and get familiar ! Make sure to add his music to your playlists. You will not be disappointed. Each one of his releases caters to his personal backstory. His music reflects his own personal life events.

Make sure you stream his latest releases now available on all major streaming platforms.

Stream his music here

Continue Reading

On The Verge Artist

Arshbro – Sharing his story with fans

Published

on

Arshbro official image in hd 2022

Pull Up was published alongside a music video so that people may gain a better understanding of Arshbro. He began to present himself to us, and he was finally able to tap into his personality’s creative aspect and let it shine through. Setting the tone, he subsequently produced.

Get To Know Arshbro

Arshbro doesn’t consider himself to be a member of any single musical genre, although he dabbles in practically everything. It’s his swift entry into the scene and determination to put himself out there that I’m most pleased with, says his musical coach. He makes an effort to grow in all ramifications. 

Arshbro, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

Music has always been a part of me, but I never really got into it until last year. I moved into a house with some of his musical friends, and that’s when the opportunities started rising. My friend, who was currently my manager and partner, owned a studio inside the house and recorded and produced music almost every day. One day out of curiosity, I hopped on one of his beats and recorded his debut single, Pull Up. And the rest is history.

Has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Building a company and a burgeoning music career proved his most challenging obstacle to overcome. Making time for music was difficult for me because of his type-A tendencies and the need for routine.

In releasing the song, what did you find the most challenging? His biggest challenge was putting in the time and effort to create something new. To begin, I sought a sound that would communicate my message to the soul, mind and ears of the listeners but I also sought to infuse it with my unique style and flair.

What was the most difficult thing you had to overcome as a personal challenge in your own life? 

My biggest challenge was getting used to the idea of filming a music video and putting himself out there.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?

When I was in fourth grade, he was recognised for academic distinction at an awards ceremony. As a child, he felt like I was unstoppable and capable of accomplishing anything, and that experience shaped who he was today.

While growing up in a predominately black neighbourhood, he was the only white student in his class, making it difficult to fit in. As a result, Arshbro was also a target of abuse at school because of his uniqueness. The only way he could avoid getting beaten up was to run home at the conclusion of every recess.( this isn’t accurate )

When Arshbro was growing up, his  self-esteem was moulded by bullying.( neither is this )

What do you consider to be your greatest personal assets?

 My capacity to create and engage with others is one of my best assets. Being the centre of attention isn’t a problem for me. The fact that I have a good sense of humour also comes in handy when times are tough.

Follow him: Spotify, Apple Music

Instagram – @arshbroofficial 

Instagram – @211_records_

Twitter – @arshbroofficial 

Also Read: Siahh is going to release three back to back albums in the upcoming year

Continue Reading

On The Verge Artist

This is how Mu Diamonds, never-quitting, showed his utter skills and shut his haters up

Published

on

Mu Diamonds official image sitting in car

When one’s desire and drive are great, no setback can keep them from doing whatever they put their minds to. Mu Diamonds is a rapper, sound engineer, and business owner who exemplify this desire and devotion. Despite his life’s numerous twists and turns, he ended strong and increased his influence in the music business by launching Dynesty Entertainment.

This rapper was born and reared in Buffalo, New York, in a rough neighborhood. Unfortunately, gang violence became the norm for him. As a teenager, he found solace in music. Rap became a hobby he shared with his pals, and they experimented with verses and rhythms together. He used to hang out with his mates and listen to rap music. When they discovered instrumentals, they began to learn how to freestyle. They also went over several song lyrics together.

Tragically, Mu Diamonds was not spared the violence that engulfed his neighborhood. He was the victim of a drive-by gunshot, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. “Getting shot and being paralyzed was one of the worst trials of my life,” the artist remembered. People changed their attitudes about him, and some of his loved ones even severed relations with him. His circumstances, however, did not dissuade him. If anything, it fueled his determination to achieve his goal.

Mu Diamonds concentrated on his music career, and he quickly progressed through the ranks of New York-based rappers. His abilities and distinct style secured his position as one of the best rappers in the world. As an artist, he exuded boundless energy, tenacity, and brilliance. Furthermore, Mu Diamonds ability to build a clear picture of his life through his songs distinguishes him from his contemporaries. This artist had a clear vision for where he wanted his career to go. And, after more than 10 years of performance, he has surely accomplished his aim and more.

Mu Diamonds set his sights on a greater objective after earning fame as an artist and performer. “I decided to start a record label,” he explained. With this endeavor, I hope to improve the music business and create possibilities for other musicians to advance in their careers.” Mu named his company Dynesty Entertainment.

Dynesty Entertainment

Dynesty Entertainment is a family-oriented business that tries to help aspiring artists and musicians realize their full potential. Mu Diamonds’ recording firm offers comprehensive engineering and production services. The firm also creates and markets creative material for the label and the artists that collaborate with them. Dynesty Entertainment has evolved into more than just a venue for performers since its inception. It also serves as a modeling agency. Everyone who has worked closely with this record company has formed a tight bond and created a secure area for creative expression via music.

Despite adversity and adversity, Mu Diamonds has risen beyond his troubles and established up a prosperous career for himself. Through his enthusiasm and commitment to his music, this singer has earned the title “King of Buffalo.”

Mu Diamonds Upcoming Work

Mu Diamonds has stated that his new single will be released on January 12th. The song will be accompanied by a music video directed by Mu’s younger brother, LafranGraphics. This song can be found on his debut album “Memories & Moments.” The song is available on a variety of prominent music websites, including Soundcloud and Apple Music.

Also Read: Siahh is going to release three back to back albums in the upcoming year

Continue Reading

Trending