Timo Andres's "Home Stretch" Out Now
Timo Andres's new album, Home Stretch, is out now. On the new album, Andres pairs the newly composed title work with two reinventions of works by musical heroes Mozart and Brian Eno: Mozart "Coronation" Concerto Re-Composition and Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno. The Metropolis Ensemble, led by conductor Andrew Cyr, performs on the album, with the composer on piano. Home Stretch, says NPR, offers "thought-provoking glimpses into how the past and the present merge in classical music today." The Independent gives it four stars, calling it "a compelling blend of ancient and modern." Andres celebrates the album's release with a special event at NYC's Housing Works Bookstore Cafe tonight.
Today marks the release of Timo Andres's new album, Home Stretch, on Nonesuch Records. On the new album, Andres pairs the newly composed title work with two reinventions of works by musical heroes Mozart and Brian Eno: Mozart "Coronation" Concerto Re-Composition and Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno. The New York City-based chamber orchestra Metropolis Ensemble, led by conductor Andrew Cyr, performs on the album, with the composer on piano. The album, says NPR, offers "thought-provoking glimpses into how the past and the present merge in classical music today." In the UK, the Independent gives it four stars, calling it "a compelling blend of ancient and modern."
Timo Andres will celebrate the release of Home Stretch with a special event at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City this evening at 7 PM. The free event features a discussion with Andres, artist/book designer Peter Mendslund, and The New Yorker's Leo Carey, about the "anxiety of influences" and the ways in which the artists' hope to remain faithful to a tradition while making it their own. Andres will also perform some at the piano. For details, visit housingworks.org.
The album's title piece, Home Stretch, was written for pianist David Kaplan and was conceived as a companion piece to Mozart's Piano Concerto, No. 12, K. 414. Andres wanted the piece to reflect the musical resonance of the Mozart and his friend Kaplan's personality. Andres notes, "I knew I wanted Home Stretch to have something to do with fast cars, which David is obsessively interested in. The piece is in three large sections that gradually accelerate: beginning in almost total stasis, working up to an off-kilter dance with stabbing accents and ushering in a sturm-und-drang cadenza that riles itself up into a perpetual-motion race to the finish. However, there are always little 'smudges' of music from each section in the others, sometimes fitting into their new context, sometimes balefully interrupting."
Also on the album is Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 26 in D, "Coronation," completed by Andres. A virtuosic improviser, Mozart left much of the solo part unwritten as he expected to play the piece himself. In particular, the left hand is mostly absent from the original manuscript. Pianists generally play from a completed score that adds simple accompaniment patterns and harmonies for the left hand, but Andres's treatment of the concerto takes a wholly different approach. He inserts his own voice into the left hand and ends the work with newly written cadenzas. He explains, "I approached the piece not from a scholarly or editorial perspective, but more as a sprawling playground for pianistic invention and virtuosity, taking cues from the composer-pianist tradition Mozart helped to crystallize." The New Yorker's Alex Ross wrote on his blog that the result is "mesmerizing."
The recording ends with Andres's Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno. Already an influential force in popular music history, Brian Eno is increasingly gaining recognition from classical composers. As Andres writes, Eno is a composer with "two quite distinct sides: as an innovator who works in ambient and collage music, and as a quirky and crafty pop songwriter. It’s all interesting, but the really amazing things happen when these musical personalities overlap and wear away each other's surfaces." In Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno, Andres focuses on Eno's albums Before and After Science and Another Green World. He builds what he terms, "a 19th-century style 'orchestral paraphrase' on the subject of Eno’s music."
Home Stretch was recorded at Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. It is Andres's second album with Nonesuch; his first, Shy and Mighty, was praised by the New York Times for its "inventiveness and originality," and by the Guardian for the way it "glides across stylistic boundaries in a totally unselfconscious way."
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