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Basler: Harambee / Basler, Bradley, Johns, Et Al


Release Date: 08/22/2006 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1166   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Paul Basler
Performer:  Kristen JohnsGerald Jr. WalkerMichelle StebletonLisa Bontrager,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BASLER Harambee. Serenade. Folk Songs. 3 Pieces. Lacrymosa. Folk Songs from the British Isles. Dos danzas. Canciones. The Ascension Paul Basler (pn), cond; Lisa Bontrager (hn); David Bradley (hn); Kristen Johns (hn); Charles Snead (hn); Michelle Stebleton (hn); Gerald Welker, Jr. (hn); MSR 1166 (61:17)


As one who often has one foot in medieval music and the other in the Darmstadt Read more School and beyond, I would have to characterize this music as “comparatively easy listening.” That is by no means a pejorative categorization. Having come of age in a time when there was a wrong-headed debate as to the evolutionarily correct course of musical development, I became a fervent musical warrior. The progressives, largely ensconced in university music departments, opted for a logical continuation of the Second Viennese School; the conservatives (Leonard Bernstein among them), remained steadfastly tonal. And so it went, with partisan bickering rivaling that of our current political scene. In point of fact, there is room for everything in music’s current polymorphic splendor. Being able to enjoy this release does not mean that I am about to consign my Wourinen, Carter, and Babbitt recordings to a land fill, or to elevate Astor Piazzolla or Paul McCartney to musical sainthood. Over the years I’ve come to realize that the time of a musical lingua franca died at the end of the 18th century. From that point on, music developed in a bracingly helter-skelter fashion, and that is, in the end, cause for celebration.


Paul Basler was born in 1963, has been resident hornist for the annual Composers Conference in Boston, and is an active performer worldwide. He was the 1993–94 Fulbright senior lecturer in music at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, which inspired the first track on this release, Harambee , meaning in Kiswahili, “all put together,” or “collective effort.” I found that track the most magisterially compelling thing on this release. Its rhythmic subtlety reflects the world of African drumming. (Once one gets hooked, there is no escape.) As to everything else, Basler’s harmonies are simple, direct, and as affective as those of a finely wrought rock ballad. The two folk-song suites never stray far from their original tunes, but are rendered both fresh and immediate. Reaching the last track, The Assencion for horn choir, one once again finds Basler in his Harambee mode, that is to say, at his best.


Both the performances and recording are fine.


FANFARE: William Zagorski
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Works on This Recording

1.
Harambee by Paul Basler
Performer:  Kristen Johns (French Horn), Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn), Michelle Stebleton (French Horn),
Lisa Bontrager (French Horn), David Bradley (French Horn), Charles Snead (French Horn),
Paul Basler (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
2.
Serenade for Horn and Piano by Paul Basler
Performer:  Michelle Stebleton (French Horn), Lisa Bontrager (French Horn), David Bradley (French Horn),
Kristen Johns (French Horn), Paul Basler (Piano), Charles Snead (French Horn),
Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn)
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Folksongs for Horn and Piano by Paul Basler
Performer:  Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn), Lisa Bontrager (French Horn), Kristen Johns (French Horn),
Charles Snead (French Horn), David Bradley (French Horn), Michelle Stebleton (French Horn),
Paul Basler (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Pieces (3) for 4 Horns by Paul Basler
Performer:  Lisa Bontrager (French Horn), Kristen Johns (French Horn), Paul Basler (Piano),
Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn), Michelle Stebleton (French Horn), Charles Snead (French Horn),
David Bradley (French Horn)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
5.
Lacrymosa by Paul Basler
Performer:  Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn), Michelle Stebleton (French Horn), Charles Snead (French Horn),
Kristen Johns (French Horn), David Bradley (French Horn), Lisa Bontrager (French Horn),
Paul Basler (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
6.
Folksongs from the British Isles for Horn and Piano by Paul Basler
Performer:  Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn), Michelle Stebleton (French Horn), Charles Snead (French Horn),
Kristen Johns (French Horn), David Bradley (French Horn), Lisa Bontrager (French Horn),
Paul Basler (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
7.
Dos Danzas for Horn and Piano by Paul Basler
Performer:  Kristen Johns (French Horn), David Bradley (French Horn), Lisa Bontrager (French Horn),
Charles Snead (French Horn), Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn), Michelle Stebleton (French Horn),
Paul Basler (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
8.
Canciones by Paul Basler
Performer:  Paul Basler (Piano), Kristen Johns (French Horn), Charles Snead (French Horn),
Michelle Stebleton (French Horn), David Bradley (French Horn), Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn),
Lisa Bontrager (French Horn)
Period: 20th Century 
9.
The Ascension by Paul Basler
Performer:  David Bradley (French Horn), Kristen Johns (French Horn), Charles Snead (French Horn),
Lisa Bontrager (French Horn), Michelle Stebleton (French Horn), Gerald Jr. Walker (French Horn),
Paul Basler (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

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