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American Landscapes For Guitar / Richter, Finckel

Richter,Brad / Finckel,David
Release Date: 08/09/2011 
Label:  Blue Griffin   Catalog #: 227   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad RichterDavid Finckel
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



B. RICHTER Straelener Wald. Celebration Day. River Songs. Fragments Transcending. 1 Navigating Lake Bonneville. 8 Impressions Brad Richter (gtr); 1 David Finckel (vc) BLUE GRIFFIN 227 (54:41)


There are 21 tracks on American Landscapes and the first two refer to a northwest German forest, but the others are as thoroughly American as Read more composer and guitarist Brad Richter. Those first pieces describe the deep, dark woods near Straelen with melismas that enable you to hear the light trickling through heavily leafed trees that inhabitants of the Southwestern United States rarely encounter. The shadows in the deep woods can be overwhelming. Richter has a German wife and they spend some of their summers in Straelen, which is her hometown. There, the natural world is totally different from Oklahoma, where he was born. Celebration Day is Richter’s tribute to Leonard Bernstein and it refers to various songs from West Side Story by making use of some of the musical’s harmonic language as well as an occasional quote.


River Songs: Homage to the Colorado is Richter’s spare and linear contribution to the literature of water music that has described the world’s major rivers throughout the ages. Using various types of strums, he combines lyric strands as he follows its flow from the snowmelt on the Continental Divide to the addition of tributaries. He grows pensive as he composes the music of its course through the hallowed tribal areas that are now underwater in Lake Powell. He finds melody in the calm waters of Marble Canyon and drama as the huge drop of Lava Falls accosts the river voyager. The last movement that refers to the Colorado is “Ebb and Flow,” where waves of melody wash over the listener as Richter tells of the river that originated in the snow-capped mountains of Colorado, coursing through hot desert lands near Yuma, Arizona, in its largely unsuccessful attempt to reach the Sea of Cortez. “Storm Chaser,” here combined with the river music, is really a short tone poem about a tornado that hit Richter’s hometown of Enid, Oklahoma. Considering its source, it’s fairly calm!


Fragments Transcending is a work for guitar and cello inspired by Navajo and Tibetan cultures; Richter has found similarities between them. Using a catchy Native American song and a Tibetan chant, he pays respect to both cultures and makes excellent use of stereophonic sound. Navigating Lake Bonneville is something of a joke because it dried up thousands of years ago. It’s still fun to listen and contemplate its watery past. The final pieces are short descriptive works written to show off the skills of intermediate-level guitarists. Only the last one, “Smiling Cowboy,” is longer than two minutes, but within that time Richter catches the character of the hard-riding ranch hands that symbolize the American West, providing a fine conclusion to the CD.


The sound on the disc is excellent, thanks to the engineering of Phil Stevens in Christchurch, New Zealand, for Fragments Transcending and Mike Levy in Tucson for the other selections. The only complaint about this recording is that there is a sameness to many of the movements. They are almost all solo guitar works, and all are by the same composer. More duets with cellist David Finckel would have been welcome. However, for anyone who likes solo guitar and especially for those who drive the highways or raft the rivers of the Southwest, the recording is a most welcome addition to the compact disc collection.


FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

1.
Licht by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
2.
Schatten by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
3.
Celebration Day by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
4.
Snowmelt by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
5.
Confluence by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
6.
Leaving Marble Canyon by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
7.
Lava Falls by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
8.
Ebb and Flow by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
9.
Storm Chaser by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
10.
Facing East by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar), David Finckel (Cello)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
11.
Circles by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar), David Finckel (Cello)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
12.
City Song by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
13.
Pah by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
14.
Locomotive by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
15.
Forest at Dusk by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
16.
Mustang by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
17.
Distant Storm by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
18.
Lost Miner by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
19.
Mockingbird by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
20.
Water Wheel by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
21.
Smiling Cowboy by Brad Richter
Performer:  Brad Richter (Guitar)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 

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