Composer Michael Colina’s background reads unlike any other composer I’ve ever heard of. Neither a performing musician nor a student of music, he entered his new career as a composer some eight years ago after 25 years of producing recordings and writing music for some of the greatest talents of contemporary jazz. He states that he is now writing the music he loves and wants to hear.
Influences of interests, life and learning include a tropical paradise in Cuba and the beaches of South Carolina, Santería drumming, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, gospel music, hill-billy flat pick’n, the strings of Montovani, Gershwin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Penderecki. When you listen to his music, it’s curious how all of this makes sense, and none of it does at all.
The three works on this CD are quite diverse in character, so it is difficult to speak in generalities about the music. The first on the disc, and the title of the album is Three Cabinets of Wonder, a concerto for violin. It is the most challenging of the three to a conservative ear, but still very lyrical, fascinating and powerful, if strange. The second, a guitar concerto titled Goyescanna is then the most tonally conservative, and very much so – dreamy and romantic with Spanish hues. It’s a beautiful concerto.
The most powerful work on the disc is the final one, Los Caprichos, born of the composer’s appall with the photos and sound bites of waterboarding sessions conducted at Abu Ghraib. Each of the twelve movements is based upon an image from the prison, “to provide structure for the composition” says the composer. The orchestration is fascinating. I’ve never heard trombone glissandi so musically scored or executed, nor a siren, nor a slide-whistle.
Performances are excellent. Mr. Colina has the London Symphony Orchestra under Ira Levin at his service, and two excellent soloists: Guitarist Michael Andraccio and violinist Anastasia Khitruk. We must encourage this composer to continue writing.
This is most relevant music for our time by three-time Grammy and ACE award winning composer, Michael Colina, performed by a world-class team of internationally acclaimed soloists, orchestra and conductor.
Three Cabinets of Wonder, concerto for violin
Goyescana, concerto for guitar and orchestra (commissioned 2006 by Rober t Phillips)
Los Caprichos (commissioned 2007 by Ira Levin)
Goyescana, concerto for guitar and orchestra
“Glorious, exquisite playing. I have a kindred spirit in Michael, someone who brings an authentic Latin/Mediterranean understanding of these melodies and harmonies. I couldn’t be happier.” – Michael Colina
“How fine a line between the torturer and the tortured…To the degree that images convey a story or feeling I immediately hear a corresponding musical world, one that seemingly co-exists in another dimension with the image.” – Michael Colina
Composer: Michael Colina
Michael Colina is a multiple GRAMMY® winning composer and producer who is based in New York with deep musical roots in his father’s homeland, Cuba. In his commissions and recordings, Colina embraces classical, jazz and Latin music – often in an engaging and distinctive mashup that displays his love for the sheer diversity of his musical influences.
For more information, please visit www.michaelcolina.com.
Guitar: Michael Andriaccio
Michael Andriaccio and Joanne Castellani have enjoyed a celebrated career as one of the foremost guitars duos in the world. Having received numerous awards and distinctions from the very beginning of their duo days including two National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowships and a scholarship to the master classes of Andres Segovia in Spain, they have toured internationally as recitalists performing at the White House and the Kennedy Center and as concerto soloists with orchestras around the world.
For more information, please visit www.castellaniandriaccio.com/main.html.
Violin: Anastasia Khitruk
Internationally renowned, Grammy nominated violinist Anastasia Khitruk is a champion of rarely performed works. The Strad has called her, “…unquestionably a talent of the first rank.” ClassicsToday.com has said she is a “remarkable artist,” with “flashy, fiery style and impeccable technique.”
For more information, please visit www.anastasiakhitruk.com.
Conductor: Ira Levin
Ira Levin is known internationally for the great versatility of his musical activities. He is the principal guest conductor of the legendary Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, is equally at home conducting opera and concert and is an award winning concert pianist and recording artist. His over 30 published orchestrations, piano transcriptions and cadenzas to Mozart piano concertos are increasingly in demand from orchestras, performers and libraries.
For more information, please visit http://www.iralevin.net/.
Performers: The London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading orchestras. Its many activities include an energetic and ground-breaking education and community programme LSO Discovery, a record company LSO Live, a music education centre LSO St Luke’s and pioneering work in the field of digital music.
For more information, please visit http://lso.co.uk/.