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Article by Diana Milburn | photo courtesy of Christopher Nichols
This week in Gore Recital
Hall at the Roselle Center for the Arts, UD’s quartet-in-residence, Calidore String Quartet, is
reveling in playing Beethoven together, heard only by the silent encouragement
of sound engineers in the empty hall.
In between takes, they paused to tell us why they chose
this space for such an important occasion. “Gore is perfectly suited for
chamber music recordings. It doesn't have any of the extraneous noises that
often disturb recording sessions. This hall adds a warm glow to the sound,
while maintaining clarity for each instrumentalist in the quartet.”
Their time here in Gore Recital
Hall was to be a culmination of 2020’s worldwide 250th Beethoven
birthday celebrations, beginning with a series of public concerts at UD of all 16
of Beethoven’s titanic string quartets. The concert cycle for live audiences
was interrupted by the pandemic shutdown, but the plan had always included this
recording of the complete Beethoven string quartets. Although the Calidores
have made recordings prior to this, recording these towering touchstones of the
string quartet repertoire is the culmination of years of work together and a
milestone in the artistic life of a string quartet, marking their arrival as
mature artists in the genre. The classical music world will be listening.
sound recording has been a gold standard of the music industry in general, and
classical music in particular, since the turn of the early 20th
century, marked by the arrival of commercially available recording technology.
How many attics in America still have stacks of Enrico Caruso or Arturo
Toscanini records piled in a dusty corner? Recordings made them household names
in an era when it was not possible for artists to hop on a plane for a whirlwind
world tour in front of live audiences.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Amid the COVID-19
pandemic, with public gatherings curtailed and concerts, tours and festivals mostly
ruled out, recorded music constitutes a shared experience even
across the physical divide. In academic settings, musicians have always acknowledged the
power and value of professional audio recordings and have now used this time
away from live audiences for lovingly prepared and expertly executed recordings
focused on the quality of the performance and the sound that can be achieved
without the complications of the visual component. They are now tapping into their
great resources: relationships with acoustic spaces, knowledge and colleagues
with whom to record.
winner and UD instructor of recording Andreas Meyer has
brought world-class musicians such as violinist Hilary Hahn to record in Gore Recital Hall’s world-class
acoustical setting. “The
beauty of recording in Gore Recital Hall is not just the superior acoustics and
isolation, but the fact that artists can feel the freedom that this hall and stage
offers, allowing them to escape the outside world and express their artistry to
the fullest extent,” Meyer said. He recently
engineered the just-released Visca L'Amor: Catalan Art Songs of the 20th and 21st
Century, (Bridge Records) by associate professor of voice and opera, tenor
Isai Jess Muñoz and faculty
collaborative pianist Oksana Glouchko that
is garnering critical attention for these UD School of Music personnel, and
academic kudos for bringing to light many of these neglected songs by
performing and collecting them and making them available to students at the
University of Delaware.
Another recent recording in Gore under the
expert ears of Meyer is associate professor of clarinet Christopher Nichols’ CD titled Almost
All-American: 21st-Century Works for Clarinet. (Albany Records) Nichols’s UD collaborators include composer/alum Kevin Cope, former
faculty pianist Julie Nishimura, alum countertenor Augustine Mercante,
composer/pianist Jennifer Margaret Barker, professor of music
theory/composition; and the faculty ensemble Christiana Winds.
More recordings of note released this year include that of Lawrence
Stomberg, professor of cello and
director of performance studies, performing on a disc called Double
Images with music of composer Ketty Nez, released this past May by Albany Records. The UD Symphony
Orchestra, under James
Allen Anderson, director of orchestral
activities, released a CD in December recorded in Puglisi Orchestra Hall titled
Moran: Points of Departure, (Neuma Records) featuring
the works of distinguished composer Robert Moran; Metropolitan Opera artist
Zachary James, bass; and UD alums Daniel Bubeck, countertenor, and Maria Rusu,
viola. Composer and
guitarist alum Kevin Cope’s CD Origin Unknown (Viduus Records) with faculty artist Christopher
Nichols, clarinet, and many alumni guest artists was also recently recorded in
Topping it all off, Elicia Silverstein, assistant
professor of violin, learned the big news in locked-down May of 2020 that her critically acclaimed disc The Dreams and Fables I Fashion (Rubicon Classics) had won the internationally prestigious BBC Music Magazine Newcomer Award. It was quite the
reward for a season spent without live audiences, and a feather in the cap of
the newly-designated UD School of Music’s faculty.
And CUT - till we all meet together again in
Gore Recital Hall.