Various Artists | David Arbury: Alchemy

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David Arbury: Alchemy

by Various Artists

This modern classical album uses string quartets, a song cycle of Tang Dynasty poetry, and a mammoth, single-movement percussion duet to explore ideas of transformation from the universal to the very personal.
Genre: Classical: String Quartet
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  Song Share Time Download
1. String Quartet No. 2: 1st Movement
The Formalist Quartet
5:35 $0.99
2. String Quartet No. 2: 2nd Movement
The Formalist Quartet
8:18 $0.99
3. String Quartet No. 2: 3rd Movement
The Formalist Quartet
5:21 $0.99
4. String Quartet No. 2: 4th Movement
The Formalist Quartet
4:27 $0.99
5. If I Shall Ever Return Home: Seven Chinese Poems: I. Morning, Sailing into Xinyang
Kerry Jennings & Andria Fennig
3:12 $0.99
6. If I Shall Ever Return Home: Seven Chinese Poems: II. Another Spring
Kerry Jennings & Andria Fennig
1:44 $0.99
7. If I Shall Ever Return Home: Seven Chinese Poems: III. Man Is Born in Tao
Kerry Jennings & Andria Fennig
1:40 $0.99
8. If I Shall Ever Return Home: Seven Chinese Poems: IV. Traveling Northward
Kerry Jennings & Andria Fennig
3:10 $0.99
9. If I Shall Ever Return Home: Seven Chinese Poems: V. Recalling the Past at T'ung Pass
Kerry Jennings & Andria Fennig
3:42 $0.99
10. If I Shall Ever Return Home: Seven Chinese Poems: VI. Ancient Air
Kerry Jennings & Andria Fennig
2:46 $0.99
11. If I Shall Ever Return Home: Seven Chinese Poems: VII. The Birds Have Vanished
Kerry Jennings & Andria Fennig
3:08 $0.99
12. Alchemy
Doug Nottingham & Brett Reed
20:21 $2.99
13. String Quartet No. 3: 1st Movement
The Formalist Quartet
5:09 $0.99
14. String Quartet No. 3: 2nd Movement
The Formalist Quartet
4:19 $0.99
15. String Quartet No. 3: 3rd Movement
The Formalist Quartet
4:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"He is amazingly alert to the needs of everyone involved - the poet, the performers, and the listener. The result is inspired and inspiring."
- Tim Reno, conductor

Composer David Arbury joined the professional choir at Washington National Cathedral at the age of 9 and stayed with the group for the next 18 years. During that time, he played in indie punk rock circles, playing drums for DC bands Grendel and Stitch and bass guitar for The Better Automatic and Roto, thereby earning himself a reputation as a choirboy with the indie rock crowd and an oddball punk with the choral singers. In 2000, he began exploring composition full-time and has spent his career searching the cracks in between style and genre to find his modern classical music.

"David's music always surprises me."
-Nahla Mattar, composer and professor at Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt

David Arbury's "Alchemy" is a beautifully eclectic collection of musical creations that serve to chronicle a decade of the composer's many works and collaborations. This collection includes some of Arbury's most compelling pieces written for a variety of performers and contrasting styles. Los Angeles based Arbury says of "Alchemy", "All the pieces were written at different times in my life, but all are an attempt to express a similar idea: that transformation and change are an inherent part of our being no matter our course through life. That idea of alchemy is the fundamental thread that connects these very different pieces of music."

"One part classicist, add one part modernist, then mix together with some punk rock and there you have it..."
-Gene D'Andrea, jazz pianist

The song cycle If I Shall Ever Return Home: Seven Chinese Songs draws its text from the golden age of classical Chinese literature. Drawing mostly from the Tang Dynasty, these seven beautiful poems on life, travel, and permanency are gorgeously translated into English by luminaries of poetry, language, and religion including Thomas Merton and J.P. Seaton. Arbury calls on the classic 19th-century song cycles of Schubert and Schumann for inspiration in setting these poems together, bridging cultures to embark on a physical as well as spiritual journey.

"a composer who inspires lifelong collaboration."
-William Culverhouse, conductor and composer

A born-and-raised church choral singer and accomplished percussionist, Arbury has long explored the links between vocal music and percussion. His doctoral studies focused on the links to be found in both forms with the world of the string quartet. His second quartet is the culmination of this study and was the bulk of his dissertation at the University of Maryland. His third quartet, written for Los Angeles group The Formalist Quartet, is the most recent work on this album and represents a new phase of his continued thoughts on and exploration of these ideas.

"Opulent, moving, inclusive music"
-Alan DuPuy, organist

The title track Alchemy is a single-movement work for two percussionists that explores the relationships of musical elements that are dissimilar on the surface. Each player uses an array of nonpitched percussion instruments made from wood, metal, and membrane as well as a single, pitched instrument. Like its medieval namesake, Alchemy traces the transformation of the physical materials involved as well as the relationships between pitched and non-pitched music, differing rhythmic ideas, and the performers themselves.

" ability to avoid cliches of all types."
-Travis Morrison, singer for The Dismemberment Plan

Dr. David Arbury grew up in Washington, D. C. where he sang as a boy treble at Washington National Cathedral in the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. He remained with the choir for eighteen years and in that time sang with every voice part. He has worked at the Music Division of the Library of Congress, co-founded an independent record label, conducted small ensembles, performed extensively as a bass and percussion player, and is a founding member of the early music vocal ensemble Icarus. He has taught music technology at the University of Maryland and music theory at the Catholic University of America and currently teaches both subjects at Los Angeles City College.

His choral music has been performed by top choirs all over the U.S. including the principal choir of Washington National Cathedral. His choral works are featured on three CDs: two from the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D. C. – Christmas at St. Matthew’s and New Music from the Cathedral – and one – Cathedral Favorites – from the Trinity Cathedral choir in Phoenix, Arizona. His instrumental and electronic compositions have been featured in conferences and festivals hosted by The Society of Composers, the Percussive Arts Society, the University of Maryland, and LAVAL Virtual.

As a composer, he is dedicated to community engagement and collaboration with other artists. The premiere of his work for concert band and solo rock trio, American Landscapes, was featured on Maryland Public Television. The city of Rockville, Maryland commissioned his community band and chorus work Song of These States. Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona commissioned God is Our Refuge, a piece for choir and organ, for the rededication of their organ after it was destroyed in a fire. He designed the soundscapes for the multimedia stage adaptation of the book Voodoo Dreams by award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes, and his electronic music created a new, live virtual instrument for the cyberpunk play IM/UR.

He frequently visits young performing ensembles as a guest composer and has served as a lecturer on music technology and contemporary choral composition. He served for two years as the Composer-in-Residence for the Cathedral Center for the Arts in Phoenix, Arizona and has received grants from numerous organizations including the American Composers Forum, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Institute for Studies in the Arts, the Phoenix Arts Commission, and the Wolf Trap Foundation. His compositions for concert hall, church, dance, and theater have been performed throughout the United States and Europe.



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