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Various Artists | Eric Tran: Water

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Eric Tran: Water

by Various Artists

Original solo and chamber compositions by Eric Tran, pianist-composer. Bethanne Walker, flute; Annamarie Arai, violin; Helen Newby, cello; Friction Quartet - Otis Harriel and Kevin Rogers, violins, Taija Warbelow, viola, Doug Machiz, cello.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Water
Eric Tran
3:47 $0.99
2. Piano Story
Eric Tran
11:47 $0.99
3. Fantasia for Solo Flute
Bethanne Walker
5:28 $0.99
4. Icarus
Bethanne Walker & Eric Tran
7:37 $0.99
5. Prelude
Annamarie Arai
3:40 $0.99
6. Fantasia for Violin and Piano
Annamarie Arai & Eric Tran
5:21 $0.99
7. Eyes
Helen Newby & Eric Tran
10:58 $0.99
8. String Quartet No. 1: I. Toccata
Friction Quartet
6:24 $0.99
9. String Quartet No. 1: II. Lento rubato
Friction Quartet
6:31 $0.99
10. String Quartet No. 1: III. Agitato
Friction Quartet
3:08 $0.99
11. String Quartet No. 1: IV. Meditative
Friction Quartet
7:50 $0.99
12. Lone Tower
Friction Quartet
3:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Water - This solo piano piece was composed August 2015. I had just returned from the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and I composed within a few weeks’ time, this piece, as well as two children’s pieces, and a mazurka. For me, travel seems to inspire a desire to compose. The first harmony of this piece comes, incidentally, from the Barcarolle of Chopin (m. 99, last beat - it’s an unbelievable harmony!), which is also a piece about water. Water is one of my most popular pieces, and I play it often.
Performed by Eric Tran, piano

Piano Story - This solo piano work was composed October 2015, and it took me the whole month of daily writing to finish it in time for its premiere on November 1, 2015. It is inspired in part by a short story and images by imaginative filmmaker Alyce Tzue. Piano Story is a ballade that traces the notes F# and E and their many transformations. To me, it evokes the feelings of peace, vastness, chaos, loss, and wonder.
Performed by Eric Tran, piano

Fantasia for Solo Flute - and the most recent piece composed on this album - completed February 2016. As is often the case, I had the preliminary idea for this piece many months earlier and had many false starts, but the writing process itself was completed in a short time - about four days of sustained writing. The piece has a certain whimsy and a dream-like quality, along with an underlying cradling sensation. Perhaps these are the inner reveries of a baby duckling.
Performed by Bethanne Walker, flute

Icarus - for flute and piano, dedicated to Bethanne Walker, completed March 2015. Icarus is the Greek myth of father and son: Daedalus and Icarus. Trapped in the Labyrinth of his own design, Daedalus gathers bird feathers from the island and slowly crafts two sets of wings to fly away on. He warns Icarus not to fly too close to the sun because the wax holding the feathers together will melt. Icarus, though, having never before felt the warmth of the open sky, flies too close to the sun, melting the wax, and he tumbles down into the sea below. Daedalus reaches the other side- alive, but alone.
This piece begins in dialogue and ends in monologue. The hallmark of the opening theme is the interval of a descending fourth, which is ubiquitous, working its way into every facet of the piece’s musical biology. This first section is based on the b dorian mode - B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, and A - which somehow brings to my mind grey clouds, but with bright linings.
In contrast, the escape to the sky is based on five shiny notes not yet experienced - E-flat, F, G, B-flat, and C. This middle section gusts, whirls about, and opens up over shifting winds and sea of deceptive ease.
The return of the main theme is marked by the very loud absence of the flute. And the absence of the descending fourth. In this way, the main theme returns without the actual main theme. After having escaped the maze, the island, and the sea, one might expect Daedalus to have ended up in a different place. However, his mind is lost in the past. You can take the man out of the Labyrinth, but...
As for the ending- it’s - I don’t know- a hallucination or...? A remembrance of his son’s voice or maybe just a bird.
Performed by: Bethanne Walker, flute Eric Tran, piano

Prelude - for solo violin, completed December 2014. This short, 81-bar prelude tracks the transformation of water over three states: ice, liquid water, and vapor. The three sections comprise 27 bars each, but just as every successive state of matter becomes more active, so too does each section have more and more motion; in a way, the entire piece is a gradual accelerando, with transitional points.
Though each of the three sections has its own defining tempo-meter-rhythm and structural characteristics, what underlies them all is the d minor/dorian mode (D, E, F, G, A Bb, B, and C), which accounts for every note in the piece.
This prelude was a winter holiday gift, dedicated to my dear friend, Annamarie Arai.
Performed by Annamarie Arai, violin

Fantasia for Violin and Piano - composed 2010-11. This is one of my favorite original compositions. It’s beautiful, developed, graceful, and the middle section sounds like an Edith Piaf song. What’s not to like?
Performed by: Annamarie Arai, violin Eric Tran, piano

Eyes - a ballade for cello and piano, completed December 2015. It is amazing the depth to which one can describe eyes based on the slightest subtleties - gentle, tired, mesmerizing, dancing, seductive... all of these words could describe the striking main theme proper, which is a melody I had dreamed up long ago. The middle section is a fantasy played mostly by solo cello. Perhaps a storyteller is recounting a tale in vivid tones. Here the cello has a recitative-like quality, accompanied at first only by itself - with pizzicato and harmonics. One special moment in the piece occurs just before the return of the main theme: the cello and piano
play in exact duet - like eyes on paintings that seem to follow you from any angle.
Performed by: Helen Newby, cello Eric Tran, piano

String Quartet - a cyclic work in four movements, composed gradually over the course of three years (2010-2013) - some of the most eye-opening, loneliest, happiest, and confusing years of my life so far. On looking back, I would not change anything.
The Toccata has a searching, striving feeling. Because of the open-ended contours, the intersecting and combining of themes, and the driving nature of the first theme proper, the music gains a forward-moving, breathless quality. This movement is also the most architectural, thematically unified, and sonata-like of the four.
The Lento rubato is an introvert and perhaps my favorite movement. I think of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot owing to a certain intensity, perpetuity - sometimes humor - in the idea of expecting. Listen to it as if it were someone a bit tentative and shy. Sometimes the most beautiful things are the loneliest and least understood.
Then, a dance - simultaneously quick, elegant, and spiky. The Agitato is a scherzo in complex/irregular meter, but to my crazy ear, the rhythm is completely instinctual on a gut level.
In a way, this piece is not four movements, but rather three - plus an epilogue: Meditative. Meditation is not the absence of thoughts; it is the acknowledgement and - hopefully - the acceptance of them. This epilogue shoulders elements of the inevitable: the steady, sustained pull forward, the slowly falling melodic contours, and the unavoidable return to the trance-like theme. Yet within this inevitable, even resigned framework, a stray thought can blossom into the most overflowing emotion.
Performed by Friction Quartet - Otis Harriel and Kevin Rogers, violins; Taija Warbelow, viola; Doug Machiz, cello

Lone Tower - a scene for string quartet, written in the course of three hours on October 26-27, 2014. It was 11pm, and I was about to go to bed as I had classes the next morning. But then I had an idea, and I began composing. And I didn’t stop composing until it was done. The piece is simple, chorale-like, and it is even in the key of C Major, but it gives me a deep, multi-faceted impression of resolution, regret, and hope.
Performed by Friction Quartet - Otis Harriel and Kevin Rogers, violins; Taija Warbelow, viola; Doug Machiz, cello

Eric Tran
San Francisco-based pianist-composer Eric Tran began composing at the age of 12 and later attended Stanford University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His principal composition studies were with Jaroslaw Kapuscinski and Erik Ulman; piano studies with Sharon Mann and Thomas Schultz - noted new music interpreter.
Eric was the winner of Stanford University’s Robert M. Golden Medal for Artistic Creation in Music, and previously he was the recipient of the Humanities and Sciences Undergraduate Award in composition for his Fantasia for Violin and Piano. His String Quartet won the Pacific Musical Society Composition Prize, and his sets of children’s pieces have been programmed on the
syllabus of the US Open Music Competition for six years. His works have been performed by the Saint Lawrence String Quartet, the Friction Quartet, his generous friends, and his charming piano students.
Eric also comprises one half of the notorious “Happy Dog” piano duo, with his piano partner, Nathan Cheung. For over a decade - since they were in middle school - they have performed 2-piano and 4-hands originals, transcriptions, and classics alike with a focus on bringing humor and joy to the classical music world. In 2013, they became the first piano duo to perform in then newly-constructed Bing Concert Hall. Some gems of their 4-hand composition oeuvre include: Mother Ducker, Ridiculous Minuet in G Major, and the eponymous Happy Dog. Happy Dog Duo enjoys premiering original works, performing memorized concerts, and amusing audiences with their improvisatory, infamously ridiculous concert interruptus talks.
Eric also takes time to integrate new music into his solo piano career: he performs Mozart concertos with his own cadenzas, he continues to premiere and perform new music of his own and his colleagues, and every one of his solo piano recital programs incorporates 20th or 21st century composers.
In his spare time, he enjoys a good game of Go.

Bethanne Walker
Known for her intensity and versatility in her performances and repertoire, flutist Bethanne Walker is dedicated to modern and historical performance practice. A strong advocate of new music, she has given performances of over fifty world premieres, including works by Mason Bates, Nico Muhly, and Lei Liang. An active recording artist, she can be heard on Gunmar, Aeneid, Albany, and Golden Fetus recording labels. A native of Eugene, Oregon, she has studied with Tim Day, Linda Toote, and Dr. Nancy Andrew, and Sandra Miller and Stephen Schultz on baroque flute.

Annamarie Arai
A native of Sacramento, violinist Annamarie Arai enjoys creating music with ensembles of diverse backgrounds and sizes. She currently enjoys performing with One Found Sound, a conductor-less chamber orchestra in San Francisco, often serving in principal roles. Previous experiences also include performances with Santa Rosa Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, Aspen Music Festival’s Opera Theater Orchestra, the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra.
As first violinist of the Gluck Quartet from 2011 to 2013 at University of California, Los Angeles, Annamarie performed a series of educational concerts throughout the Los Angeles community with sponsorship from the UCLA Gluck Music Outreach program. Annamarie has had the privilege of collaborating in chamber music performances alongside world-renowned
players such as David Kim, Guillaume Sutre, and Bonnie Hampton.
As a winner of the 2013 UCLA All-Star Concerto Competition, Annamarie had the honor of soloing with the UCLA Philharmonia Orchestra, performing the first movement of Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto in D Major.
Annamarie received her B.A. in violin performance from UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music and her Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory. Her primary instructors included Igor Veligan, Movses Pogossian, Guillaume Sutre, Ian Swensen and Wei He.

Helen Newby
Helen Newby continually seeks ways to expand the technical and expressive boundaries of her instrument through close collaboration with other innovative performers and composers. She received her Bachelor’s in Music from the Oberlin Conservatory and her Master’s in Cello Performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her principal cello teachers have included Darrett Adkins, Jennifer Culp and Rachael Lonergan. Helen was a two-time recipient of Oberlin’s Creativity and Leadership Fund, traveling to and touring Norway in January 2013 and touring the northeastern United States in June 2013. She has performed across North America and Europe in venues that range from Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall and The Fillmore to jazz clubs, dive bars
and art galleries. In addition to Amaranth Quartet, she is a founding member of string trio Chartreuse, jazz sextet deturtle, and
experimental noise quartet HK&tCS. Helen is a dedicated and passionate educator--she is currently on faculty at The Crowden School and maintains a private teaching studio.

Friction Quartet
Friction Quartet exists to expand the string quartet repertoire and audience for adventurous contemporary music through commissioning composers and performing in underserved schools and communities. Recently they gave their Carnegie Hall debut as part of the Kronos Quartet Workshop. They also participated in the Shouse Institute at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival where they gave their Detroit debut and appeared with Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet. The quartet received a Chamber Music America grant to commission a piano quintet from composer and steel pan percussionist Andy Akiho. John Adams shared Friction’s video of the second movement of his first string quartet on his homepage and called it “spectacular.” They were the first ensemble in residence at the Center for New Music in San Francisco and also hold residencies with the Napa Valley Performing Arts Association and SF Friends of Chamber Music.
While Friction has garnered international attention as commissioners and interpreters of new music, they are also devoted to performing masterworks of the string quartet repertoire. They are the second place winner of the 2016 Schoenfeld International String Competition and were quarter finalists in the 2015 Fischoff Competition. Friction placed second at the 2015 Frances Walton Competition and received the 2012 Berkeley Piano Club Award. Friction has participated in the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, The St. Lawrence String Quartet Emerging Quartet program, the Banff Chamber Music Residency, and the Deer Valley Music Festival.

Zach Miley, audio engineer Eric Xu, mastering engineer
Recorded in Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, San Francisco

Project supported by a Young Alumni Arts Grant from Stanford Arts



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