Michael Nicolella | Shard

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Classical: Contemporary Classical: Symphony Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Michael Nicolella

An eclectic mix of contemporary music for classical and electric guitar, (including works by Steve Reich and Elliott Carter), from critically acclaimed classical guitar virtuoso Michael Nicolella along with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Toccata and Fugue - Michael Nicolella
Michael Nicolella
6:45 $0.99
2. I. Forceful and Driving (Guitar Concerto) - Michael Nicolella
Michael Nicolella and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra
3:14 $0.99
3. II. Pensive (Guitar Concerto) - Michael Nicolella
Michael Nicolella and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra
3:53 $0.99
4. III. Lilting (Guitar Concerto) - Michael Nicolella
Michael Nicolella and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra
5:34 $0.99
5. IV. Joyous and Driving (Guitar Concerto) - Michael Nicolella
Michael Nicolella and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra
1:30 $0.99
6. Surfacing Through the Mire - Michael Nicolella
Michael Nicolella
4:19 $0.99
7. I. Fast (Electric Counterpoint) - Steve Reich
Michael Nicolella
6:54 $0.99
8. II. Slow (Electric Counterpoint) - Steve Reich
Michael Nicolella
3:21 $0.99
9. III. Fast (Electric Counterpoint) - Steve Reich
Michael Nicolella
4:28 $0.99
10. Shard - Elliott Carter
Michael Nicolella
2:29 $0.99
11. GRAB IT! - Jacob ter Veldhuis
Michael Nicolella
9:48 $0.99
12. Ode Tounami - Joshua Kohl
Michael Nicolella
4:05 $0.99
13. grey angel - Christopher DeLaurenti
Michael Nicolella
4:06 $0.99
14. Lullaby - David Paul Mesler
Michael Nicolella
4:40 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"endlessly rewarding release from one of the contemporary guitar's most gifted stars"

"Once in a great while, a guitar CD stands apart with sheer creativity and musicality"
-Jim McCutcheon, SOUNDBOARD

"If you want to push the envelope, challenge convention, and strike down stereotypes, the world of classical guitar isn't the most likely place to start. The tradition is rather strictly adhered to and the rules that have been laid out aren't meant to be bent or broken. Michael Nicolella seems intent on doing exactly that, however, and his latest release, Shard [Gale], is an exciting textbook on how to honor classical tradition and kick it in the ass at the same time."
-Matt Blackett, FRETS

" an innovative and superb CD"
-Francois Nicolas, GUITARE CLASSIQUE (France)

Classical guitarist Michael Nicolella's new CD of contemporary cutting-edge works for classical and electric guitar entitled Shard. The CD features music by Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Jacob ter Veldhuis, Joshua Kohl, Christopher DeLaurenti, David Mesler and Michael Nicolella. The recording alternates works for solo classical guitar with pieces for guitar and orchestra, multi-tracked guitars and electric guitar. Highlights include Nicolella's own Guitar Concerto performed with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Anthony Spain; Jacob ter Veldhuis ground breaking, genre bending piece GRAB IT! for electric guitar and boombox; and Nicolella's 'orchestration' of Steve Reich's modern masterwork Electric Counterpoint for a plethora of varied electric and acoustic guitars.


Michael Nicolella is recognized as one of America's most innovative classical guitarists. He has received wide critical acclaim for his performances, recordings and compositions. Classical Guitar magazine recently referred to him as “one of the contemporary guitar’s most gifted stars”; while the Washington Post stated “Since the passing of Andres Segovia the guitar world has needed an advocate... perhaps Michael Nicolella is that person.”

A uniquely eclectic and versatile artist, Michael blurs the lines between musical styles and disciplines. He is part of a growing trend in classical music to revitalize the role of the composer/performer. As a concert artist he frequently programs his own works for guitar in solo, chamber and orchestral settings. Known for his creative programming, he has introduced electric guitar into his "classical" programs and extended the repertoire and audience of his instrument not only with his own compositions and transcriptions, but also by premiering and commissioning works by some of today's most exciting emerging composers.

Michael has performed with the Seattle Symphony, Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Ensemble Sospeso, odeonquartet, Seattle Choral Company and Charanga Danzon. As a performer and composer, he has received awards from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, 4Culture, Wisconsin Arts Board, Washington State Arts Commission, Seattle Arts Commission and was first prize winner of both the Portland and Northwest solo classical guitar competitions.

Michael is a graduate of Yale University, Berklee College of Music and the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. He is on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.



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Mikolaj Furmankiewicz

Michael Nicolella - Shard
"Shard" is the newest Nicolella's release that was recorded in the same Sacred Heard Chapel plus at another Studio X (Seattle). American was supported by Anthony Spain - a music director and conductor of The Northwest Symphony Orchestra.

"Shard" is started by (almost identically like "Push") "Toccata" that is the introduction to "Fugue". Nicolella uses here so-called Klangfarbenmelodie ("a melody of sonic timbres" - the term invented by an Austrian composer, Arnold Schönberg) that consists in different depiction of one chord. Such an endeavour made it a composition of many sonic "colours". One of my favourite fragment on CD is a monumental "Guitar Concerto" with an accompaniment of 44-member orchestra. My very favourite movement is the the third one - "Lilting (Passacaglia)" that refers to the seventeenth century Spanish songs. Its character is melodious and based on variations. An unexpected accelerations and fabulous atmosphere make it a very intriguing composition. Mr. Nicolella is now working on next album with orchestra, so we can expect as excellent number as "Guitar Concerto" for sure. "Surfacing Through the Mire" is the only one track inspired by electronic music. Then, there is the following "temporal giant" in the form of "Electric Counterpoint". Its original author is American - Stephen Michael Reich - a representative of so-called minimal music (repetitive music, music minimalism) - that is a trend of the second half of the twentieth century, consisting in permanent repetition of short and slightly changed musical structures. The title itself indicates that Nicolella uses a counterpoint technique, that is he plays two or more melodic lines at the same time. I must admit that a few guitar tracks' superimposing (making the impression of echo) works very well. In any case, the counterpoint has always made me think of "tunes multiplication technique". Next to it is an improvisational "Shard" by another American - Elliott Carter, but a true hit turned out to be "GRAB IT!" by Jacob Ter Veldhuis. When I looked at the cover first, I noticed the warning "Parental Advisory - Explicit Content" and wondered what vulgar could appear on classical guitarist's album? It turned out that Mr. Nicolella used a boombox to tape some statements of the people sent to prison for life. It is easy to guess that none of them were delighted with that fact, so they expressed their discontent in bad-mannered way. Thus, you'd better expect a few "mother fuckers" stealing by here and there, haha. But I think that it isn't necessary to hide your children in your wardrobe anyway, haha. Nicolella made use of recorded statemants and created an excellent dose of scat (alike Mike Campese in "Swing Thing" from his album "The New"). Here are also less distinctive tracks like "Ode Tounami" by Joshua Kohl (originally composed for a harp and a lute) and "Grey Angel" by Christopher DeLaurenti. The album is crowned by David Paul Mesler's "Lullaby" who, under a great impression of Michael's playing, decided to dedicate it to him.

"Shard" has gained many positive reviews: "Since the passing of Andres Segovia the guitar world had needed an advocate... perhaps Michael Nicolella is that person. An artist with eclectic tastes and a contemplative bent... extraordinary... powerful" ("The Washington Post"), "exceptionally immaculate and articulate... soulful" ("Guitar Player") etc. The album achieved "album of the month" title in a French magazine "Guitare Classique" (June/July 2006). Well, Nicolella's works won't be too easy to absorb for non-experts, but they are surely very original. In today's world I must be literally a very serious man to call somebody "an original musician" and say "an originality" with reference to music. Yeah, I am serious enough, so you can believe me, haha. In spite of my opinion, I must honestly admit that for metalheads such a music will be rather an alternative item than mandatory one!