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Palaver Strings | Simple Gifts

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Classical: Chamber Music Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Simple Gifts

by Palaver Strings

On their debut album, Palaver performs repertoire that reflects their roots in New England and its folk music heritage, as well as the diversity of their musical programming, with selections from North and South America, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Divertimento for String Orchestra, Sz. 113 : I. Allegro non troppo
8:58 $0.99
2. Divertimento for String Orchestra, Sz. 113: II. Molto adagio
7:54 $0.99
3. Divertimento for String Orchestra, Sz. 113: III. Allegro assai
7:29 $0.99
4. Simple Gifts / Les barricades Mystérieuses (Arr. Goodin)
4:45 $0.99
5. Yorkshire Lass / One Hour in Hungary / Shuckin’ Stiddy
7:30 $0.99
6. Librivion
8:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Palaver Strings, a musician-led string orchestra and non-profit organization, is dedicated to the collaborative interpretation of classical masterworks. We were formally founded in 2014 by young musicians from the Boston area. Since then, the group has performed on Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bay Chamber Concerts series, the Hammond Performing Arts Series, and for Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project. Each member of Palaver Strings is passionate about taking classical music beyond the concert hall to engage with new and diverse audiences, and have performed in living rooms, lobbies, warehouses, art galleries, restaurants, and on rooftops. It is in these personal and unconventional settings that Palaver Strings is able to use music to aid the discussion of social issues, promote education and healing, and inspire our peers and community to support the arts.

Simple Gifts, our debut album, is a collection of pieces from our third concert season. The repertoire reflects our roots in New England and its folk music heritage, as well as the diversity of our musical programming, with selections from North and South America, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. As we continue to grow as an ensemble, reaching wider audiences with more ambitious projects, we hope this album will remind us that music is a simple gift meant to be shared.

“Simple Gifts” was written by Elder Joseph Brackett, a Shaker elder in Maine, in 1848. Originally meant for dancing, the melody has made numerous appearances in western culture, from Copland’s Appalachian Spring to the English hymn “Lord of the Dance.” Arranged by longtime Palaver member Alex Goodin, this unique interpretation interweaves Brackett’s familiar tune with a mysterious harpsichord piece by Francois Couperin; within this buoyant, kaleidoscopic texture, different solo voices rise and fall.
Our fiddle medley pays homage to the folk traditions that, for many of us, are essential to our musical identity. Fiddle tunes have been with us from our humble beginnings as an ensemble, and, even in the most stressful situations, serve as wonderful reminders that the deepest gifts we have to give cannot be written down or put into words. “Yorkshire Lass” was written by contemporary fiddler Gregory Boardman; “One Hour in Hungary” comes to us via the Swedish band “Vasen;” “Shuckin’ Stiddy” was written by Elsie Gawler, a longtime friend and collaborator based in Maine.

Bela Bartok completed his “Divertimento” in 1939, shortly before fleeing Hungary at the outbreak of World War II. In the classical era, a “Divertimento” was meant to be lighthearted, elegant, and entertaining. Bartok’s work pays due respect to classical styles and forms, but is anything but diverting: it brings us face-to-face with the artist’s conflicted role in a world rife with atrocities. Bartok had criticized fascism and even cancelled his publication contract in Nazi Germany, but nonetheless found himself safely ensconced in Switzerland, comfortably composing and watching the war from afar. Even at its darkest moments, however, the “Divertimento” is deeply imbued with folkdance energy, a quality it shares with the rest of this album. Bartok holds a mirror to us as young artists creating beauty in a troubled world, but he never stops inviting us to dance.

We end this album, like many of our concerts, with a mashup of tangos by the great Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla,
“Libertango” and “Oblivion,” hence the name “Librivion.” This “tango sandwich” takes us through the driving dance tune “Libertango” into the more introspective “Oblivion,” returning to “Libertango” at the end. Once more, Alex’s arrangement builds a richly-textured, grooving foundation, giving soloists the freedom to stretch out and soar. - Lysander Jaffe

Palaver Strings
Violin - Su Yin Chan, Maya French, Kiyoshi Hayashi, Ryan Shannon, Danielle Wilson
Viola - Brianna Fischler, Lysander Jaffe, Elizabeth Moore
Cello - Nikolai Renedo, Matthew Smith
Bass - Alexander Goodin, Nathaniel Martin

Recorded June 2017 at Fraser performance Studio, WGBH, Boston. Produced by Jennie Brent, Jesse MacDonald, and Matt Scinto. Produced and edited by Su Yin Chan, Elizabeth Moore, and Ryan Shannon. Engineered and mastered by Frank Cunningham. CD design by Edith Gawler and photos by Alex Goodin.



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