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Alex Shapiro, composer email
Beck and Call: Of Breath and Touch; Deep

Beck and Call

(
Crystal Records, CD 846)
Carolyn Beck, bassoon, with Delores Stevens, piano and Kira Blumberg, viola

featuring
Alex Shapiro's

Of Breath and Touch
and
Deep

Purchase the score
and parts

 

This CD also includes works by:
Andre Previn, Marcel Bitsch, Don Chamberlain, Michal Spisak and Moshe Zorman.

Coast to Coast

Purchase this CD

or download:

iTunes link

Read about
Of Breath and Touch


Listen Hear Of Breath and Touch

hear
Read about Deep

Listen Hear Deep

hear
Alex's driving sonata for bassoon and piano and her sensual, brooding electroacoustic work for contrabassoon are both featured on Carolyn Beck's new Crystal Records CD, Beck and Call. Of Breath and Touch opens the disc and was commissioned by Carolyn Beck, who recorded the work with pianist Delores Stevens in the beautiful and historic Bridges Hall of Music at Pomona College. Deep was written especially for Carolyn and her new contrabassoon, affectionately named Moby.
         
Beck and Call CD Tray
       
  Reviews  

Gramophone

 

""Of Breath and Touch" has Middle-Eastern influences, with bassoon chants, plaintive phrases and anxious activity above consoling piano ostinatos...Carolyn Beck explores the full extent of the instrument's character... on this extremely inviting disc."

"In Shapiro's aptly titled "Deep, the contrabassoon emerges from a pre-recorded track of electronics evoking the bottom of the sea. The blend of sonorities is ominous and magical."

-----The Gramophone, May 2006

 

 

"The disc opener [of Alex Shapiro's] "Of Breath and Touch" is delicate and nervous, like a fine race horse...".

"In ["Deep"], Beck's contrabassoon melts into Alex Shapiro's watery sampled or electronically generated sounds. The sonic environment which results might have you thinking 'full fathom five'."

------International Record Review, March 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Carolyn Beck has been principal bassoonist with several orchestras and studio pickup bands, and is widely known as a champion of new music. From the selection listed above, she commissioned and/or premiered the works by Alex Shapiro, Moshe Zorman, and Don Chamberlain... [Beck's] attention to expressive detail pays dividends throughout: in the jazz-influenced lines of Previn’s 1999 Sonata (the notes mention Monk and Bird but I find Bill Evans a stronger influence, certainly in the piano-writing) and in Alex Shapiro’s short fantasy Of Breath and Touch. This last piece imaginatively couples a Middle-Eastern-style moto perpetuo from the keyboard with a melody of long-held notes from the bassoon. Following an introspective central section, it revisits the busy opening as a brief coda."

"Shapiro’s Deep places the contrabassoon in the midst of a soundscape of “both sampled and electronically generated sounds.” It begins as a quiet wash of altered percussion alongside birdcalls and so on, with the contrabassoon sounding ominously underneath... [it] remains texturally absorbing..."

------
Fanfare Magazine, May/June 2006

 

 

 

 

"First we hear Alex Shapiro's "Of Breath and Touch." She uses essentially middle-eastern influences in melody, through the bassoon, and rhythm, through the piano. The effect of the ostinato role of the piano, if not the whole piece, is hypnotic. Beck states a somber melody in the beginning then again later in the piece, followed by long sustained passages in different registers that build and recede with intensity. All this is occurring while the piano asserts various harmonies below–sometimes insistently, sometimes agitated, and sometimes as if in a state of delirium."

"...by Alex Shapiro, "Deep," for contrabassoon and recorded track, is one of my favorites. Against the low and meditative sounds of the recorded track, [Beck's] first entrance is almost imperceptible. Her legato playing is excellent and her tone is warm and even–quite rare for such a whale of an instrument."

------American Record Guide, May/June 2006

"... I loved the dark, deep, almost gothic lyricism of the contrabassoon/pre-recorded track work "Deep," providing us with a truly unique and original composition for contrabassoon."

------The Double Reed, April 2006

"One new voice to emerge on this recording is West Coast composer Alex Shapiro, in "Of Breath and Touch" East. In the opening measures of the work you can hear the "town crier" high up in the minaret reporting on the events of the day. The work is somber in mood, at once angular and lyrical, with splashes of contrapuntal dialogue between the bassoon and piano. Although one would expect a work containing such vivid colors and multiple layers to be dense and overwhelming, Shapiro's writing is clear and idiomatic. Beck's playing is strong and sure throughout and the listener can hear a clear connection between composer and performer...

"...The music of Alex Shapiro appears for a second time on what may be the most effective piece for contrabassoon and accompaniment I have yet heard. Commissioned by Beck, the setting for "Deep" comes from an experience the composer had while scuba diving off the coast of Belize. For her, "the profound resonance" of the contrabassoon took her back to that time and the "depths of the translucent sea" that enveloped her as she swam. The work unfolds in the character of a slow moving behemoth moving through its watery world. Shapiro's sound track embraces the listener and creates vivid images of the unique beauty and tranquility of the sea floor. Kudos to Carolyn Beck for playing that is controlled and well in tune. Captain Nemo beware!"

--------The Journal of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, Summer 2007

       
Click to order
directly:

Beck and Call CD

This CD is also available at Crystal Records,
as well as the online retailers below.

Amazon.com link
CD Universe link

Or, download the album:

iTunes link


Alex Shapiro, composer email2
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