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Lingua Franca
  • Label: American Modern Recs
  • UPC: 616895086922
  • Item #: 2090364X
  • Release Date: 9/28/2018
Price: $14.26
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Lingua Franca on CD

Lingua Franca is the first album devoted to the music of David Feurzeig, whose compositions "test the boundaries between vernacular and concert music, seriousness and humor, and disparate musical traditions" (Dresdner Amtsblatt.) A lingua franca is any language or hybrid of several languages used as a common tongue-an apt description of Feurzeig's music, which speaks in a unique personal synthesis made from elements of highly diverse styles. The entire album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Grammy-winning producer and recording engineer Adam Abeshouse. The title piece features the "world's top-selling cello/bass duo" Low & Lower (Brooks Whitehouse and Paul Sharpe) in a virtuosic display as they play while reciting or singing five gems of International English-today's lingua franca-which range from a Belgrade hotel elevator sign ("press a number of wishing floor") to the instructions on a chopstick wrapper ("the traditional and typical of Chinese glonous history"). Feurzeig is the performer on the alternately poignant and hilarious "Four Homages," which reimagines the work of great composer-pianists of the past in contemporary vernacular piano styles: from the Bartokian "Bela's Blues" to "Stride Rite," a 3-minute summary of the Rite of Spring in ragtime. The set concludes with a tribute to Martin Luther King, a quodlibet of "We Shall Overcome" and "Happy Birthday," which is both a cri de couer for our troubled times and somehow also a rollicking boogie-woogie celebration. The album begins and ends with pieces for unaccompanied solo string instrument. Whitehouse performs the majestic five-movement Sonata for Solo Cello, which extends the monumental tradition of the Benjamin Britten solo sonatas into the 21st century with innovative virtuoso techniques. Violist Daniel Panner, Naumburg winner and principal of the NYC Opera, plays the Sonata for Solo Viola, which likewise tests the limits of the instrument, but always in the service of passionate expression.

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