What is the project and why is it important?
This project aims to record an album of the vocal music of Seymour Barab (b. 1921). There will be two recording sessions: the first will happen in May and consist of Bawd Ballads for voice and string trio, while the second session will occur in August and will consist of three sets of songs for voice and piano. Seymour's music is immensely popular and accessible, but there are no recordings of these songs.
We will perform a lunchtime concert of Bawd Ballads at St. Malachy's Church in New York on Tuesday, May 20 at 1:00. The church is located at 239 West 49th Street. If you are interested in supporting this project, please come and experience the music that will be recorded!
What is the background of this project?
I first came into contact with Seymour Barab's music while studying voice at UC Santa Barbara where I sang his song cycle The Rivals. I enjoyed the set immensely, and was glad to serendipitously meet him while singing in New York. As I came to know Seymour and found out more about his career in music I was was amazed at how far-ranging his experiences were. He has collaborated with some of the twentieth and twenty-first century's great musicians, first as a cellist (appearing as principal with the orchestras of Cleveland, San Francisco and Philadelphia), and later in New York City, where he worked in both the contemporary and early music scenes. He took up the viola da gamba and was a founding member of the groundbreaking Renaissance and Baroque Music ensemble New York Pro Musica. Seymour began composing early in his career and describes himself as primarily a humorist: "Any chance I see for a laugh, I'll take!" His one-act comic opera Pizza con Funghi was revived by the Chelsea Opera in Fall 2013. His catalog is full of humorous vocal music, drawing on comic verse from all ages. In a review of his cycle Bits and Pieces, New York Records wrote: "A winning sense of humor, occasionally a gentle poignance, and attractive melodies are among the features of this brief song cycle."
Who are the collaborators?
I approached Geoffrey Silver of Acis Productions to create a disc of Seymour's music. For our project, we have gathered some of the best musicians in New York to record the hysterical Bawd Ballads: Jesse Mills, violin; Jessica Troy, viola; and David Eggar, cello. We will record at Drew University's acoustically renowned recital hall. The second recording session will focus on three more of Seymour's song cycles: The Rivals, Parodies, and The Songmaker. The pianist for these sets is the excellent Brent Funderburk.
Funds raised via Kickstarter will help defray the costs of hiring musicians, renting space, recording, mastering and design costs, and the creation of the physical disc.
Risks and challenges
Although there are always risks involved in a recording project, this project is already completely organized. The repertoire is selected and the musicians are committed. The venue, engineer, and producer are also committed to specific dates and times. We also have the blessing of the composer himself. Therefore, with the Kickstarter funding, the project will be completed. Everyone involved is an experienced professional and able to handle whatever challenges may arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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