|C||Nancy Galbraith: Other Sun||D|
Other Sun • Stephen Schultz (electric Baroque flute), Cello Fury (electric cellos), William Yanesh (keyboards), Brandon Schantz (percussion)
Traverso Mistico • Stephen Schultz (electric Baroque flute), Barney Culver (electric cello), Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble, Walter Morales, conductor
Island Echoes • IUP Percussion Trio: Brandon Kelly, Zachary Larimer, Andrew Wright
Night Train • Stephen Schultz (electric Baroque flute), Cello Fury (electric cellos), Marcus Kim (marimba), Brandon Schantz (percussion)
 Other Sun: Journey
 Other Sun: Between Stars
 Other Sun: Other Sun
 Traverso Mistico: Day One
 Traverso Mistico: The Joy of Sadness
 Traverso Mistico: Thoughts Without Words
 Island Echoes
 Night Train: Detroit Station
 Night Train: Moonlight
 Night Train: Nightscape
 Night Train: BC Dawning
Nancy Galbraith and Stephen Schultz, two faculty members at Carnegie Mellon University, began their collaboration and friendship in 2006, when the composer scored "Traverso Mistico" for Schultz’s electronically enhanced Baroque flute. The tremendous success of that premiere—presented by the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble—quickly segued to another crossover effort for Schultz, this time joined by the Pittsburgh-based rock-cello band, Cellofourte. The premiere of "Night Train" in 2008, again at Carnegie Mellon, was broadcast live on WQED-FM, and concluded with a riotous standing ovation and supercharged encore.
Compelled by the irresistible momentum, Galbraith churned out "Other Sun" which features the addition of Schultz’s BOSS Loop Station and the newly-formed rock trio Cello Fury. The new work was premiered with equal success late in 2009 at a concert presented by the Carnegie Mellon Baroque Orchestra.
The studio recordings of "Night Train" and "Other Sun" and live recording of "Traverso Mistico" are featured on this new album, along with Galbraith’s exotic marimba-soaked "Island Echoes," recorded by the IUP Percussion Trio.
Galbraith's vibrant textures, bouncy rhythms and optimistic strains compellingly emerge here in works performed by the rock trio Cello Fury and flutist Stephen Schultz. Galbraith explores a simplified harmonic and steadfastly tonal language in the works on this disc — aspects that fit Cello Fury's driving energy and Mr. Schultz's agile tone. His paradoxical "electric baroque flute" is reason enough to listen to this album. The works... project a potent popular vibe, but they also yield subtle sophistication, such as the harmonically renegade harpsichord ticking beneath the title track. — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
[The music] tends to be modal, with a harmonic language of minimal dissonance, and textures that occasionally suggest Minimalism, with lively rhythmic asymmetries and appealingly fresh instrumental sonorities...
I will say unequivocally that while I could not term this "great" music, I enjoy everything on the CD immensely, and it's hard to imagine anyone not feeling similarly. Perhaps its avoidance of weighty matters, its failure to fall into a neat stylistic category, and its general avoidance of intellectual confrontation may not appeal to the typical Fanfare reader, but I am confident that it will appeal to a much larger number of listeners...
Traverso Mistico... is a bit less consonant harmonically than the others, exhibiting a slightly Asian/Impressionistic flavor, so here is where the scent of [Lou] Harrison is strongest. The second of its three movements evokes a beautiful sense of rapture, while the subtle treatment of instrumental timbres—especially the electric flute and harpsichord—is exquisite. The first movement of Other Sun, the disc's title piece, is wonderfully lively and sonically fresh; the second is pretty and lyrical, while the third introduces a slightly jazzy element. Similar in many ways to Other Sun, Night Train is enormously appealing; of all the pieces it displays the richest, fullest treatment of the instrumental ensemble, although it is also the one with the strongest strain of rock style. It is perhaps my favorite piece on the program, with felicitous combinations of sonorities that can only be described as delicious. Island Echoes is scored for percussion only, and features the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Percussion Trio. It is an imaginative, inviting piece that features mallet instruments, so that melody and harmony are not overlooked, although, of course, rhythmic factors predominate.
All the music is performed impeccably, and the quality of the recording gives great immediacy to the irresistible timbral combinations. — Fanfare Magazine
"Other Sun"... is motivated by bright melodies and energetic percussion, and shadowed with rich sonorities. Although recorded over several years, common threads emerge: the often mythic quality of Stephen Schultz's "electric Baroque flute," and amplified cellos, supplied on the title piece and "Night Train" by Cello Fury. "Traverso Mistico" expands the palette... another pleasing departure is percussion piece "Island Echoes." — Pittsburgh City Paper
This album is not for the faint of heart, but the adventurous will absolutely wallow in it! Honestly, I don't like most post-modern classical composers, as they seem to think that breaking rules is the only thing that matters, and as a result produce cold, disengaging work. But I found not the faintest shiver of coldness in this work.
Nancy Galbraith's compositions [are] effervesce with passion, and never lose their deep, strong connection with the human (or nonhuman) heart. I get the impression that she doesn't set out deliberately to break rules for their own sake, but merely ignores any that get in the way of her pouring out her joie de vivre. She combines unlikely instruments, showing a particular delight in woodwinds and wooden percussion. Similarly she changes rhythms, keys, and styles with reckless abandon.
Not even the post-modern label can confine her, as much of her work has a distinctive folk feel. And I suspect that I can hear an influence by Ian Anderson and other rock musicians in the mix, too. Basically, I don't think Nancy Galbraith would hesitate to sit and learn at the feet of any master, even if he looks like a beggar singing for his supper. Nothing seems to matter to her as much as liberating the music inside her.
Sometimes her experiments do verge on irritating, like a highly talented child tugging on your sleeve till you finally give your attention to her weird but unforgettable and wholly original dance--all over the furniture! I wouldn't recommend this album to nervous temperaments or those who find comfort in conventionality, but for people seeking creative stimuli it's perfect. I have added it to my writing playlist and recommend it for artists, writers, dancers, and anyone else who could use Ms. Galbraith's particular spark to jumpstart their own creative process.
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