Mark Christopher Brandt

The Latest from Mark 2019

 

The string works performed on this project are lyrical, melodic, and technically demanding. I did not intentionally compose the music to be difficult.  My music is always composed in order to properly deliver what I hear in my inner ear. The piano on this project, however, was composed predominantly for color and melodic punctuation.  That is not to suggest that pianist Thomas Mirus is a mere stand-in for me on this project.  While classically trained pianists might dismiss the piano on The Butterfly pieces as less than challenging, true lovers of music will find the performances full of nuance and sensitivity of expression.  Tom ultimately equals his virtuoso counterparts in the two solo piano bonus tracks included at the end.  One is a deceptively tricky Two Part Invention in D Minor and the other is a full-fisted Sonatina in D Major.  Both of these works are among the earliest of my compositions. I felt that it was time to document them and I found Tom more than up to the challenge.

 

 

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A Butterfly view of Session day at Slipped Disc Studios.  Engineer Bill McElroy on Mark’s left.  Through the glass is cellist, Katherine Colburn (back to camera) and violist, Jenifer Bockstege (facing her).  Hidden  from view are violinists, Emil Cheytanov, Christopher Dixon, and pianist Thomas Mirus.

The quartet (post session) outside Slipped Disc Studios, Ashland, Virginia.  Left to right  Katherine Colburn, Jennifer Bockstege, Emil Cheytanov, Christopher Dixon.

String musicians hunting for new sounds in the modern day ocean of same-work-different-player compositions will have moments of shock and awe as they try to wrap their brains around the “live-feel” performance of these pieces.  Two of the most demanding pieces, The Rhythm of Involvement and Detachment, and the title track, The Butterfly, were composed in B major and Gb major, respectively, for the richness of sound and resonance that these keys offer.  Such tonal centers present unique challenges to even the most accomplished string musicians.  This quartet performs each piece with apparent ease and a certain delight is detected throughout the album.  The listener will find this music endearing, beautiful and refreshing because of Emil, Christopher, Jennifer, and Katherine!

 

The purpose of art has always been first and foremost to elevate the mind and the heart to higher realms of consciousness.  I experienced this every time I attended a rehearsal with these amazing musicians.  In a world of touchy egos and narcissistic attitudes, these four superbly talented string players naturally and effortlessly took turns moving from leader to subordinate in ways that should make the Christian churches and communities jealous, and at the very least ashamed.  There was not one bad attitude evident, and in everything they did, their focus was to allow the music to reign supreme, as it should.  Their interpretations and suggestions, as well as their musical choices - down to the tiniest detail of bowing, fingering or phrasing - were always spot on. I am a more excellent musician for having encountered these four artists.

 

The world needs to see and hear more butterflies.  There is currently a glut of warped and misshaped cocoons that masquerade as free-thinkers.  Beauty is no longer a goal in the modern age.  Sameness and group-think is dominating the artistic landscape.  Like the butterfly who inspired this music, I hope that more musicians and artists from all genres will be inspired to risk following their dreams; those dreams planted in the heart by God that can only be heard in the depth of our unique and individual souls.  I pray that more souls, emboldened with love and exuding their beauty from within, will break forth like the dawn from their cocoons and fly free as our guides to eternity.

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