View Full Version : Boston Recital--Friday March 12th

Mar-09-2004, 12:02am
Hi all,

I will be giving a mandolin and guitar recital at the Boston Conservatory (where I teach in the Theory/Composition Department). It will be held in the Concert room at 8 The Fenway on Friday March 12th at 8 pm. The concert is free and open to the public.

The program will consist of new and recent compositions inspired by musical traditions from around the world. The mandolin works will be Sonata by James Kachulis (a Berklee professor) and a new composition of mine entitled "Gifts of the Bard" --first performance for both pieces.

Guitar works will include pieces by Lou Harrison, Leo Brouwer and Daniel Buckvich( a Boston premier). A song cycle of mine, entitled "Clear Full Moon" for voice and guitar will be sung by soprano, Maggi Smith-Dalton.

Hope some of you from the Boston area may be able to make it--if you do, please introduce yourself.

Jim Dalton

Plamen Ivanov
Mar-09-2004, 4:31am
Hello Jim,

Thanks for the info! I have a mandolin friend, who works in Boston and lives near by. I`ll tell him, he might be inetersted!

Good luck to you!

Mar-09-2004, 10:50am
I wish I could be there!

Neil Gladd
Mar-10-2004, 11:42pm
Great! Tell us more about your composition and the new Sonata!

Mar-11-2004, 10:49pm
Neil--Thanks for asking about these pieces.

The Sonata for mandolin by James Kachulis is in a quasi-Baroque 3 movement form based on Greek and Eastern European dance rhythms and a jazz-influenced harmonic idiom. The movements are I. Kalamatiano II.Zembekiko III. Bulgarian Scherzo. (7/8, 9/4 and 7/8 by the way...)

Jimmy Kachulis is a Boston area composer on the Berklee faculty teaching Songwriting and World Music , among other things. I have also performed some of his chamber works with guitar and mandocello.

Gifts of the Bard is my most recent mandolin solo piece. It is also a three movement work and it is based around the three skills required of the ancient Celtic bards. The movements are I. Goltraí II. Geantraí and III. Suantraí. Loosely translated these refer to cathartic, mirthful and sleep inducing music. The first movement quotes old Gaelic keening, the second is a jig-like scherzo with structural elements from the Carnatic (South Indian) tala system. The final movement is a minimalistic lullaby, again structured around elements of Carnatic tala.

"Gifts" is my first large scale mandolin solo. (I do have a few sets of short pieces and some duets.) I have been writing much choral and chamber music in the last several years but not much for my own performances. It is good to get back to it.

Jim Dalton

Plamen Ivanov
Mar-12-2004, 3:49am

Good, that the Eastern European culture inspires the mandolin composers. Jim, this friend from the Boston area has a greek origin and I hope, that he will manage to go to the concert. He mentioned something about a church meeting Friday evening. I hope he will change his mind after I sent him your detailed information about the pieces.
I personally am interested in the Sonata for mandolin by James Kachulis. How could I get the sheet music of it? Is there already a recording of that piece?

Good luck tonight!

Mar-12-2004, 6:28am
We are working on editing both pieces at this point. I'll let you know when the Sonata is ready.

There are no recordings yet. We are recording tonight's performance and we do have plans to do a studio recording as well.

I'll keep you posted.

Mar-12-2004, 10:34am
Wow. Is any of this new mandolin music available in print? Is there any intention to make it available?

Mar-12-2004, 10:38am
Aye, those Greek composers writing all this mandolin music... What next, I ask ye, what next? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Mar-12-2004, 11:07pm
Yes, there is intent to make them available
Both Jimmy Kachulis' piece and mine will be ready as soon as our teaching and performance schedules will allow. It is difficult to maintain any one of these activities (performing, teaching and composing) doing all three can be insane. We are putting the finishing touches on the print versions and I'll be happy to let you all know when they're published.

Thanks for asking.

Mar-13-2004, 10:15am
My wife and I attended Jim Dalton's concert. The concert began with five pieces for guitar by Lou Harrison as arranged (from what I could tell) by David Tannenbaum, nicely played. Next up was a cycle of three (very) short songs for soprano (Maggi Smith-Dalton) and guitar, based on poems by Kenneth Rexroth, a lovely work, spare and elegant. From these pieces alone (more below on the mandolin piece) it is clear that Mr. Dalton is a fine, highly skilled composer (and Smith-Dalton a highly accomplished singer). The first half concluded with the Kachulis sonata for solo mandolin. Originally for violin, the piece (according to the composer, who was present) was modeled after the Bach sonatas and partitas, but uses Eastern European dance forms as a point of departure. This is an excellent work, harmonically and rhythmically complex but still very accessible. Not too difficult either --my guess is that anyone who can play Victor's piece will find the Kachulis well within their technical abilities.
The second half began with a piece for guitar by Daniel Bukvich (a composer from Washington state, I believe), "Shamisen", which made use of many extended guitar techniques (i.e. playing the strings behind the nut, left hand tapping and so forth), a very effective and atmospheric piece. Then came the Dalton work for solo mandolin, "Gifts of the Bard", in three movements. On first hearing this is a very impressive work (like the Kachulis). It is more experimental than the Kachulis -- there are passages, for example, for left hand percussion on the fingerboard; the third movement makes extensive use of harmonics; and in the first movement, there is a passage in which the perfomer uses a device that electric guitarists use (I forget the name) that is held over the strings for sustaining notes more or less at will. Some passages are highly chromatic, others have simple melodies derived from Irish sources, others from Indian sources. A fine work, technically demanding (more in a musical than a virtuosic sense) but rewarding to play (I'm sure) and listen to. The concert concluded with two of Leo Brouwer's best known guitar works, "Elogia de la Danza" and "Danza Caracteristica", played with appropriate punch. Mr. Dalton performed the mandolin pieces (very nicely) on a Phoenix Neoclassical mandolin, a warm sound, with great sustain.
The audience responded warmly and Mr. Dalton played an encore, a medley of Irish reels on mandolin, great fun. I spoke to both composers after and encouraged them write more for the mandolin, solo and in ensemble, and both were receptive.

Mar-17-2004, 4:52pm
Many thanks to Robert for his review of my performance. (and Robert, it was great to meet you!)

A few clarifications: (1) yes, most of the Harrison pieces were David Tannenbaum's arrangements of harp pieces, but the first (Serenado) was actually written for guitar. I should have indicated that in the program.(2)Dan Bukvich is from Idaho. He is on the faculty of the Univ. of Idaho, Moscow. (3) The device that Robert mentions is an Ebow. By an electromagnetic field (or some such), it causes the string to vibrate almost as if bowed. Long sustain on a mando--what a concept! Anyway, I use it in the first movement of Gifts of the Bard while quoting some old Irish caoine (keening). In the score, I indicate that tremelo would be an ok substitute for the Ebow but I much prefer the delicate, etherial sound that the Ebow provides.

Thanks again Robert.

Jim Dalton

Bob A
Mar-18-2004, 11:09am
Tell me more about this e-bow. From whence obtained? Details?


Jim Garber
Mar-18-2004, 11:18am
E-bows (http://www.ebow.com) have been around for a long time, I think since 1976. I believe that they wil only work on electric instruments, tho.


Mar-18-2004, 2:11pm
Not true. I don't play on an electric. The Ebow works on metal strings--no matter the instrument. Admittedly the effect is more subtle on an acoustic instrument since it overdrives the pickup on an electric--but it does work and the subtle effect was just what I was looking for.