My first classical vocal CD, which began as a “what if” project. I arranged the Vivaldi Lute Concerto in D some years ago and performed it with a local orchestra here in the Seattle area. I had always wanted to record a chamber string ensemble in the studio and play the lute part on Electric Bass. With budgets as they are these days (zero), I thought it would be interesting to “sing” the orchestra and “play” the lute on my bass. This worked quite well, and the proof of concept for “Songs Without Words” was born. The title might lead the listener to believe that I included the Mendelssohn work of the same name, but this is not the case. The entire project is composed of vocal sounds (except my bass on the Vivaldi work). There are no words for most these compositions, so it is all about using my voice to paint the tonal colors of an orchestra.
The album begins with my first attempt at an all vocal work, J.S. Bach: Air on The G String in D Major BWV 1068. There are only a few voices in this arrangement, which was a departure from the Vivaldi work I completed just before it. It actually has a lot of “airiness” to the sound. Next, Rimsky-Korsakoff: “Flight Of The Bumble Bee” – a tongue twister if there ever was one. Parts buzzed around in my brain during the night just bursting to get out onto the recording. Recording the melody part required scheduled rest stops for a weary tongue. Another one of my friends/colleagues suggested I look at Mussorgsky: Night On Bald Mountain. I was captivated by this work – the good versus evil theme and the brilliant orchestration. This work took quite some time as it is approximately 11:00 and was one of the works I wasn’t sure I could complete until I actually sang the final note. After the darkness and then light of “Night On Bald Mountain”, I thought a calming work would be appropriate so I recorded another of my J.S. Bach favorites, “The Sheep May Safely Graze” BWV 208 – some release after the tension of the previous work. There’s nothing like a good adagio to finish a project and there is one that stood out for me above others – Albinoni: “Adagio in G Minor”. It has become a favorite on the “Songs Without Words” CD.