The flute and marimba duo Lawler + Fadoul had a few mintues to discuss their CD Prelude Cocktail, which you folks should most certainly pick up, it is a really cool collection of preludes transcribed for the 2 instruments by these very gifted artists.
You can purchase/download the album here or on the link on the bottom.
CM: I want to start off by saying I was quite blown away by this album, it sounds incredible! The thing is, I really enjoy hearing the art of transcription–It’s so special, and some people are probably wondering how it’s so special when it’s music that already exists, but it just gives a whole other sound to something. And these pieces you guys did are mostly written for the piano–Of course, I love the piano, but it has this really cool, sort of chimey elegance with the marimba. And the flute takes up the melody. It’s a nice, fresh approach. BTW, I feel like I just said everything you were going to say, so forgive me…
Zara: That’s ok, I don’t think we would have come up with the phrase “chimey elegance”, but…
Paul: We like “chimey elegance”!
CM: Please talk about how the idea for this album came to be.
Paul: Originally we had this idea of just doing preludes and fugues…
CM: Just Bach’s Preludes and Fugues, or…
Paul: Bach and Shostakovich, actually. When I was in college, I’d listen to the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues all the time, and I’ve played a couple of the Bach ones–The C minor from Book I (Well-Tempered Clavier) on marimba. I was okay at piano but not good enough to play a lot of the ones I really like from the Shostakovich book. The Bach works so well. Bach didn’t write for piano either, so…
CM: Yeah, because it didn’t exist yet!
Paul: Right! So, I felt like it was okay.
Zara: Paul first brought forth the idea of doing some transcriptions of the Shostakovich, and then I was like “Let’s put in some of the Well-Tempered Clavier” and it just grew from there. “Well, while we’re at it…”
Shostakovich: Prelude & Fugue in A Major
Paul: We were also looking at Hindemith and all sorts of other composers that had done books, and then, we just decided to go with preludes–There were so many composers that did great preludes.
Zara: Yeah! They were just so irresistible!
CM: I love how you guys did the Chopin–The #12 (Op. 28)! It was so perfect, especially the end! I still need to hear the album uninterrupted, because I’ve been mostly playing it in my car! It actually makes really good road music. [laughs]
How long were you working with this repertoire?
Paul: We started it 3 years ago. We went up to Putney, VT at Yellowbarn, and did a residency there where our project started, and we worked on 2 of each of the Bach and Shostakovich’s, and actually only took one of each that made it to the CD, but that’s where it started. The G Major and the C Sharp Major, which was nice, but didn’t work as well–We had to do some trial and error for some of the pieces.
CM: Obviously they don’t all work for flute and marimba.
Paul: We did the Shos. D minor, which was great–I love that one, it’s the last one in the book. It was a lot of hard work, but we ultimately realized it didn’t work for marimba and flute…
Zara: And there were some parts of it that actually worked very beautifully, but then there were others that just felt like it was never going to be as good as we wanted it to be, so we had to cut it from the list.
But part of the reason we decided to do transcriptions, in addition to commissions–Part of it is this idea that we wanted to expand the repertoire for our instruments, and that’s the thing we’ve been talking about for ages.
But honestly for both instruments, we don’t have a whole big history for them, so we decided we wanted to create that in a way, as well as creating new things, so, looking back and looking forward at the same time, it was part of the impetus for the whole thing.
Lawler + Fadoul: Audience Q + A, Why Arrangements?
Paul: We love new music! We actually have pieces by Roshanne Etezady and Katherine Hoover on the album. But I love 21st century, I love 20th century, 19th century, 18th century–I love all older music as well as the new music, but there’s just very few classics for marimba.
CM: Is there going to be a follow-up to the Prelude Cocktail collection?
Zara: Our next project is actually going to focus on mostly American music and styles of music that don’t necessarily make it to the concert hall, so there will definitely be arrangements and transcriptions, but they won’t necessarily be of solo piano works. There will be jingles, TV theme songs, protest songs–The idea is to put it all together as a sort of vaudevillian variety show.
CM: Like a potpurri of Americana and American culture, I take it…
Zara and Paul: Yeah!
Zara: One of the ones we’re working on now is the theme for “The Young and The Restless”! We realized it’s gonna be so beautiful for flute! [laughing]
Paul: Yeah, it will, actually! “Doogie Howser” as well!
CM: Yeah, oh I can see why–I always thought it sounded rather chimey!
Lawler + Fadoul perform Roshanne Etezady’s ROLL