Composer Robert Sirota on new releases by American String Quartet and Paul Simon
Source: Jensen Artists
Composer Robert Sirota announces the September 7, 2018 release of two new albums featuring his work. American String Quartet’s American Romantics is a collection of string quartets by Sirota, Dvořák, and Barber. Paul Simon’s 14th studio album, In The Blue Light (Legacy Recordings), features Sirota’s arrangement of "René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War" for Paul Simon with New York-based chamber ensemble yMusic.
American Romantics showcases two timeless, iconic works – Antonin Dvořák’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 “American” and Samuel Barber’s String Quartet, Op. 11: II. Adagio – with the world premiere recording of Robert Sirota’s String Quartet No. 2 “American Pilgrimage.”
The American String Quartet commissioned Sirota to write this quartet after championing his first string quartet, Triptych, written for the Chiara String Quartet as an impassioned response to the 9/11 tragedy. American Pilgrimage is conceived as a companion piece to Triptych: a celebration of the beauty, pathos, and variety of both our geography and culture. It is laid out in four movements: Morning: Waldo County, Maine; Mid-day: Mother Emanuel Church, Charleston, South Carolina; Sunset: High Desert, Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Evening: Manhattan. The raw material is drawn from four sources: Protestant hymnody, Gospel music, Native American songs, and jazz. Sirota describes the work as an effort to “capture a glimpse of the epic quality of our country – the awesome diversity of its landscape and its people.”
String Quartet No. 2 “American Pilgrimage” was partially funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, about which Sirota says, “More than a decade since composing my first string quartet and after months of consideration and deliberation, I decided that I want to make this piece the property of many, many people. I want to gather a community who will follow this project from the beginning, who will share my belief that a composer’s uninterrupted devotion to create something beautiful and useful is worth getting behind.”
American Romantics was produced and engineered by Judith Sherman and recorded at the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
American Romantics | American String Quartet | Release date: September 7, 2018
[1-4] Antonin Dvořák: String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 “American” (1841-1904) [23:33]
[5-8] Robert Sirota: String Quartet No. 2, “American Pilgrimage” (b. 1949) [27:28]
 Samuel Barber: String Quartet, Op. 11: II. Adagio (1910-1981) [7:25]
Legendary songwriter, recording artist and performer Paul Simon’s 14th studio album In The Blue Light (Legacy Recordings) features a talented cast of musicians who have joined Simon to lend fresh perspectives on 10 of the artist’s favorite songs, drawn from his unparalleled body of work. Among these collaborators is Robert Sirota, whose arrangement of "René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War" for Paul Simon with New York-based chamber ensemble yMusic is recorded on the album.
Of his work on the project, Sirota says, “Paul Simon is one of the great songwriters of our time, full stop. Paul’s process of refining and preparing work is rigorous, astute, and collaborative. Working with him and yMusic on this arrangement, from initial discussions through the recording session, then hearing this beautiful song performed before huge crowds on the Homeward Bound Tour, has been an incredible experience for me.”
Simon explains, “It’s an unusual occurrence for an artist to have the opportunity to revisit earlier works and re-think them; to modify, even completely change parts of the originals. Happily, this opportunity also gave me the gift of playing with an extraordinary group of musicians, most of whom I hadn’t recorded with before. I hope the listener will find these new versions of old songs refreshed, like a new coat of paint on the walls of an old family home.”
The release of In The Blue Light on September 7 coincides with the final leg of Simon’s “Homeward Bound – Farewell Tour” in September, including four performances in the New York City area and culminating on September 22 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Sirota’s arrangement of “Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War,” is brought to the stage each night as a show-stopping highlight on the tour. Watch the live performance of the world premiere at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC on May 16, 2018 here: https://youtu.be/S1g8oZ_tXCo
In The Blue Light was produced by Simon and Roy Halee, who have worked together since the 1960s. For more information about the album, visit: https://Paul-Simon.lnk.to/itbl-albumAW