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“The Spice of the Program” now available on CD!

A piece of chamber music I composed is now available on CD. The Palisades Virtuosi — an ensemble comprised of Margaret Swinchoski, flute, Donald Mokrynski, clarinet, and Ron Levy, piano — commissioned me to compose a ten-minute work for them back in 2005. The piece, entitled “The Spice of the Program” (yes, like the logo/catch-phrase of Educational Pictures) was premiered at the PVI’s Dec 2005 concert, and was recorded the following year. The CD was just released this month (July 2010), in which my piece is joined by five others by Dick Hyman, Bryan Schober, Fred Messner and Randall E. Faust. You can buy it here on the Albany Records website, or here on I haven’t heard the CD yet — who has time to open a shrink-wrapped CD anymore? — but I’m sure the first ten tracks are fantastic, and much classier than mine (track #11). Scroll down to read the liner notes I wrote for my piece.

The Spice of the Program [2005] is a tribute to the short comedy film of the silent era. The comedy two-reeler was the staple of every movie show during the silent film era, and was often the bread-and-butter of every theater manager. During the 1920’s, a theater marquee often displayed the star and title of the slapstick short on the bill as well as the feature attraction, because the new Harold Lloyd or Lloyd Hamilton comedy was often a bigger draw than the dramatic feature showing that week. Drawing on 25+ years of composing and improvising live musical scores for silent films, Model has constructed a piece of chamber music based on the structure of a typical comedy short, with themes (or leitmotifs) for the lead comic, his adversary, and the girl the comic is pining or fighting for, as well as the “standard” mood or incidental music essential for one of these cinema appetizers — “busy” music, “trouble brewing” music and, of course, a chase that resolves with a recap of the a love theme and the film’s main theme. The listener should feel free to relax, forget where they are, and “tune out” — imagining a fictional silent slapstick film as it unspools on the silver screen in their mind’s eye.

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