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View Full Version : My CD "Guitarias" is about to be released; details on my brand-new website!


Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-20-2014, 05:10 PM
I have the great pleasure of announcing the imminent release of my CD Guitarias, on February 16th, 2014.

According to my press release -

"MacNaughton’s first self-produced album is an intimate, poetic journey. Guitarias includes compositions for voice and guitar (hence the name: guitar/arias) all performed by the singer accompanying himself: John Beckwith's Beckett Songs (three songs to poems of Samuel Beckett), Leslie Uyeda's Flower Arranger (a single song to a poem of Joy Kogawa), and William Beauvais' The Truth of Matter (four songs to poems of Linda Hogan), were all commissioned by Doug MacNaughton. Guitarias also features John Rutter's Shadows (eight songs to various poets of the 16th and 17th centuries), which were published in 1997. This is MacNaughton’s fourth recording as a singer, but marks his debut recording as a guitarist."

(The whole darn tl;dr thing can be found in this spoiler box)

Modern Day Troubadour Doug MacNaughton Travels New Musical Path

Toronto, ON: Combining the intimacy of a Troubadour, the simplicity of art song and the freedom of contemporary music, Doug MacNaughton proudly launches his first self-produced recording, Guitarias.

"MacNaughton’s first self-produced album is an intimate, poetic journey. Guitarias includes compositions for voice and guitar (hence the name: guitar/arias) all performed by the singer accompanying himself: John Beckwith's Beckett Songs (three songs to poems of Samuel Beckett), Leslie Uyeda's Flower Arranger (a single song to a poem of Joy Kogawa), and William Beauvais' The Truth of Matter (four songs to poems of Linda Hogan), were all commissioned by Doug MacNaughton. Guitarias also features John Rutter's Shadows (eight songs to various poets of the 16th and 17th centuries), which were published in 1997. This is MacNaughton’s fourth recording as a singer, but marks his debut recording as a guitarist."

"I am fascinated by the artistic effect of playing and singing at the same time”, explains MacNaughton. “The guitar’s portability makes it possible to perform in intimate and unusual acoustics. There's a deeper connection between the voice part and the accompaniment, because the singer is the accompanist."

"We considered recording the voice and guitar separately”, he continues, “but in the end, we decided to record live in the welcoming, resonant acoustic of St. George the Martyr Church. Double-tracking would have required a studio setting, and the guitar and voice parts wouldn't have been able to spontaneously respond to each other. The music is much more alive when both parts have the freedom to perform expressively."

A multitalented artist, Doug began playing guitar when he was 13 years old; at the time, he dreamed of becoming the next Steve Howe, or Robert Fripp, or John McLaughlin. His life took an interesting turn when he went to university and discovered singing. The rest is… history! For almost 30 years, Doug has enjoyed a successful career as a classical singer, becoming a renowned figure from the music scene in Canada. “MacNaughton used his attractive voice to embrace all of the nuances of the libretto… he is a great singing actor”, wrote Opera Canada. He performs regularly with the country’s major opera companies, such as the Canadian Opera Company, Pacific Opera Victoria and Edmonton Opera, to only name a few. A versatile performer, Doug is also well known for having played Enjolras in the Canadian company of Les Miserables, and Miguel Cervantes/Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha for the Stirling Festival Theatre. His concert repertoire includes solos in Messiah, Carmina Burana, Frankenstein and The Dangerous Kitchen, the last being a Frank Zappa tribute produced by ACREQ. For more information, please visit http://dougmacnaughton.com/



I'm planning a CD launch party in Toronto for Feb. 16th - I'll post details about that as soon as the venue is confirmed. I have further details and links on my newly-launched website, www.DougMacNaughton.com (http://dougmacnaughton.com/) , where I'm also selling advance copies through PayPal. I have a physical distribution deal with the Canadian Music Centre, but the disc isn't available through their website yet; iTunes distribution will probably be up and running in a couple of months.

There are sound clips available on the Recordings (http://dougmacnaughton.com/recordings.html) page, and there is a full length clip of one of the sixteen tracks available for listening at this link, Gather ye rosebuds (http://r3.ca/4tkL), at least for the next week.

The online PDF of the CD booklet can be seen here (http://dougmacnaughton.com/guitarias-nopoetry.pdf).

It has been a fascinating journey, taking these pieces from dots on a page to a finished recording. I'm quite thrilled!



I'd like to thank The Mods for their permission to post this, and I'd like to thank the SDMB for its ongoing support over the years.

Quartz
01-20-2014, 05:24 PM
Guitar music isn't really my thing but I listened to your Messiah extracts with interest. Did you do a recording with an orchestra? Because I'm sure I've heard you before.

WordMan
01-20-2014, 06:29 PM
Very cool, Le Ministre - thanks for sharing. I am swamped right now, in a good way, so not getting to the Dope as much as I'd like. But I will keep an eye out for this thread and details.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-20-2014, 09:31 PM
Guitar music isn't really my thing but I listened to your Messiah extracts with interest. Did you do a recording with an orchestra? Because I'm sure I've heard you before.

No, I have no recordings out with orchestra - the closest is the 'Serinette', but that's still just a 15 piece chamber ensemble.

I think, though, that I've been broadcast on CBC a few times since I signed up here; I think I may have posted a thread with the link to the broadcast before.

I'm glad Messiah grabbed your interest - I'd love to do more of them!

Leaffan
01-20-2014, 09:40 PM
Very cool. I love your voice!

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-20-2014, 09:43 PM
Very cool. I love your voice!

::Blush:: Many thanks; I appreciate that!

squeegee
01-20-2014, 10:39 PM
Exiting news, Ministre! I'm not at home and traveling tomorrow all day, will definitely check it out as soon as I get back the day after. Very cool.

scabpicker
01-21-2014, 08:17 AM
I had actually thought about bumping the GOGT the other day to ask about this, as I thought you would be about ready to release it soon.

I'm surprised by just about everything, here. Since you're a classical guitarist, I had always pictured you as looking something like Parkening in my head. It's not bad that you don't. In fact, it's probably good. Classical guitar has an image that's too tall, dark and tidy - IMHO.

Somehow, I had either missed or glossed over your being primarily an excellent singer, and that this was your guitar debut. It's still excellent guitar playing, and I'm taken aback by how good your voice is. I'm also surprised that it's in English, since your user name is French (I assume, I don't speak French), and classical that most people (like me) are familiar with tends to be in any language but English.

Congrats on all of it, I hope to hear it broadcast on the local classical stations soon! :)


ETA: And the hall sounds great! Was it all natural, or did you tweak it in the mix?

kenobi 65
01-21-2014, 09:51 AM
Congratulations -- that's awesome!

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-21-2014, 01:50 PM
I had actually thought about bumping the GOGT the other day to ask about this, as I thought you would be about ready to release it soon.

I'm surprised by just about everything, here. Since you're a classical guitarist, I had always pictured you as looking something like Parkening in my head. It's not bad that you don't. In fact, it's probably good. Classical guitar has an image that's too tall, dark and tidy - IMHO.

Somehow, I had either missed or glossed over your being primarily an excellent singer, and that this was your guitar debut. It's still excellent guitar playing, and I'm taken aback by how good your voice is. I'm also surprised that it's in English, since your user name is French (I assume, I don't speak French), and classical that most people (like me) are familiar with tends to be in any language but English.

Congrats on all of it, I hope to hear it broadcast on the local classical stations soon! :)


ETA: And the hall sounds great! Was it all natural, or did you tweak it in the mix?

Funny - most of the classical guitarists I know, esp. here in Toronto, are a rather unruly, scruffy bunch. For the photo shoot, I was just having fun with being able to play/sing in various locations. I have a longer term project that involves hiking/canoeing to remote locations to record...

No, my French user name is a red herring - I speak it, but it is very much a second language for me. It comes from the song 2033 by the Québécois band "La Bottine Souriante (http://www.bottinesouriante.com/welcome-2677-en.html)" ("The beat-up boot") and means "The Minister from the Beyond". When I signed up here, that sounded like a good user name for an anonymous voice from the internet. I don't think I'm very anonymous any more, after this thread...

There's a fair amount of opera, oratorio, and art song written in English, actually - Purcell, Handel and Britten; Haydn and Mendelssohn all wrote for British audiences in English. For art song for guitar and voice, there's a ton of Elizabethan/Jacobean rep by Dowland, Campion and their contemporaries, most of which is in English. Sir Peter Pears and Julian Bream did some concerts of that rep. in the late 50s/early 60s, which led to Britten, Berkeley, Tippet, Walton, and their contemporaries writing for the duo (future project...)

As for the miking/mix - we mixed live, direct to stereo. I'm not the best person to ask about the details - although I joke that "It looks just like a Telefunken U47!", I tend to leave the electronics to someone who knows what they're doing. So, we had two mikes aimed at the upper and lower parts of the soundboard that were really close - like, climb in here carefully and don't move around too much kind of close. Then, there were a pair of mikes about 4 feet away that were aimed just over the music stand, to catch the direct voice, and a single stereo mike about 20 feet back and 15 feet up to catch the church's natural reverb.

The biggest challenge sound wise was - I had booked 4 sessions of 3 hours each for the last 4 Fridays in May, 2013. Each day had a very specific schedule of pieces, and the big, number one rule was - finish everything about a given piece on the same day. Editing between days was to be avoided at all costs!! (The ambient room sound, the tuning, the mike placement and therefore the reverb can all be just slightly different, making an edit too obvious to be tolerated.)

So the Beckwith and Uyeda were recorded on the first day, the Beauvais on the second, and the Rutter was divided between the last two days. That way, we could cut and paste between the best takes of every given pieces while maintaining a continuity of ambient sound. St. George the Martyr/The Music Gallery is a fantastic acoustic, but it's also a block away from Queen Street, right downtown in Toronto - we lost some good performances to trucks, streetcars, car horns, etc.

And I cannot thank my friend Sung Chung enough for his help as floor producer - because of him listening and following the score, I could just concentrate on playing and singing. We did a minimum of three complete takes of everything, followed by a punch list of bars/phrases that needed re-doing. Sung was who followed along with the score and kept track of all that, so I didn't have that to worry about it. Couldn't have done it without him.

A couple of the tracks were actually studio live - Sonnet, the third song in Shadows, for instance. The track on the album is the unedited second take.

scabpicker
01-21-2014, 06:47 PM
Funny - most of the classical guitarists I know, esp. here in Toronto, are a rather unruly, scruffy bunch. For the photo shoot, I was just having fun with being able to play/sing in various locations. I have a longer term project that involves hiking/canoeing to remote locations to record...

When I was typing that, I figured you were probably more representative of the breed than my mental image was. You guys are a bunch of guitarists, after all. You don't get to Carnegie Hall without practice, practice, practice; and practicing guitar doesn't make you pretty.

And that's one hell of a project! I thought recording in the church was special, to record where most people don't go is crossing into concept album territory. Is there a meaning to the places other than "because it's there" and current tech allows you to do it?

You should take a drummer along just to have the joy of torturing one, they all seem to hate travel. Really, you shouldn't, but the image of a drummer riding along in a canoe with his drums just makes me happy inside.


I don't think I'm very anonymous any more, after this thread...

There's a fair amount of opera, oratorio, and art song written in English, actually - Purcell, Handel and Britten; Haydn and Mendelssohn all wrote for British audiences in English. For art song for guitar and voice, there's a ton of Elizabethan/Jacobean rep by Dowland, Campion and their contemporaries, most of which is in English. Sir Peter Pears and Julian Bream did some concerts of that rep. in the late 50s/early 60s, which led to Britten, Berkeley, Tippet, Walton, and their contemporaries writing for the duo (future project...)


No sir, you are not.

Thank you for the quick primer, I had heard of Britten from the "what will survive to 2114" thread.
My knowledge of classical is paper thin, I'll check some of it out.


As for the miking/mix - we mixed live, direct to stereo. I'm not the best person to ask about the details - although I joke that "It looks just like a Telefunken U47!", I tend to leave the electronics to someone who knows what they're doing. So, we had two mikes aimed at the upper and lower parts of the soundboard that were really close - like, climb in here carefully and don't move around too much kind of close. Then, there were a pair of mikes about 4 feet away that were aimed just over the music stand, to catch the direct voice, and a single stereo mike about 20 feet back and 15 feet up to catch the church's natural reverb.


Thanks for the info, I thought it sounded like the vocal mics were a distance away. I imagined that's partly because in a classical setting, you're un-amplified, so your voice wouldn't need a close mic. I wouldn't have guessed the vocal mic was in stereo, but it does explain some of the richness. That building does have very nice natural reverb, and the engineer caught the whole thing well.



The biggest challenge sound wise was - I had booked 4 sessions of 3 hours each for the last 4 Fridays in May, 2013. Each day had a very specific schedule of pieces, and the big, number one rule was - finish everything about a given piece on the same day. Editing between days was to be avoided at all costs!! (The ambient room sound, the tuning, the mike placement and therefore the reverb can all be just slightly different, making an edit too obvious to be tolerated.)

So the Beckwith and Uyeda were recorded on the first day, the Beauvais on the second, and the Rutter was divided between the last two days. That way, we could cut and paste between the best takes of every given pieces while maintaining a continuity of ambient sound. St. George the Martyr/The Music Gallery is a fantastic acoustic, but it's also a block away from Queen Street, right downtown in Toronto - we lost some good performances to trucks, streetcars, car horns, etc.

And I cannot thank my friend Sung Chung enough for his help as floor producer - because of him listening and following the score, I could just concentrate on playing and singing. We did a minimum of three complete takes of everything, followed by a punch list of bars/phrases that needed re-doing. Sung was who followed along with the score and kept track of all that, so I didn't have that to worry about it. Couldn't have done it without him.

A couple of the tracks were actually studio live - Sonnet, the third song in Shadows, for instance. The track on the album is the unedited second take.

I remember your post about the editing process, it seemed like heavy work, and I hadn't even thought about the intricacies of producing such a natural recording that you could have edited that way. Getting a couple of flawless takes must have felt great.

Again, congrats!

Leaffan
01-21-2014, 08:39 PM
Is that you playing the piano too on some of your recordings I've come across?

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-21-2014, 10:17 PM
And that's one hell of a project! I thought recording in the church was special, to record where most people don't go is crossing into concept album territory. Is there a meaning to the places other than "because it's there" and current tech allows you to do it?

It's a bit of a secret, at least for now. "Concept album" covers some of it - Canadians have always had a very special relationship to the wilderness. That's all I can tell you for now; I don't even have the idea fully fleshed out in my own head.

Northern Piper
01-21-2014, 10:22 PM
No, I have no recordings out with orchestra - the closest is the 'Serinette', but that's still just a 15 piece chamber ensemble.

I think, though, that I've been broadcast on CBC a few times since I signed up here; I think I may have posted a thread with the link to the broadcast before.

I'm glad Messiah grabbed your interest - I'd love to do more of them!

I can proudly say that I have heard Le Ministre de l'au-delà in Messiah not once, but twice!

(as recounted in this thread: 48 Below this Morning! (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=593954), beginning at post # 7)

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-21-2014, 10:32 PM
Is that you playing the piano too on some of your recordings I've come across?

No, I'm happy to say there are no recordings of my piano playing - I do have a lovely grand piano in the new house, but my playing is still rudimentary. I have a friend who is a vocal coach who rents my 2nd floor studio for five hours a day; it helps with the bills.

You raise a good point, though - Liz Upchurch and William Aide are credited on my music.CBC.ca page, but I need to get their names somewhere on my website! (Adding that to the 'fix list'.)

Cat Whisperer
01-21-2014, 10:34 PM
You do indeed have a marvellous voice! The guitar playing ain't too shabby, either. :)

Northern Piper
01-28-2014, 09:48 PM
Sitting here, surfing the Dope, and listening to a most excellent Doper singing! My copy of the CD arrived today. I waited until Mrs Piper took the Cub up to go to bed, so I could savour it. Lovely singing, playing, and poetry for a quiet late night.

Thanks so much, Le Ministre de l'au-delà, for the music and for the lovely note which accompanied it. :)

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-30-2014, 03:22 PM
Hi, everyone. I've obtained the permission of The Mods to do a CD Giveaway Contest. Here's how it will work -

I will give away one (1) copy of my CD Guitarias to the first person who can guess the name of the dog on the front cover of the CD sleeve and booklet (PDF of the booklet can be seen here at this link (dougmacnaughton.com/guitarias-nopoetry.pdf).)

Please, only one guess per post.

Enter as often as you wish, at least until the one copy of the CD is given away.

The winner will then send me a PM with their preferred mailing address - it doesn't have to be your home address, work would be fine, whatever. Anywhere where you can get the disc. (Not everyone wants an internet weirdo like me knowing his or her address - I get it.)

'First' will be determined by the order of the unedited posts! (No editing, in other words!)

Offer valid until somebody wins.

and... Go!!

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-30-2014, 03:26 PM
Sitting here, surfing the Dope, and listening to a most excellent Doper singing! My copy of the CD arrived today. I waited until Mrs Piper took the Cub up to go to bed, so I could savour it. Lovely singing, playing, and poetry for a quiet late night.

Thanks so much, Le Ministre de l'au-delà, for the music and for the lovely note which accompanied it. :)

Many thanks for your kind words; I appreciate that very much.

And I'm sorry I couldn't get the contest together in time for you to possibly win. I'm hoping you'll give it a go anyway - maybe you could win a copy and give it to a friend. (Or an arch-nemesis... :) )

WordMan
01-30-2014, 03:34 PM
Hi, everyone. I've obtained the permission of The Mods to do a CD Giveaway Contest. Here's how it will work -

I will give away one (1) copy of my CD Guitarias to the first person who can guess the name of the dog on the front cover of the CD sleeve and booklet (PDF of the booklet can be seen here at this link (dougmacnaughton.com/guitarias-nopoetry.pdf).)

Please, only one guess per post.

Enter as often as you wish, at least until the one copy of the CD is given away.

The winner will then send me a PM with their preferred mailing address - it doesn't have to be your home address, work would be fine, whatever. Anywhere where you can get the disc. (Not everyone wants an internet weirdo like me knowing his or her address - I get it.)

'First' will be determined by the order of the unedited posts! (No editing, in other words!)

Offer valid until somebody wins.

and... Go!!

Thinking about you, guitars, Canadian guitarists you love - I will guess that the dog's name is Lenny Breaux.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-30-2014, 04:13 PM
Thinking about you, guitars, Canadian guitarists you love - I will guess that the dog's name is Lenny Breaux.

An excellent guess, but sadly not correct!

squeegee
01-30-2014, 05:51 PM
Fidèle Ami?

Fideaux?

PS: Just ordered the CD, so I guess it's moot.

Kimstu
01-30-2014, 06:00 PM
I'm guessing Clement, but it's a very long shot so I'm buying a copy anyway. Excited to hear this!

Cat Whisperer
01-30-2014, 06:01 PM
Cinnamon?

Leaffan
01-30-2014, 06:06 PM
Benji.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-30-2014, 07:49 PM
Fidèle Ami?

Fideaux?

PS: Just ordered the CD, so I guess it's moot.

I'm guessing Clement, but it's a very long shot so I'm buying a copy anyway. Excited to hear this!

Cinnamon?

Great dog names, all of them; but sadly, none of them are correct.

Benji.

Bingo! No, I mean, you're right - Benji! Send me a PM when you have a moment, and I'll get your copy in the mail as soon as I can! Yes, I'll even cover the postage (said one Scotsman to another!)

Leaffan
01-30-2014, 08:04 PM
Great dog names, all of them; but sadly, none of them are correct.



Bingo! No, I mean, you're right - Benji! Send me a PM when you have a moment, and I'll get your copy in the mail as soon as I can! Yes, I'll even cover the postage (said one Scotsman to another!)
As one Scotsman to another, and one Doug to another Doug, it was incredibly easy to find your dog's name on a quick Google search of the Straight Dope Message Board. I feel like I cheated and am not worthy of a free gift of your CD.

I'd like to support you, instead of getting a freebee, but times are rough right now financially, due to marital issues. But hey, I guess there was no rule against Googling.

What do you think?

What do other Canadopers think?

EmilyG
01-30-2014, 08:07 PM
I'm too late for the contest, but I'd love to hear the CD.

Leaffan
01-30-2014, 08:13 PM
I'm too late for the contest, but I'd love to hear the CD.
Doug: Please ship the CD to Emily. As she is also involved in the music business, I would like her to have the copy. It's not that I wouldn't appreciate it, but Emily would appreciate it more.

Is this possible? And would you be offended?


Your other brother Doug

EmilyG
01-30-2014, 08:42 PM
Aw, thanks, Leaffan. :D

Spoons
01-30-2014, 08:57 PM
Congratulations, Leaffan! And enjoy the CD, Emily!

Looks like I'll have to get mine the old fashioned way. But I'll hold off ordering it for a while--there's a chance I may be in Toronto within the next few months; and if that's the case, I hope to be able to buy one from Le Ministre directly.

I do like that the SDMB is thanked in the Acknowledgements!

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-30-2014, 09:14 PM
As one Scotsman to another, and one Doug to another Doug, it was incredibly easy to find your dog's name on a quick Google search of the Straight Dope Message Board. I feel like I cheated and am not worthy of a free gift of your CD.

I'd like to support you, instead of getting a freebee, but times are rough right now financially, due to marital issues. But hey, I guess there was no rule against Googling.

What do you think?

What do other Canadopers think?

Given a choice between supporting cleverness and supporting dumb luck, I'll go for the cleverness any day. No, there was no rule against googling or otherwise searching the SDMB, and while I'm fairly circumspect about not mentioning the real life names of my human family, I was fairly sure I'd mentioned His Hirsute Majesty by name a few times in the Canadope Cafe, and in the thread where I talked about us getting a puppy back in 2010.

Fair Dinkum, as the Aussies would say.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-30-2014, 09:16 PM
Doug: Please ship the CD to Emily. As she is also involved in the music business, I would like her to have the copy. It's not that I wouldn't appreciate it, but Emily would appreciate it more.

Is this possible? And would you be offended?


Your other brother Doug

Aw, thanks, Leaffan. :D

Very good; it shall be so. EmilyG - if you'd be so kind as to PM an appropriate mailing address, I'll send that off right away. Leaffan, you're a kind soul.

Cat Whisperer
01-30-2014, 09:29 PM
I'm just jealous I didn't think of Googling. :)

WordMan
02-01-2014, 08:07 AM
Okay - finally ordered. I look forward to revisiting this thread when it arrives.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
02-09-2014, 05:05 PM
The first of the reviews is in, and it's good! From Brian Hay's "No Rules, No Lights" blog - 'Guitarias': Everything a Recording Should Be
Doug MacNaughton; Baritone and Guitar
(http://norules-nolights.com/guitarias.html)
The thing that's immediately striking about this disc is the quality of the recording itself. It literally stood me up straight as I walked away from the stereo. But more on that and its importance later …

'Guitarias', Doug MacNaughton's collection of arias for voice and guitar (hence the title) has an ethereal quality that haunts the listener from the opening notes of Samuel Beckett's 'Roundelay' through to the passages of Frances Quarles' 'Close Thine Eyes' that close the set. His voice is like polished silver, smooth and filled with deeply reflective qualities, but with just enough softening in those areas to make it shimmer with ethereal transparency. Beautifully nuanced shadings coupled with impeccable diction create an otherworldliness that allows listeners' imaginations to complete the interpretation he initiates. His guitar playing is sure-handed, deft and fluid with great attention given to phrasing and shaping of both passages and individual notes. Combined, his voice and playing form the character that gives the songs their shape.

Please forgive me blowing my own horn, but after a couple of weeks of pounding away sending PR material out in all possible directions, I'm overwhelmed with relief!

WordMan
02-12-2014, 07:06 PM
I am finally home off the road, made some dinner (leftovers into pork fried rice; some wine = happy), and listening.

My first overall impression is that I am surprised you ever took up an instrument. Your voice is so truly good.

Leaffan
02-12-2014, 07:18 PM
I am finally home off the road, made some dinner (leftovers into pork fried rice; some wine = happy), and listening.

My first overall impression is that I am surprised you ever took up an instrument. Your voice is so truly good.
Yes. To be honest, the CD is fabulous, but it's not my favourite genre of music.

But I would love to hear Le Ministre cover some Greg Lake tunes: Take a Pebble, and C'est la Vie for example. That would be awesome!

ETA: Ooo, Lucky Man too.

Cat Whisperer
02-12-2014, 09:46 PM
The thing that's immediately striking about this disc is the quality of the recording itself. It literally stood me up straight as I walked away from the stereo. But more on that and its importance later …

'Guitarias', Doug MacNaughton's collection of arias for voice and guitar (hence the title) has an ethereal quality that haunts the listener from the opening notes of Samuel Beckett's 'Roundelay' through to the passages of Frances Quarles' 'Close Thine Eyes' that close the set. His voice is like polished silver, smooth and filled with deeply reflective qualities, but with just enough softening in those areas to make it shimmer with ethereal transparency. Beautifully nuanced shadings coupled with impeccable diction create an otherworldliness that allows listeners' imaginations to complete the interpretation he initiates. His guitar playing is sure-handed, deft and fluid with great attention given to phrasing and shaping of both passages and individual notes. Combined, his voice and playing form the character that gives the songs their shape.Well, yeah, that's what I meant when I said I liked your voice. :D

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
02-13-2014, 09:18 AM
Yes. To be honest, the CD is fabulous, but it's not my favourite genre of music.

But I would love to hear Le Ministre cover some Greg Lake tunes: Take a Pebble, and C'est la Vie for example. That would be awesome!

ETA: Ooo, Lucky Man too.

This might be the time to mention that my friend Bruce and I sang "Lucky Man" and "Teach Your Children" by Crosby, Stills and Nash at our Grade 9 grad... You could throw "Epitaph" and "I Talk to the Wind" from the first King Crimson album in there, too. ELP were a huge influence on me getting into classical music - there was a two or three month period when I listened to "Brain Salad Surgery" at least once a day.

I played guitar long before I sang solo; I never got much into singing rock because so many of my friends wanted to do Yes, Rush, Led Zeppelin, April Wine, etc. I couldn't sing any of that screamy high stuff, so I was relegated to being only a guitar player. Nobody but me wanted to do any Jethro Tull or Frank Zappa, where the songs were at least in my range.



Just for curiosity, did you enjoy "Shadows", the last group of eight songs, any more than the rest of the album? I'm not fishing for compliments or anything; I'm really interested in people's reaction to the different pieces. People who are fans of classical music (and particularly contemporary classical music) have a skewed point of view, and I'm trying to put together programs that genuinely appeal to people who don't come from that background.

I like to picture it this way - a concert/recital/album is like a Venn diagram. One circle is the repertoire you want to perform, and the other circle is the repertoire your audience wants to hear (whether they've heard the piece before or not). The very best concerts are the ones with the maximum overlap between those two circles. So as I look to putting play lists together for performances and future albums, I'm trying to be aware of balancing the esoteric stuff with the more accessible stuff.

WordMan
02-13-2014, 10:42 AM
Le Ministre - I read the notes and bio this morning and picked up that you started guitar well before you started singing in a formal way. Fascinating.

While I was listening last night, my kids in the other room said "Dad - you're listening to opera?" It's true, I don't have opera/operatic singing on my normal rotation.

I think that is part of the input back to you - because the music is not based on modern forms, it doesn't have the same kind of groove - I would argue that "groove" for this genre is a completely different dimension vs. more rhythmically-grooved genres. You are inhabiting a character and emoting their thoughts with a lyrical musical accompaniment. It is a bit of an insight to realize how different that is vs. rock, blues, most jazz, etc.

So - I have been approaching listening with that in mind and find it beautiful. I hope I am expressing myself in a way that makes sense and is helpful. I love your singing, the guitar work, the lyrics as I follow them - all of it. For me, it is a nice exploration into a music form I have limited familiarity with.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
02-14-2014, 11:17 AM
Le Ministre - I read the notes and bio this morning and picked up that you started guitar well before you started singing in a formal way. Fascinating.

While I was listening last night, my kids in the other room said "Dad - you're listening to opera?" It's true, I don't have opera/operatic singing on my normal rotation.

I think that is part of the input back to you - because the music is not based on modern forms, it doesn't have the same kind of groove - I would argue that "groove" for this genre is a completely different dimension vs. more rhythmically-grooved genres. You are inhabiting a character and emoting their thoughts with a lyrical musical accompaniment. It is a bit of an insight to realize how different that is vs. rock, blues, most jazz, etc.

So - I have been approaching listening with that in mind and find it beautiful. I hope I am expressing myself in a way that makes sense and is helpful. I love your singing, the guitar work, the lyrics as I follow them - all of it. For me, it is a nice exploration into a music form I have limited familiarity with.

"The groove is in the character", to paraphrase horrifically. I'm going to have to steal that; it's a fantastic way to describe the difference between classical singing and jazz/rock/blues without getting into blah, blah.

Because, yeah, I think you nailed it. Traditionally, art song was all about the way in which the composer illuminated the poem. The job of the singer and the accompanist was to lift that off the page, and tell the story. All they had to use was the music, and their interpretation - no costumes, props, set, lighting effects.

And that's pretty much what I'm after, and why I seek out the composers that I do. I want composers who take their inspiration from the poem. The only difference with me is that I'm playing and singing at the same time, hoping to get some sort of bard/troubadour/skald thing going...

WordMan
02-14-2014, 12:40 PM
"The groove is in the character", to paraphrase horrifically. I'm going to have to steal that; it's a fantastic way to describe the difference between classical singing and jazz/rock/blues without getting into blah, blah.

Because, yeah, I think you nailed it. Traditionally, art song was all about the way in which the composer illuminated the poem. The job of the singer and the accompanist was to lift that off the page, and tell the story. All they had to use was the music, and their interpretation - no costumes, props, set, lighting effects.

And that's pretty much what I'm after, and why I seek out the composers that I do. I want composers who take their inspiration from the poem. The only difference with me is that I'm playing and singing at the same time, hoping to get some sort of bard/troubadour/skald thing going...

Very cool - "the groove is in the character" sums it up nicely! (why is it on the Dope I spend paragraphs explaining my thinking and someone consistently comes along and summarizes it in about 10 words or less? I gotta work on that...)

It is fascinating to approach this music, stepping away from my normal definition of groove. Your voice sounds so good it gives a great way into the music. I need to find time to sit down and have the lyrics in hand - to get into the character, if you will...

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
04-05-2014, 10:32 AM
Okay, I promise - one last zombie bump. I just wanted to pass on the news that Guitarias is now available on iTunes. Follow this link (https://itunes.apple.com/bs/album/guitarias/id844542767), if you're interested.

I've sold 95 copies so far; the big catch is, I haven't sold any to anyone who is one degree of separation or further away from me... :) I'm not complaining; it just means I have loyal friends.

WordMan
04-06-2014, 03:33 PM
Okay, I promise - one last zombie bump. I just wanted to pass on the news that Guitarias is now available on iTunes. Follow this link (https://itunes.apple.com/bs/album/guitarias/id844542767), if you're interested.

I've sold 95 copies so far; the big catch is, I haven't sold any to anyone who is one degree of separation or further away from me... :) I'm not complaining; it just means I have loyal friends.

Indeed, you do! Good luck with the iTunes access!

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