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Electric Ensembles

by Paul V. Miller

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about

This album highlights my work from August 2020 to February 2021. After recording the Six Bach Suites for Violoncello Solo, I decided to experiment with ever more complex multitracking techniques and video synchronization.

The chorale "Verleih uns Frieden" ("Grant us Peace") comes at the end of Cantata No. 42, "Am Abend aber desselbiger Sabbats". Bach composed this piece in Leipzig for the first Sunday after Easter (Quasimodogeniti). The text and music express my hope that the future will be a better place for us and our children.

Known as a pedagogue and composer, Michel Corrette (1707 -- 1795) wrote six wonderful Christmas Symphonies. The second one is appealing for its characterful middle movement, a "Noël polonais". My family can trace its ancestry partly back to Poland, so this piece occupies a special place in my imagination.

The recording of J. S. Bach's six-part Ricercar from the Musical Offering is dedicated to Jerome Kohl, who passed away far too soon in August 2020. Jerry was a world-renowned scholar of Stockhausen and served as an advisor to my Ph.D. dissertation. His wit, good humor and encyclopedic knowledge will be tremendously missed.

Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 is a well-known piece that has delighted generations of musicians. However, there are only two chords written between the two movements. This invites one to consider several creative possibilities. I insert the third movement from Bach's trio sonata BWV 1039 as a link. The movement has the correct harmonic plan, and is rhapsodic enough to create an appealing contrast.

Most likely, Telemann’s mid-twentieth century editor, Wilhelm Friedrich, wrote the “Spirituoso”. It felt strangely appropriate to record this piece, because some might say that the electric violin itself is a 20th-century version of an earlier instrument. For me, the electric violin is an wonderful new development. Playing on it constantly inspires me to find ways of looking back at the past and forward into the future, with fresh eyes and ears.

I played all the parts on this album, and then edited and mastered the tracks in Ableton Live. The violin is a beautiful 2016 Zeta Jazz Fusion five-string, constructed by Steve Carlson in Bozeman, Montana. The organ is derived from Ableton’s Analog instrument, whereas the harpsichord is Puremagnetik’s Harpsikord pack, sampled by Brian Cass. Transposition was accomplished with a Roland GR-55 synthesizer. The birdsong before and after the Bach chorale is from my backyard in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

All profits from the sales of this work go to local Pittsburgh musicians.

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released February 12, 2021

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Paul V. Miller Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Paul V. Miller is a performer, music theorist and musicologist. He has held principal positions in numerous historical instrument ensembles and is also active in the electronic music community. Miller seeks to unite old and new in innovative and unusual ways.

Miller holds degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music and Vassar College.
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