Timbrando, the Meridian Arts Ensemble’s ninth CD, will be released August 12th on Channel Classics. The appropriately titled CD (Portuguese for "making a tone" or "sounding," related to the word "timbre") is a cross cultural "travelogue" of music the group collected while on tour in Latin and South America and the U.S. Several pieces were commissioned for their visit to the 1997 Subtropics Festival in Miami, including "Timbrando" by Hermeto Pascoal, "En par de los levantes de la aurora" by Ana Lara, and "Saóko" by Tania Leon. Other pieces were "collected in foreign lands, or from friends we made in those places," states Dan Grabois. One such piece is the traditional "Caballito Nicollano," ("The Cowboy from Nicolla") that the Meridians heard performed by a group of marimba players in the central square of San Jose in Costa Rica. Newer commissioned works also include jazz drummer/percussionist/composer Dafnis Prieto’s "Echo Dimensions."
Written in 1933 "Ocho por Radio" contains all the hallmarks of Silvestre Revueltas’ compositional style: rhythmic vigor, a Stravinskian harmonic language, and a distinctly Mexican folk flavor. The title translates roughly as "Eight on Radio" and was originally written for eight players’ radio performance. Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla’s "Oblivion," that was originally written for the soundtrack of the 1984 movie Enrico IV (Henry IV), has taken on a life of its own as a popular Argentine ballad. Possibly the best known classical composer born in South America, Heitor Villa Lobos’ "Bachianas Brasileiras Nos. 1 (Prelude) and 5 (Aria)" fuse Brazilian sounds with Bach-like counterpoint.
Timbrando and the Meridian Arts Ensemble were featured on a recent edition of NPR's All Things Considered: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94199950 .
Timbrando is released in the year of the Meridian Arts Ensemble’s 20th anniversary. The group began as a traditional brass quintet winning four competitions within four years including First Prize in the 1990 Concert Artists Guild New York Competition that launched their career. Eclecticism is a key element of MAE’s performances: mixing classical and contemporary works, jazz and rock compositions, ethnic music and original works by Ensemble members. They are well known for their interpretations of rock composer Frank Zappa’s work (who personally coached them on how to play his music) as well as commissioning, collaborating or premiering works by Milton Babbitt, The Common Sense Composers’ Collective, Stephen Barber, Ira Taxin, Kirk Nurock, John Halle, among several others.