11 Songs, 1 Hour 12 Minutes


Apple Digital Master


Mastered for iTunes

Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

GoPackChzHead ,

Cool pairing!

Great to see a label combining old masters with living composers, especially African America greats like Wynton Marsalis. I got a free download from Marsalis from KDFC. The Dvorak download that you get now is wildly great. Afinat Records seems to produce albums with electricity, the sound is alive. Also bought Jameson Cooper's Prokofiev, and learned he is the first violinist in this quartet. Lucky quartet. Can't wait to get the rest of the tracks.

MZMChi ,

Great program and terrific performances

The physical CD of this album was pre-released in April at IU South Bend, where the quartet teaches, and they're raising funds for music scholarships. I got the CD at the university bookstore, so I've heard the whole album. While I like him, Dvorak's "American" has never been a favorite piece. After hearing this version, it has come to life and I'm hooked. Their beautiful Lento brings me to tears. The finale is amazingly fast and fresh every time I heard it, it sounds like the soundtrack to a horse race.

The Marsalis piece must be a feat of endurance for the players, at 40 minutes for all 7 parts. Every technique that is possible on strings is put to great use by the composer, especially in the peak of the piece, which for me is runaway train sounds in Hellbound Highball. For classical music, Hellbound Highball just rocks. Marsalis doesn't hold back in any of the tunes - excuse me, "movements."

In "At the Octoroon Balls" (described in the notes as racist expoitations of mixed-race women by wealthy white men in late 19th century New Orleans - not too far from modern-day Bourbon Street, to be honest), the piece opens with a 10-minute fiddle 'shredding' solo, Come Long Fiddler, played by the 1st violinist, Jameson Cooper. He cuts loose on the piece and lets the music be a little "dirty." The composer and player throw some serious punches at the best Mark O'Connor fiddle caprices. Mating Calls and Delta Rhythms opens with a sexy sigh that takes you immediately into the center of old New Orleans, perhaps the ball has been announced. The women are sighing in Mating Calls, hopeful to live free and raise their children under the care of a white sugar-daddy. The men might be... practicing their dancing in the Delta Rhythm section so they can impress the most beautiful octoroon women and woo them as mistresses.

Creole Contradanzas is the dance itself, the idea of the illicit "Octoroon Ball" is most vividly painted. French elegance meets the more crude Creold culture. Blue Lights on the Bayou is a brief, suspenseful, hushed lament that reminds one of more avant garde Miles Davis. But then Marsalis lets the sun shine again in the proud fiinale: Rampart St. Row House Rag.

The Euclid performance is jazzy and vivid, they treat the jazz infusion in the score with respect and don't force classical styling where it doesn't belong. They bring elegant classical style where it belongs, in the Dvorak. These two pieces together make a fascinating program spanning a century of American music, and the Euclid Quartet sound is cohesive and warm throughout.