Monday 31 May 2021

Meant for Two: Brendan Moir, a young American pianist and composer, decides to forgo a final recital and release an album instead

Brendan Moir
Like many young music students in the present circumstances, pianist and composer Brendan Moir faced doing his final recital to a very limited audience. So, rather than create a concert that few would be allowed to see, he decided to "create something that I could continually be proud of and could share with an unlimited number of people. So I decided to make a 'professional quality' album in the span of a semester in the hopes of having its effects last much longer than its designated runtime. "

Brendan was studying at Baldwin Wallace Music Conservatory, which is part of Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio. Founded in 1845, Baldwin Wallace was one of the first colleges in the United States to admit students without regard to race or gender.

Brendan has just graduated, and he is planning on moving the UK this Autumn to take his Master's degree. In the meantime his new album, the fruits of his challenging time at college, is due for released on 20 June. Entitled Meant for Two, the album features Brendan and fellow students performing his chamber music. Why chamber music? Well, I will let Brendan take up the story.

"The reason I decided to do all chamber music for this album is mainly due to the fact that the students weren't allowed to record any large scale ensemble works, and I believed these pieces all fit the theme of Meant for Two quite well - most of them are either played by two people or meant to be experienced between two people. Thinking about it now, that would probably explain why half of them are influenced by different dance forms and why they all try to evoke a certain atmosphere and/or cultural style through the use of thick textures.

I decided to do an album because I didn't want to just have something that would specifically be segregated to the moment. However, getting the equipment/resources to accomplish this goal was quite the challenge. I had to reprogram my Chromebook to get a working Digital Audio Workstation up and running (think Garageband) and had to learn how to work this new operating system while I was also learning how to use my portable Zoom recorder as an audio interface. I had to teach myself an entirely different operating system while simultaneously learning about how microphones worked in order to get this idea off the ground, and I'm still learning the ins and outs of it!

There was also the trouble of having to continually change recording spaces because of restrictions put on me by the school - I was even booted from the school's recording studio closet! The same closet that no one but the audio engineers (such as myself) were able to access and which I had received exclusive permission from my boss to use. When everything was said and done, I had to change locations nearly 6 times, which for recording is less than ideal. Especially when I had to record almost every single track individually by myself. It was a time of questionable follow throughs.

Anyways, despite everything that happened and all of the personal hurdles that I had to jump over, I believe that I have created a worthwhile product that many others will also enjoy."

The music on the album is all Brendan's own, Dramaticum (Katherine's Piece), Prelude in G (Flug des Schwans), Pas de Deux for Solo Violoncello, Etude in E (Little Monster), Dueling Basses, La Tarjeta Postal, Tango for Violin and Cello, and Winter Blossom. Brendan describes his style as "very traditional with the incorporation of many modern techniques" and his philosophy and goal is "to create art that will make one think; to properly reflect the entirety of our human experience.". See what you think.

Brendan Moir's Meant For Two will be released on 20 June 2021, further information from Brendan's Bandcamp page.

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