I'm so excited for all of these upcoming events. As the "host" and "preconcert lecturer" I thought I'd share some insight to how I prepare for these things.
There are some things that I don't have to do, which one might start their prep work - and that's to get to know the ensemble and composer. Luckily I've heard the Cypress play quite a bit, both live and recordings. This is a major help, to sort of gauge their style and approach. If you don't know them or haven't heard them, that's okay, but I can really recommend that you pick up a recording of theirs if you come to the concert, or have been debating buying one of their cds off of the site or your local music store. One of my all time favorites is the Jennifer Higdon quartet called Impressions. I never get tired of hearing it!
They also have several other recordings which you would like, say Suk or Haydn? But again, you don't have to be an expert to come and enjoy Call and Response 2009...
As for the second part, I would normally go and find recordings/examples of the composer's music - but again, I really enjoy Kevin's music and have been listening to his stuff since 2004, so again, I sort of have his "style" in my ear.
I did ask for a reference copy of the score and recording of Lento Assai, so that I could delve deeper into the music before these concerts, and maybe ask something of Kevin or the quartet that might help you dear listener.
This I will enjoy this weekend, when I have some absolute quiet time and can just concentrate on the music. I will listen to the piece first, and then listen again with the score. I'll then make some notes and let it sit with me for a bit.
Next up is another listen and more questions, maybe an email or two to them about the piece, and we'll go from there.
There's lots of steps to go through, but these are the first basic ones...what would you do?
John Clare, classical broadcaster