Since the fall of 2004, concert audiences for Organized Rhythm have been brought to their feet by a pairing of musical personalities as improbable and winning as the duo's combination of organ and percussion. Clive Driskill-Smith, turning thirty this year, is a product of Eton and Oxford whose solo performances in England and America have earned him recognition as one of his generation's star organists. Wry and reserved--until he lets loose an astonishing battery of effects at the keyboard—he's complemented in Organized Rhythm by the athletic moves of Joseph Gramley, a 6'-5" Oregon native whose own crowd-pleasing solo concerts and work with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble have made him, at 38, one of the leading multi-percussionists performing today.
For Beaming Music, the two musicians settled into St. Mary the Virgin, Pierre L. LeBrun's French Gothic church just off New York City's Times Square—close to many places (the Juilliard School, Lincoln Center, the Broadway theatres) where Gramley has played for years. But the surrounding neighborhood seemed far away from the soaring stone studio that the church became on the nights when he and his partner were recording. Before the two of them even set to work, Driskill-Smith spent more than twenty hours alone with the church's magnificent Aeolian Skinner organ, getting to know its unique properties and exceptional setting. He and Gramley would be laying down music inside an acoustical space that would leave no need to add reverb and echo at the engineer's console.
"Basically, we're reproducing a concert," says Driskill-Smith. To which his partner adds: "Clive and I have performed every piece on this CD numerous times, and we've tried to give the recording the same energy as our live performances."
A listener to the six supremely varied pieces on Beaming Music will have no trouble agreeing.
Gustav Holst (1874-19340) was an English composer who studied at the Royal College of Music in London. He was also fascinated with the solar system. That inspired him to compose a piece called "The Planets" which is a 7 movement suite for a very large symphony orchestra. This has become his most popular work. We have decieded to arrange three of the planets:
Now we also think it is very important to commission new music and that it is good for audiences to hear contempoary music and that we should be supporting our living composers. And so we decided to commission a colleague of Joe's at the University of Michigan, Stephen Eddins, to compose "PLUTO" for us. In PLUTO you will hear Joe playing a different set of instruments--hand drums for all around the world. The planet Pluto was discovered several years after Holst wrote his Planets Suite and that is why Holst did not compose PLUTO himself.
Enjoy viewing a small sample of our arrangment of "The Planets".