Composer Nissim Schaul and baroque ensemble Flying Forms are raising funds to produce a recording project, New Music for Old Instruments.

New Music for Old Instruments: Flying Forms will record Nissim Schaul’s music for Baroque strings and keyboards.

Hello friends and music lovers!

Not many composers are writing for historical instruments these days. When they do, they tend to mix the old instruments – the harpsichords, baroque violins, viola de gambas, etc -- amongst modern orchestral instruments.

But Nissim Schaul is putting them front and center. Marc Levine and Tami Morse – together the baroque ensemble Flying Forms – have been collaborating with Nissim for a while and would now like to record the fruits of that partnership on a CD called New Music for Old Instruments. With your support, we will be able to make this important recording.

We will be recording four pieces, which among other things chart Nissim’s progress as a composer since 2006, from dense and contrapuntal to atmospheric and free.Prelude and Fantasia for harpsichord solo, is Nissim’s first work for a period instrument, and is a large fugue – but the prelude still contains the seeds of the newest piece that will be recorded. This work-in-progress for Baroque violin and live electronics is based more or less on the vast black sky in an Ansel Adams photograph, with appropriately little surface activity. The other two pieces, Four Preludes for Baroque Trio and Nuevos Misterios for amplified Baroque violin and harpsichord, represent intermediate steps along the way from the first to the latest.

For the time being, we are trying to raise the bare minimum to make the project happen this fall, which is the expense of renting a space to record and hiring a recording engineer/mixer/masterer. We will be working with Peter Nothnagle, who has a 30-year track record of producing recordings on period instruments of the highest quality. We will record in Saint Bridget’s Church, an acoustical gem near Iowa City. The exact cost will depend on how much time it takes to mix and master the recording, but because a few of the pieces involve an amplified component, the mixing could prove complicated. As a result, we are budgeting about $3000 total.

Please help us with a tax-deductible contribution to get this project up-and-running. We are, of course, applying for grants to help defray the costs; nonetheless, having a strong funding base is one of the things foundations are looking for when making their decisions, so your contribution helps us in more ways than one. If you donate at least $30, we can offer you a signed copy of the disc in appreciation; we will likely be selling the CD for around $10 (somewhat less for mp3 downloads). We have already raised $1000 from private donations; if we can raise another $2000 in contributions like yours, it will help assure that the recording will be completed under the best possible conditions.

For Marc, Tami, and Nissim, this is the right time to be producing a commercial recording: Both Flying Forms and Nissim are at that point between young artist and becoming firmly established, and having a commercial CD is essential to making that transition. The CD will also further the cause of new music for Baroque instruments. We hope you can be part of our efforts.

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