“…This is a wonderful recording of new, highly accessible music for horn, tuba and piano, and the musicians on the recording perform brilliantly.” -The Horn Call
Well-established horn/tuba duo Celeste and Jim Shearer of New Mexico present a tremendously enjoyable album of North American chamber music. Taking inspiration from American and Mexican folklore and folk song, various historical events, visual art works, and various North American dances, the music of composers Justin Raines, James Grant, Lon W. Chaffin and Lester Pack, complement one-another quite nicely, bringing a stylistic and conceptual coherence which unifies this album as more than a gathering of disparate works.
Standout pieces include the title track by Justin Raines and “Faraway Nearby” by Lon W. Chaffin, which is based on three paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe. However, all pieces on this album are quite melodic, draw on intense musical and technical collaboration among the performers, and are in their own way evocative of the North American landscapes, folk tales or various national, regional or ethnographic personalities. The programming of this album is truly sublime and cohesive.
The Shearers and their collaborating pianists perform with great passion, quality and intense interest in the musical whole, rather than focusing narrowly on their own individual tasks. This is supremely expressive collaborative playing by true virtuosos. Recorded in a recital hall, the only complaint this reviewer has is the ambience of the venue blurs clarity in the tuba lines in the most densely orchestrated florid passages. However, the timbres, dynamics and musical intensity and sense of “team playing,” along with the outstanding programming, all contribute to one of the most enjoyable brass-oriented chamber recordings in recent memory.
– ITEA (International Tuba Euphonium Association) Journal
New, intriguing music for horn, tuba, and piano. From Mexican-style dance to mesmerizing southwest-art-influenced, this new music is a welcome addition to the repertoire of these instruments! Celeste Shearer plays horn with the Roswell Symphony Orchestra and the Southwest Chamber Consortium. She was a member of the El Paso Symphony from 1984 to 1991 under Maestro Abraham Chavez, and she continues her association with EPSO today serving as a regular substitute. Jim Shearer is the Regents Professor of Music at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he also holds the title of Distinguished Achievement Professor. Dr. Shearer has toured the United States, Europe, South America, and the Far East as a member of the NMSU Faculty Brass Quintet, El Paso Brass, and the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and as a soloist with many other ensembles both large and small.
Celeste Shearer: horn
Jim Shearer: tuba
Darrell Fitzpartin, Dena Kay Jones, Laura Spitzer: piano
RAINES: Haunted America Suite • Vain Struggles and Lamentations • GRANT: Why/Because • PACK: Suite for horn, tuba and piano • CHAFFIN: Unfolding Motives • Faraway Nearby (based on the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe)