Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

Working with Vibraphonist Paweł Nowicki – Composer’s Perspective

VibraphoneA few notes from the recent recording session of my new album Glossolalia. Today I share about working with the vibraphonist – Paweł Nowicki.

Paweł made a guest appearance on the album as a soloist on “First In Flight”, my composition for vibraphone and string quartet. Our primary challenge in interpreting the piece was the proper balance between the vibes and strings. We rehearsed the music in a small but lively room where the vibraphone overwhelmed the quartet, but everything changed once we entered the recording studio where the sound was more focused. We tried three different sets of sticks: hard, soft, and medium, and ended up choosing the hard set. They carried a unique brilliance and definition and provided a nice contrast against the strings. Poweł’s performance of my music was very lively and colorful. He possessed a unique touch by which his arpeggiated passages sounded like pearls bouncing off marble floor, whimsical and even, but never mechanical.

A laureate of international competitions of contemporary music (Gaudeamus, Clarment-Ferrand, Warsaw Autumn, Radio Festival WDR, Unsound Festival in New York, and others), Paweł has been focusing on contemporary classical music, pop, and rock, as a soloist and chamber player. He was a great fit for “First In Flight” as this piece is a mixture of the classical and pop worlds requiring much virtuosity and imagination.

Fun fact about Paweł: He carried his sticks and supplies in an old beat-up (what to me looked like) communist-era suitcase that made me think about Mary Poppins (in the photo background).

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