Ben Wendel - The Seasons

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2018 release

The idea and goal of “The Seasons” was a simple one:  12 original pieces dedicated to 12 musicians I deeply admire, released over 12 months. Though this ended up being one of the most challenging and complex projects I’ve ever attempted, it also turned out to be one of the most rewarding.

The impetus for this work came through one of my favorite classical composers.  I fell in love with a set of twelve piano pieces written by Tchaikovsky called “The Seasons” – each piece was written for a different month in 1876 and at the time published in a music magazine.  Inspired by this idea, I decided to compose a twelve-part cycle of chamber duos dedicated to some of my favorite musicians.  Instead of a magazine, I am using the medium of video to publish the works.  

The duos are compositionally (and personally) related to the selected guests and their unique artistry.  Each musician I have chosen has had a direct influence on my playing and has been a creative inspiration. Whether it is the rhythmic nuance of a drummer or the intervallic approach of a saxophonist, I’ve sought to match the composition to the selected artist’s voice as I envision it.

Some of the pieces are direct nods to the Tchaikovsky works, be it writing in sonata form, or taking a melodic or harmonic stem and re-contextualizing it in the duo setting.  On other pieces, I’ve written contra-facts that relate to the name of the month – for example the month of April is loosely inspired by the standard “I’ll Remember April.”  Under each video you’ll find additional text that explores the specific musical inspiration I drew from each guest.

I want to express my sincere thanks to the incredible artistry and generosity of the musicians who joined me on this project, and to the beautiful video and audio work of director Alex Chaloff.  I have been overwhelmed by the generosity, musicianship and inspiration that have come from this experience.  Further thanks are due to The Jazz Gallery, who allowed me to participate in their residence program and write many of these pieces.  

Ben Wendel


SKU 18121200288
Barcode # 18121200288
Brand Motema Music

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