PORTLAND, OR - The newest release by the Portland Cello Project was mastered at Treelady Studios by Garrett Haines. Entitled "Winter (The Best Nine Months of the Year)" the CD covers seven cold-weather themed selections. With re-imagined pieces by composers as diverse as Benjamin Britten and The Fleet Foxes, Portland Cello Project present a winter-themed EP just in time for the holiday season. The perfect foil to crowded malls and sweaters that still smell like mothballs, this is an EP that, while perfect for the season, is also a completely refreshing break from it.
Track Listing: 1. White Winter Hymnal, by Robin Pecknold of the Fleet Foxes 2. Balulalow, from Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols 3. In Freezing Winter's Night, from Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols 4. This Little Babe, from Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols 5. Carol of the Bells, by Mykola Leontovych 6. Riu Chiu 7. Shalom Chaverim
This is a personal record for Portland Cello Project. The special guests are classical friends and studio musicians in Portland. Nancy Ives (Principal Cellist of the Oregon Symphony) has a prominent (and yet democratic) voice on this EP. John Whaley, who plays trumpet on just about every record coming out of Portland lately, lends his signature tone to a couple of pieces, including that stirring melody on Benjamin Britten's "Balulalow."
This is a well-researched collection of music on many levels. On a scholarly level, the selections offer mesmerizing perspectives on the season, from renaissance carols, like "Riu Riu Chiu," to a solemn and captivating arrangement of "Shalom Chaverim" that you might hear sung by children at a Hanukkah celebration.
On a primal, human level, the Oregonians of the Cello Project have had many sustained opportunities to research cold and wet winters. Portland winters are long. Cold weather and rain often last until the Fourth of July. Once the leaves are gone from the trees, the long season begins, and you can hear in the performance of songs like fellow Northwesterner, Robin Pecknold's "White Winter Hymnal" reflections of Pendleton Blanket nights. You can hear how well-absorbed that music has become in their classical cello veins, after so many rainy December drives to the coast with the Fleet Foxes on infinite repeat.
Purchase a copy of WINTER here.