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Michael Perlowin  

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"Firebird Suite"

This astonishing work turned the steel guitar community on its ear when it was released in 1997. It features early 20th century classical works with a U-12 pedal steel playing most of the parts. I'm familiar with the orchestral works that Mike has presented here, but I never expected to hear them on the steel guitar. Neither did the composers, I imagine! This is one of my all-time favorite CDs. 

  1. Fanfare for the Common Man (Copland)
  2. Prelude No. 2 (Gershwin)
  3. New Year's Song No. 4 (Bartòk)
  4. Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (Debussy)
  5. Le Petit Nègre (Debussy)
  6. Gymnopèdies No. 1 (Satie)
  7. Polka (Shostakovich)
  8. The Maid with the Flaxen Hair (Debussy)
  9. Firebird Suite (Stravinsky)
  10. Good-bye Pork Pie Hat (Mingus)

Item #CD-MP02

"West Side Story"

What Mike did is absolutely brilliant. He has explored the instrument we know and love with all its possible textures, and woven it together into a cohesive whole. And when I listen to it, I’m not thinking, “Gad! It’s West Side Story being played on steel.” I simply play it a lot because I enjoy listening to it. 

-Winnie Winston
  1. Prologue pt. 1/Jet Song/Prologue pt. 2
  2. Somewhere
  3. Something's Coming
  4. Blues
  5. Tonight Tonight
  6. The Dance at the Gym:
    I: Scherzo
  7. II: Mambo
  8. III: Cha Cha
  9. IV: Jump
  10. Maria
  11. Officer Krupke
  12. America
  13. One Hand One Heart
  14. The Jets Are Gonna Have Their Way Tonight
  15. I Feel Pretty
  16. Cool
  17. The Rumble
  18. A Boy Like That
  19. I Have A Love / Finale

Item #CD-MP03

"Spanish Steel"

The CD contains 5 pieces. It starts off with Manuel de Falla's "El Amor Brujo" ballet suite. this 22 minute suite consists of 11 short pieces, and while collectively they form one piece of music, some of them, the part knows as the Ritual Fire Dance in particular, are often played by themselves without the rest of the suite. (Note I called all the segments by their Spanish names.)

The 2nd piece is named "Asturias" but is also sometimes called "Leyenda." I don't know why. This piece by Isaac Albéniz has become a staple of the classical guitar repetoire. Rock and roll fans will recognize it as the opening theme from the song "Spanish Caravan" by the Doors.

Because the guitar is so important in Spanish music, the next piece gives the guitar and steel equal prominence. This is the 3rd movement of Joaquin Rodrtigo's "Conceirto (yes that is the correct spelling) Andeluz for four guitars. I played the guitar parts on guitars, as written, and used the steel to cover the brass and woodwind parts. Every time the guitars play a theme, the steels repeat it.

Rodrigo's hauntingly beautiful Conceirto de Aranjuez is so popular, that it has overshadowed his other compositions. This is one of his least known works. It is also in my opinion, one of his best.

The next piece is from Peru rather than Spain, but I learned it from a Sabicas record, so I guess I get a pass on that. it's called "Fantasia Inca" and was written by a man named J.M. Oyanguren. For some reason, all of Oyanguren's music seems to have disappeared. Normally I use a combination of sheet music and my imagination to come up with my arrangements, This time I was unable to find not just the music to this piece, but of any of Oyanguren's works. Moreover, I had some friends search the nations college and university music libraries nationwide, and nobody found even a single example of his music. This is the first time I ever recorded a pice of music with no written guide whatsoever. BTW this track is just steel and percussion. There are multiple steel tracks, but no guitar or bass.

Finally, the 15 minute "Capriccio Espagnol" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. This was a mammoth production requiring 109 tracks at one point.

I think this is the happiest, most joyful piece of music I have ever heard. It just makes me smile every time I hear it.

Everybody who has heard this CD says it's the best thing I've ever done. I'm too close to it to know whether or not that's true. I can say that it is the biggest production I've ever attempted, and that I'm pleased with the results.

Making this album took a tremendous amount of work, I hope it was worth the effort.

-Mike Perlowin

  1. El Amor Brujo (de Falla)
  2. Asturias (Albeniz)
  3. Concierto Andeluz for 4 Guitars (Rodrigo)
  4. Fantasia Inca (Oyanguren)
  5. Capriccio Espagnol (Rimsky-Korsakov)  

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