Richard Shulman's Blog

April 7, 2010

Enhanced liner notes for New Beginnings

Filed under: What's behind the Music — by richardshulman @ 3:23 am

New Beginnings

Richard Shulman – Piano & Adriana Contino – Cello

New Beginnings CD cover

New Beginnings is a delicate balance of cello and piano, inspiration and listening, and of freely flowing improvisation with exquisitely composed melodies.

To listen to the CD

Liner Notes

By Richard

I first met Adriana Contino in 1987 in New York City when I was in the process of writing a piece for cello and piano for Theatre of the Heart, a wonderful performing collective of dancers, musicians, and singers.

At the time she was a freelance cellist, playing in many local orchestras.  I was immediately struck by her fiery enthusiasm, which would become amplified as soon as she began to play.  After we performed and recorded “First Light,” we continued to get together for musical exploration sessions.

In these sessions, I learned about writing for the cello, and she was learning about improvisation. Our time together quickly ended when Adriana was hired as Principal Cellist for the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in Germany.

Two years later, Adriana called, telling me that she had been continuing to improvise,  that she was coming to visit New York for a couple days, and asked if I could  set up a recording session.  Excited, I wrote a new piece for us and arranged several others for cello and piano. Once she arrived, we scheduled a rehearsal and went into the studio the next day. In our two-hour session we recorded five improvisations, four of which appear here, and three of my own pieces.

In the New York City style of doing our best every time, magic happened in the music as we explored the delicate balance of following the inspiration while listening to each other at the same time.  And moment by moment we discovered our New Beginnings.

To listen to the CD

Tracks with descriptions

New Beginnings 4:28

A bright melody of discovery –  Shulman

Gustav’s Lullabye 3:27

An improvisation became a beautiful lullabye. – Contino/Shulman

American Native Prayer  3:31

An improvisation honoring North America’s Native people and the necessity of our reconnection to Mother Earth and All that Is. – Contino/Shulman

Mom 5:59

A song of forgiveness and understanding – A remembrance that when I take responsibility for my own consciousness, the door of Love opens within me. – Shulman

Improv. 1   11:53

An exploration…  – Contino/Shulman

Song For Smitty 9:38

A tribute to a beautiful friend – an improvisation on a theme by Adriana. She talks about Smitty: “James Smith was a street person. He raised the spiritual level of the upper West Side of Manhattan. Known as ‘Smitty’ to all those he shared his beautiful life attitude with – he stood, propped on his crutches, in all weather and all seasons. His life contribution continues to shine through all those who he deeply touched.” – Contino

Friendship Renewed 1:56

And happily so – Shulman

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To purchase the CD as a digital download

To purchase the CD

Recorded 9/1/89 at Manhattan Recording Company, NYC, A.T. Michael MacDonald, Engineer.

Mastered 4/21 & 22/03 at Soundsmiths Mastering, Stephen Smith, Engineer.

© p 2003 RichHeart Music, BMI and Continuo Music.

RichHeart Music

PO Box 6731 Scarborough, ME 04070-6731

888-699-3682, 828-658-9604



Cover Photo of the Smoky Mountains

by Janet Finnegan

© The Creative Source

Design – Bonnie L. Down, Bonnie Designs

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To listen to the CD

Additional resources:

There is another recording of “Mom” with the Richard Shulman Group (Alto sax, piano, bass & drums) on the CD “Open Spaces.” There is also sheet music available on the RichHeart Music web site and by calling 888-699-3682 for “Mom” written for cello & piano, for jazz group, and an orchestral version written for jazz quartet with orchestra.

There is also sheet music for a longer version of “Friendship Renewed” arranged for violin & piano, as well as a chamber group version.

The lead sheet for New Beginnings is also available here.

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