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image © Christopher Tyler Nickel 2010
Catherine Redding (soprano vocals)
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image © Catherine Redding 2010
Christopher Tyler Nickel (composer)
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image © Christopher Tyler Nickel 2006
Beth Orson (English Horn)
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image © Beth Orson 2010
(14 August 2010) The eclectic interests of our readers match those of the editors in producing this article on Christopher Tyler Nickel's Rain (CTNCD-002, 2010) album for Musical Discoveries. Rain is comprised of eleven cinematically themed tracks performed by orchestra in a classical crossover style. The album is certain to appeal to motion picture soundtrack buffs, however the inclusion of stunning soprano vocals by Catherine Redding will draw further interest from female vocalist enthusiasts.
Catherine Redding. The stunning soprano holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Based in Dublin, Catherine has been featured on Lyric FM, sings frequently with the National Chamber Choir of Ireland as a chorister and soloist, and studies with Suzanne Murphy.
Catherine's previous teachers include Beatrice Unsworth, Audrey Hyland, David Meek, and Marisa Gaetanne. She has been coached in masterclass by numerous internationally esteemed artists and teachers, including Marie McLauglin, Norma Burrowes, Paul Esswood, Udo Reineman, Ugo Benelli, Stuart Hamilton, Karina Gauvin, and Suzie Le Blanc. She has studied intensively with Nancy Argenta, Ingrid Attrot and Meribeth Bunch at the Nelson Summer Songfest, Edith Wiens at the Wiener Meisterkurse, and Ellen Hargis at the Vancouver Early Music Baroque Festival. She has immersed herself in Italian language and culture at Saena Iulia, a private language school in Siena, Italy.
Catherine received numerous grants and awards from organizations such as the B.C. Arts Council, the Vancouver Foundation, the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, and the Vancouver Women’s Musical Club. She was also offered a Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan.
Christopher Tyler Nickel. An award winning Canadian composer, conductor and producer unique in today’s musical landscape, having made a name for himself as a successful writer of concert music as well as film and television music. Christopher’s unique musical voice is the combination of strikingly beautiful melodies, powerful orchestrations, and a careful fusion of different styles of music as well as acoustic and electronic instrumentation. The Province Newspaper called Christopher’s music "engaging and compelling…music that deserves a wide audience!" and Screensounds in the UK wrote, "to say that this is beautiful music would be an understatement”. A graduate of the University of British Columbia School of Music with a degree in composition, Christopher studied with renowned Canadian composer Stephen Chatman. Upon graduation, he continued his studies in both New York and Los Angeles.
Christopher is the author of numerous concert works, which have been performed by orchestras and chamber ensembles in Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 2002, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic performed his Fanfare for Freedom for an audience of 40,000. This performance was also broadcast live on the U.S. east coast for their July 4th celebrations. Another highlight was the Vancouver Symphony’s performance of that same work for an audience of 9,000 at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby. To date, Christopher’s music has been heard on the radio in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Recent premiers include his concerto for piccolo/flute/alto flute written especially for Sarah Jackson, piccolo of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This epic 45-minute concerto was premiered by the Sinfonia Orchestra of the North Shore under the baton of Clyde Mitchell. 2008 brought the premier of his work Rangimarie (Tranquility) for solo English horn and orchestra, which was premiered by the Vancouver Symphony’s English hornist, Beth Orson. His debut CD, Horizons includes contributions from Orson.
Horizons was Christopher Tyler Nickel's first album. Performed by the acclaimed City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, and featuring two breath-taking flute solos by Jack Chen, the music is immediately accessible with its beautiful melodies, dramatic sweeping themes, and powerful orchestrations. From the epic, to the quiet and sentimental, this is music that will move the listener, and take them on a musical journey.
Rain. The ten-track almost 54-minute project incorporates lovely vocal contributions from Catherine Redding (soprano), Beth Orson (English horn) and Jack Chen (flute). Synthesizers are performed by Nickel himself. The orchestra is conducted James Fitzpatrick and is comprised of the The Strings of the City of Prague Philharmonic. Further recordings by The Northwest Sinfonia are conducted by David Sabee and solo sessions were recorded in Vancouver and Dublin. The album was mixed and mastered by Perry Blackman.
Rain opens with a rich and uplifting orchestral crossover opening "Overture, "Rain," "Lacrimosa" sequence where Catherine's vocal work soars above the choir and rich crossover arrangement. These first three tracks are superbly composed, arranged and sung, however it is Catherine's soaring vocal work that will draw listeners in. The orchestra's themes work perfectly to underscore the sung parts. A long and gentle instrumental entitled "Rangimarie" (Tranquility) featuring Beth Orson's English Horn performance provides the bridge to further sung passages.
In addition to the superb opening sequence, Catherine also contributes sung parts to the individual tracks "Evening Rains," Love's Moment," "Lost In Twilight" and "Rain II" on the album. Coming out of "Rangimarie," "Evening Rains" is a melancholy tune sung, as one would expect, with Cartherine's tremendous clarity, and is backed with lush orchestra backing. The orchestral ballad "Love's Moment" is sung exquisitely atop a richer, more cinematic arrangement. Catherine's vocal control and tremendous consistency is simply astounding. "Lost In Twilight" serves as an equally lovely bookend. Classical vocalists have so much to offer listeners that take the time to appreciate them.
Listeners should delight with the brief return of the richer choir texture as "Whispers of Eternity" begins to develop orchestrally. Running over ten minutes, it clearly echoes themes of the opening sequence with Beth Orson's English Horn parts that cohesively bind the album together. The album's crescendo begins with "Rain II" that clearly echoes the opening "Rain," Catherine's vocals soaring above the deep and percussive orchestral arrangement sharply bringing he piece to an end. "Epilogue" is a lovely concluding track blending natural sounds of rain, Catherine's soaring vocals and a light piano part. The melody remains.
Chrisopher Tyler Nickel, Catherine Redding and Beth Orson have worked together to produce a fabulous classical crossover album with tracks to appeal to soundtrack lovers and female vocals enthusiasts alike.
Nickel's compositions draw interest, include gentle ballads, cinematic instrumentals and the tremendous "Rain" opening and closing sequences. Very well done indeed!