Andra Bohnet - flutes, percussion Tom Morley - violin Jonathan Clark - viola, guitar, Coral sitar Barbara Gabriel - cello The Classic Rock Album by the Silverwood Quartet: Behind the Music One of the missions of the Silverwood Quartet has always been to expand the chamber music idiom to encompass a variety of other musical styles. We have performed and recorded a few rock tunes before, but this project has been different in it's scope in that we not only wanted to play the tunes, but to really capture the 'essence' of what makes them tick in their original versions. Whenever we get a new arrangement in any style, even ones we write for ourselves, we constantly tweak things as we rehearse. In the case of the tunes on this CD, we all sat together with the arrangements and listened to the recordings by the original bands. Then we collectively figured out how to get more of the unique elements of the original version into our various parts. Sometimes, we abandoned the chart entirely, playing and creating on the fly. This product is a result of the four of us working together and coming up with creative ideas on how to make four acoustic musicians sound like our favorite rock bands. We hope you think it worked as well as we do. Rock on! ANDRA : I think as we grow up, the music we listen to becomes intertwined with who we become; it can define special moments of our lives and become intimately associated with people, places, and events. The stuff the next generation listens to is 'their' music, not 'our' music. As many from Plato to the present have remarked, the music of the younger generation just 'isn't what it was in my day. ' So as a kid in the 60s & early 70s, I experienced the fringes of Beatlemania and listened to AM radio waiting for my favorite songs to come on. I started playing the flute in 5th grade and was thrilled when I would hear a bit of flute in one of these tunes on the radio. I'd play along with the solos on California Dreamin', Nights in White Satin, and Colour My World, although even then, I think I knew the flute playing in those songs was not so great! But my world was totally rocked when I first heard Jethro Tull, a band where the flute was an integral part of the texture. The sounds that flutist Ian Anderson got were so different from those that my band director wanted to hear! I couldn't play along, because the stuff was too complex to pick up with my inexperienced ears and chops, so I became a fan. Now, several years, thousands of practice hours, and three music degrees later, I still can't play just like Ian, but I'm a lot closer! I love this music. It's totally fun and it's the stuff that has accompanied my life outside of my profession as a 'real musician.' This project has been such a blast because deep down I always wanted to be a rock star and this has been my chance to do it! TOM : As a child, I loved playing the violin, but it wasn't always the coolest thing to be doing, so when I first heard a string quartet on a song like Yesterday or the string orchestra on Eleanor Rigby, it did a lot for my musical self-esteem. There were people playing my instrument along with the Beatles and the music was coming out of my little AM radio. Prior to that, there had always been two kinds of music - what I played in orchestra and what I listened to on the radio. It was an enlightening moment when I learned the two could meet. That realization kept me going through the times that I might otherwise have put the violin away. I can remember buying the sheet music and getting together with several of my orchestra mates to try to work out an arrangement of Ye's t e r d a yand being so pleased that we could come up with something that, at least to us at the time, sounded something like the original. Later when I heard music by groups like Electric Light Orchestra and Yes, I realized that their music was as complex as anything a symphonic composer could imagine. The first electric violin I heard, played by Jerry Goodman with The Flock (and later with Mahavishnu Orchestra), inspired me to new heights and led me to realize that my instrument could be part of almost any genre of music. To d a y, when people ask me what type of music I most enjoy, I honestly say that it's whatever I'm playing at the time, be it classical, Celtic, jazz ... or classic rock as we distill it through the Silverwood Quartet. We've always performed rock tunes, but it's been so much fun recording these songs, listening so carefully to every vocal, every famous guitar lick and channeling that music through our acoustic instruments. JONATHAN : Some of my earliest memories are of sitting with my mother, watching my father play rock music at clubs. We always had Led Zeppelin or some other classic rock music playing in the house or the car. When I hit middle school I began to play the guitars we had lying around the house, learning tunes like Stairway to Heaven or Roundabout. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be using that experience for music on a Silverwood CD. This CD is the culmination of all my hours in a club playing rock n' roll and all the hours I spent practicing my violin and viola. I always knew that classical music could be more than just the old 'masters.' I really enjoyed listening to Yes as a kid because they brought a very classical feel to rock music. The melodies were always changing and the chord progressions were very intricate for rock. When I was in 8th grade, my mother came home one Saturday morning and told me she had tickets for us all to go see Yes in concert. I never looked at rock music the same after that concert. They destroyed every boundary I had in my mind about rock music. They did not limit themselves to people's expectations of rock. That is what impressed me and is what I love about Silverwood. We are not afraid to tackle anything that is put in front of us. If it doesn't work, we make it work. If it can't be done, we figure out how to do it. If it's hard, we work harder. We have each studied the music for this CD for at least 20 years, and it shows in the nuances and rock subtleties on this CD. I can't wait to do the next one. BARB : As a cellist, when I listen to a rock song my attention usually gravitates towards a really great bass line. To me the greatest 'Mother of all Bass Lines' is in Roundabout, by the group Yes. Whenever I play that line, the cello becomes a bass guitar and I become Chris Squire. Any technical forethought on the mechanics of the cello are left in the dust and the part comes out 'feeling' the way I like to hear it done on the bass guitar. I feel that the true art form of this CD is in the amazingly accurate translating of the rock tune details into our unique quartet format. We were so very thorough as to capture every rhythmic, harmonic, dynamic, and vocal characteristic that we possibly could. Most of our long hours were spent listening to the original tunes and meticulously editing and re-editing what we had down on paper. We knew when we got it right because it was like an instantaneous 'Eureka' effect for all four of us. Our joyous laughter showed that we all felt the same thing. We hope our listening audience will enjoy the same reverence and excitement that we experienced in the making of this CD.