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Music From A Farther Room by Lucia Micarelli

Even at the age of 21, Lucia Micarelli has been playing violin for almost 18 years, and her means of expressing herself on the instrument is as integrated with her personality as is her speaking voice. The voice of Micarelli’s violin is the one that most audiences have heard as she toured within the past year with John Groban, producer of Music From A Farther Room, Micarelli’s first CD as a leader. Before her association with Groban, Micarelli toured with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, becoming well known through those concerts as well. Now, Micarelli has released her own CD, one that combines her classical violin training with her lifelong absorption of influences ranging from Ravel to Queen to Astor Piazzolla to David Bowie to Sibelius. That omnivorous curiosity of disparate musical styles is evident on her CD, even as the vibrancy of her violin remains the constant element connecting all of the 12 tracks of Music From A Farther Room.

Micarelli beings the CD with "Samarkand," recruiting tabla player Samir Chatterjee and raga singer Lisbeth Scott to add location-specific atmosphere behind Micarelli’s evocation of the crossroads city of trade, now in Uzbekistan, where Western traders brought European goods to the East and Eastern natural resources and wares back to the West, thereby implying the musical synthesis of cultures. However, a more appropriate lead-in to the CD would have been "Aurora," excerpted from Sibelius’s "Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47," which Micarelli plays solo with virtuosic technique and thrilling upsweeps of intensity. But then while "Aurora" isn’t representative of all of the tracks that follow, neither is "Samarkand." Both are separate scenes from the same mural that Micarelli creates throughout the course of Music From A Farther Room, neither of which truly involves improvisational music, or jazz, rather than notated music that Micarelli plays with personal conviction. As Duke Ellington famously is quoted to have said, though, "There are two kinds of music: good music and bad music." Micarelli’s CD would fit into his definition of good music, no doubt.

The closest that Micarelli comes to a jazz standard is "My Funny Valentine," performed with heartfelt urgency with pianist Lee Musiker. In fact, when Micarelli isn’t performing classical repertoire, though briefly on the CD, or conductor Paul Schwartz’s compositions written specifically for the occasion, she mostly adapts pop music to the resonant appeal of violin. David Bowie’s "Lady Grinning Soul," although starting modestly with a piano solo, builds to a full-orchestra backup over an electronic rhythm section. Then, Schwartz’s "Nocturne" evolves into Freddie Mercury’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" before closing with the final strains of "Nocturne".

In between the orchestrally arranged tracks, Micarelli records in a quieter way when pianist Lang Lang joins her in a duo recitation of "Meditation From ‘Thais’." On "Reflexio (From Cavalia)," Micarelli without a flourish engages in dialogue with flute over the bass drone before the full orchestra comes in to fulfill the composition’s rich harmonic potential.

Lucia Micarelli fully realizes the violin’s unique centuries-old potential for affecting human emotions, and she must have been gratified to record Music From A Farther Room with a rare Hannibal Fagnola Turin violin, her debut CD becoming even more of a special occasion due to its availability. Audiences have thrilled to Micarelli’s work as Groban’s solo violinist, as she dramatically let the audience in on her passion for the music as she strolled barefoot across the stage. Music From A Farther Room now affords an opportunity to enjoy her work as a leader, rather than as a supporting musician, in the very early stages of her career before she becomes as well known as some of the famous musicians who have mentored her.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lucia Micarelli
  • CD Title: Music From A Farther Room
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: 143 Records/Reprise
  • Tracks: Samarkand, Oblivion, Meditation From “Thais”, Portrait, To Love You More, Reflexio (From Cavalia), Aurora, Lady Grinning Soul, Ravel String Quartet in F Major: Assez Vif-Tres Rythme, She Is Like The Swallow, My Funny Valentine, Nocturne/Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Rating: Four Stars
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