R. Carlos Nakai

Spirit Horses (Concerto for Native American Flute and Chamber Orchestra)

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Just when you think you've pigeonholed Carlos Nakai as the quintessential interpreter of traditional Native American flute music, he appears with an entirely different expression of his musical gifts. Spirit Horses may catch many of you off guard. As a collaborative exploration of contemporary music in the classical vein, it is unlike anything he has attempted before. Impressionistic and diffuse at first, it slowly begins to take shape, like physical forms emerging from gossamer veils of mist. The concerto was commissioned especially for Nakai and spotlights him in his most challenging setting to date. This recording has much to offer, from its multi-cultural rhythmic structures provided by master drummer Mark Sunkett, to the quirky avant-garde feel of Michael Hester's alto sax work. Composer/conductor James De Mars has created an unexpected and unusual blend of musical elements as a backdrop for Nakai's flute. In fact, certain passages feel like they could have been written for The Kronos Quartet.

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