Nathan Kelly’s music reflects an eclectic mix of musical cultures and influences. From playing gospel piano in East Texas churches, to Broadway in pit orchestras in New York City, to sprinting leaps around the world playing in bands on cruise ships, to working in Hollywood with music producers and film composers, Nathan’s music draws from a variety of inspirations. His work seeks to situate between notions of pulses, ambiguity, virtuosity and quiet beauty. He has orchestrated for artists such as Dionne Warwick, Rod Stewart, Jackie Evancho, Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Lopez; Broadway shows (Gypsy, Curtains, The Tony Awards); TV’s Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks on NBC, Audra McDonald on PBS and more; and was recently a Visiting Artist at The American Academy in Rome.
Redwood opens with a “pedal point” on Ab, that expands in its intensity and stretches its melodic limbs ever-upward, frequently using intervals of the 7th and 9th in its mighty twists and turns, as it infuses brief contrasting moments of alternating powerful and delicate textures that display a somber and majestic dissonant beauty. The expansive tuttis mark promiment, rentlessly unfurling musical material writhing and aching with intensity and passion that fearlessly clash branch out — above, below and in-between — balancing registral development with motivic seeds of growing contrapuntal figuration and ornamentation that evolve into dense, complex textures and overlapping, competing voices. The churning and undulating fluidity of multiple stratifications of voices explore the enormous and awesome colorful orchestral range and dark tessitura of the orchestra, like a fitting musical portrait of our towering national treasures, the great Redwoods.
These massive pillars of old are unmovable monuments that harbor in their sheer enormity a wisdom and fine delicately detailed history of the ancient universe, conveying a solemn strength that seemed to call for great breath and thunderously shaking moments of musical roots that grow hellishly deep and downwards, yet are invisible to us as we only see their incredible topography above the soil. This is a work of contrasting shimmering, delicate moments and also a relentless, constantly yearning, dissonant ascent towards clangourous climaxes and long melodic limbs.
listen to an excerpt of the 2nd mvt. of Leaves