arts 03.29.04

Reflex Editions

MUG is always happy to profile a labor of love, and if Reflex Editions isn't a labor of love, we've never seen one. That's the name of a new classical music record label started by cellist Adam Grabois (pictured).

"Classical record labels are having a hard time making money," Mr. Grabois says, "and are even dropping well-known artists from their rosters. Even the Philadelphia Orchestra no longer has a recording contract. Where does that leave the rest of us lesser-known performers? Basically, we're on our own."

He also notes, "Big record labels have catalogues to fill in a certain way (they can't, for instance, have 30 different string quartets recording the Beethoven quartets but no one playing Debussy piano preludes) and must also compete with each other for awards, visionary programming and, most of all sales."

"For me, though, this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. By starting my own record label, I am able to maintain complete artistic control over my projects: I choose the music I want to record, where and when to record it; I choose the edits, the mix, even the cover art, liner notes and design. It's a do-it-yourself kind of enterprise, but the final product is the result of one vision from beginning to end."

Mr. Grabois, who began playing the cello when he was nine, now plays on a cello he commissioned in 1993 from Sam Zygmuntowicz, the near-legendary Brooklyn violinmaker. (Mr. Zygmuntowicz has made a small number of cellos, too). The cello is a copy of Rostropovich's Stradivarius, the "Duport" (1711). Five years later, his "Brooklyn Strad" was ready.

It gets put to exquisite use on the first offering from Reflex, performed with pianist John Nauman. You'll hear Beethoven's 7 Variations in E flat major from Mozart's The Magic Flute, a Debussy Sonata, and Rachmaninov's Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 19. Mr. Grabois seems to know exactly how to place the microphones, how to give the listener a sense of immediacy and intimacy that, in effect, takes you out of the audience and onto the stage. The Andante in the Rachmaninov Sonata is transcendentally gorgeous, but, really, the whole thing is a joy.

(Order here)
Urban planner wannabes will have fun, as we did, with Gotham Gazette's interactive Plan Your Future Park game. Go on, channel your inner Olmsted and Vaux, or Adrian Benepe, for that matter.

Today through Thursday, Donghia is selling their contemporary furniture at up to 80% off. Look for sofas, club chairs, accessories, and more. It's at the Puck Building, 295 Lafayette [Houston]. Today and Wed 9-6, Tu 9-8, Th 9-3.

Photo Credit:
Robert Blau

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