Paul Winter Consort released its new live recording, Concert in the Barn Friday through Earth Music Productions. Hardly the group’s first live performance, this concert is one of many captured during the pandemic, meaning it is more of an in-studio live concert of sorts than in person. The 17-song set is an intriguing presentation that audiences will find worth hearing at least once. That is due in part to its unique set list, which will be examined shortly. The liner notes featured in the record’s companion booklet are also of note in examining the recording. They will be examined a little later. The recording’s production puts the finishing touch to the whole and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered they make the recording in whole an interesting addition to this year’s field of new live CDs.
Concert in the Barn, the new live recording from Paul Winter Consort, is a presentation that many audiences will find intriguing. Recorded in a barn on Winter’s property in June 2021 (this is explained in the liner notes, which again will be discussed a little later), the concert features a set list that is unique to say the very least. It is so unique that only a small handful of its songs were pulled from any of Winter’s albums, solo and otherwise. Henrique Eisenmann, who is one of Winter’s fellow musicians in this performance, composed many of the songs here while others are covers, including those of legendary classical composer J.S. Bach. There is even a song from a music student who reached out to Winter some time ago as part of the concert. Simply put, what audiences get in this recording a set list that is eclectic to say the very least. Making for even more interest here is the background provided about the songs provided in the recording’s liner notes. While all of this is interesting, it also goes without saying that using so many varied songs instead of songs from Winter’s solo catalog and that of the Paul Winter Consort is a head scratcher. That is not to say that not reaching into those catalogs was a bad thing. It is just interesting to note that Winter decided to go the route that he did in this presentation.
The set list featured in this live studio performance is just part of what makes Concert in the Barn interesting. The background on the concert provided through the recording’s liner notes makes for its own interest. The liner notes were penned by Winter and his fellow musicians. Winter points out in the provided information that the performance that is featured in the recording was in fact recorded in his home studio in a barn that is located on his property. To that end, it can be said that this recording is a live studio performance. What’s more, he points out that the concert was originally intended to be performed in a much larger venue, a church. The whole story in that case will be left for audiences to discover for themselves. Interestingly, regardless of venue, no audience would have been in attendance. He discusses that, too. As audiences make their way through the record, they get background from Winter and company on each of the concert’s songs. In the case of ‘Sarabande’ for instance, audiences learn from Eisenmann that the Sarabande is a 16th century dance whose roots are Spanish. Eisenmann points out in his brief discussion that the classical arrangement is updated here for the group’s presented performance. In the case of ‘DNA’ audiences learn that this song was sent to him by then college student Jeff Boratko years ago. That song led him to eventually become a member of the group, and now that song is featured here. The story shared about this song is interesting and makes for a nice feel-good story, too. In the discussion about ‘The Well-Tempered Wood Thrush,’ audiences get an in-depth discussion on how a bird singing in his neighborhood led to the song’s creation. It is not a short story but is so entertaining and engaging. The mention of Bach’s influence on the song makes for even more interest. When this item is considered with all of the other background examined here and with the rest of the background provided, the whole makes the liner notes just as important to the album’s presentation as the record’s primary content, its music. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.
The production that went into the recording’s presentation is important in that it is responsible for the general effect. Considering that this whole thing was recorded in Winter’s own home studio it goes without saying that plenty of time and effort went into balancing each song’s audio. The acoustics of the studio were clearly taken into full account in the production. That is because while this is a “concert” it sounds exactly like a full studio recording. Each musician’s performance is so controlled alongside the others, each balancing the other expertly in each arrangement. The end result is a sound that will keep listeners fully engaged in each song. In turn, that engagement will lead to plenty of appreciation for each performer’s abilities and talents. That appreciation, paired with the engagement ensured through the recording’s set list and background in the liner notes, makes the recording overall worth hearing at least once.
Concert in the Barn, the new live recording from Paul Winter Consort, is a unique addition to this year’s field of new live recordings. Its interest is due in part to its set list, which leans more on covers and other material than any of Winter’s own solo material or even his work under the Paul Winter Consort name. All of that material is in itself well worth hearing and is sure to keep audiences engaged in its own right. The background provided on the songs and concert in the recording’s liner notes makes for its own appeal. When all of this material is considered along with the recording’s production, the whole of that material makes the recording in whole a unique addition to this year’s field of new live recordings.
Concert in the Barn is available now through Earth Music Productions, LLC. More information on the recording is available along with all of Paul Winter Consort’s latest news at”
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