David A. Bagno
"New American Classics"
David's musical talents are something to be in awe of. I listened to this CD and had chills run up my spine on almost every cut. It was clear from the beginning that he is a true talent in his area. His piano compositions that grace this CD are relaxing, and moving, and heartwarming, and sad, and everything in between! The 5th track on this album left me in awe of his abilities and I listened to this wonderful work many times. Lovers of classical music need to have this CD in the collection.
1. The Children's Orchestral Suite (1992) [17:16]
This work is an imaginative medley of popular children's nursery rhymes. It includes such favorites as "Mary Had a Little Lamb", "Twinkle Twinkle", "Bah Bah Black Sheep", "Ten Little Indians", "I'm a Little Teapot", "Pop Goes The Weasel", "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", "Yankee Doodle", "London Bridges", "Rockaby Baby", "Row Row Row Your Boat", "Chop Sticks", "Mexican Hat Dance", "I've Been Working on The Rail Road" and many more. Each song sounds like it's title suggest. The train sounds like a train, the teapot sounds like a teapot and the weasel sounds like a weasel. Listening to this work is a magical experience for both children and adults. Don't be fooled, it is a serious piece of music too.
2. Exhilarations String Quartet (1992) [10:22]
If you like those sweeping Vivaldi movements, you will love this work. I caution you not to be driving a car while listening to it or you may get a speeding ticket. This composition is exhilarating from start to finish. If it were any longer you would be out of breath. It's a perfect length though and its sweeping melodies and rich harmony will make you want to listen to it over and over again. Exhilarations is a tantalizing movement. It was my first string quartet.
3. Sunsets For Flute and Piano (1992) [7:42]
This picturesque duet was composed for Elizabeth Brown. She had given up the flute for years until she heard the City Of God on the radio. Hearing it reinvigorate her love of music. This work was inspired by her appreciation of my work. She wanted to buy the piano that the City Of God was composed on. When she drove out to Long Island to purchase it, it was her children jumping around my apartment that inspired the Children's Orchestral Suite.
4. Amazing Grace Variations (1989) [8:49]
This was my first variation composition. I composed it especially for a Christian musical festival. It was to be performed on the rooftop of Saint Patrick's church on Long Island. Looking back on it now it was a fiasco. The promoter never paid me for all the work I did but I walked away with a beautiful piece. It was to be the first of several piano variations that I later composed. I also performed this work at a piano competition in Estes Park CO. This work was also a favorite among parishioners at Saint James RC church where I use to perform it frequently at Sunday Mass.
5. The City Of God - Finale (1990) [9:33]
This is the last movement from my epic piano work. When it was first aired on WNYC, the DJ mistakenly announced that it was composed for two pianos. Despite its unattainable sound, this work was conceived at the piano with just my two hands. For those in academia who say harmony is dead, this work is a wake up call. The extra notes from the extended harmonic spectrum fuel its pianistic invention. These extra notes make it extra difficult to play. I had to develop special piano exercises to be able to play the blazing one-handed parallel 4th arpeggios. As a result, The City Of God has a very celestial quality. The title was inspired from the Bible passage referring to heaven, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived". I believe most people have never heard music like this before.
6. Variations On a Theme By Bach (1992) [18:46]
This is a set of ambitions variations on a popular Bach theme. One of the reasons that I use to like composing variations is because I believed that average listeners really didn't like to give new music a chance. I figured that if they were familiar with the theme then that was half the battle. I would sneak my original music in without them being any the wiser. As such, this is a set of very diverse variations. Even though each variation sticks very close to the original theme, the overall manipulation of the original material makes for an intriguing work. Both casual and serious listeners of classical music should enjoy this work.
7. The Lover's Waltz (1983) [4:48]
This is a vintage recording from my days at Stonybrook University. It has all the ingredients of a Chopin waltz except that the harmonies are more contemporary and rhythms more syncopated. To me, this is what I would imagine a Chopin Waltz to sound like had he composed today. Like Chopin's piano music, this work is very lyrical and ornate. It celebrates the beauty and completeness of the piano as a solo instrument. Its flavor is more like that of a jazz composition but it is not improvisational. The pianistic advancements made here paved the way for my "Genesis" and "The City Of God". The Lover's Waltz is a gem from a special place in time. Unfortunately I never copied the notes down nor can I remember how to play it. The only record of it survival is this original recording.
TOTAL TIME 75:56
David Bagno began studying piano lessons in the 5th Grade. In 7th grade, his football coach made him take 60 laps around the goal posts because he came an hour late to practice because of a piano lesson. As with most adolescents, he chose to play football instead. It was not until college after being plagued with sports injuries and other disappointments, did he turn to music. This crossroad uncovered a hidden talent for composing and a newfound love for music. At this time, he began to consider if music could ever bring him the satisfaction that sports did.
In 1980 the untimely death of his father brought him to Stony Brook University where he was accepted into the music program. It was only because of the promise he showed as a composer that he got in. At Stony Brook, Bagno was exposed to some of the finest pianists and pedagogy in classical music. Greatly motivated and inspired, he began to practice 8 to 10 hours a day. Despite this, he soon realized that it would take years for his piano playing to reach the level of the other students. Still determined, he read through the existing piano method books and practiced the standard exercises and etudes. Disappointed with the results, he decided to take control of his musical destiny. "There has to be a better way. I don't have 20 years to learn how to play the piano!"
In the spirit of progress, he obtained permission from the University to do an independent research study on the physiology of piano playing and the anatomy of the hand. He believed that with a thorough knowledge of the hand, he could accelerate the development of his piano technique. His research lead to new piano exercises and methods beyond the scope of conventional teachings. Today the proofs of this work have manifested in several areas. His piano compositions like the "City Of God" and "Genesis", both which were submitted for the Pulitzer Prizes, are among the most difficult works written for the instrument. His high-tech cutting edge piano technique has also opened new frontiers in his compositional style and pianistic invention. The recordings on his CDs give testimony to this. Some of these compositions have been played on classical stations coast to coast from WNYC in New York to KBOQ in California.
Finally, as a piano teacher, Bagno was repeatedly able to bring beginner piano students to a level of playing Bach and Mozart within a few months. Many of these teaching philosophies and methods are captured in his popular music software course, "The Music Lab Series". His computerized education series is used in many Universities and learning institutions in this country and abroad.
Since 1995 Bagno has been working as a software engineer in Washington DC. He still wakes up every morning at 4:30 AM to find time to compose before going into work. In the evening after work, he continues to develop and refine his music education software. Both these passions he continues to the present day hoping some day that his work will receive the recognition it deserve.
Linda Forsyth PHD.