David Chesky is an American pianist, composer, producer, arranger, and co-founder of the independent, audiophile label Chesky Records. He is also co-founder and CEO of HDtracks, an online music store that sells high-resolution digital music.
Chesky is considered a technological and musical innovator with eclectic interests. He has won Independent Music Awards and received Grammy Award nominations. He has written jazz tunes, orchestral and chamber music, opera, ballet, and a rap symphony (by wikipedia)
In the past when I thought of virtual instruments I thought of MIDI tones emanating from an old cream colored computer’s built-in speaker, some terrible synthesized songs from the 1980s, or even some chart-toppers created on a workstation in a bedroom without regard for the actual sound of real instruments. There’s certainly nothing wrong with expressing one’s musical creativity this way, but I’ll pass on spending a buck when the first single is released. That was the past before I heard David Chesky’s new creation Urbanicity / Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra / The New York Variations. The album’s only real physical instrument is an electric guitar played by the 24 year old rising star Bryan Baker on the Concerto centerpiece.
Every other instrument comprising the Urbancity Orchestra of New York is virtual. This may be a hard concept to accept for many audiophiles, but if anyone understands what real instruments sound like it’s music impresario and current Composure in Residence at the National Symphony of Taiwan David Chesky. —audiophilestyle.com
David Chesky deserves major props for writing one of the best “classical” pieces yet to incorporate the electric guitar–a wonderful instrument that lots of modern composers use, mostly terribly. Leonard Bernstein managed it, and a few others, but Chesky’s concerto is at once excitingly virtuosic, cogently structured, and true to the instrument’s roots in rock and popular music. It’s exceptionally well played by Bryan Baker, who in the notes says he spent eight hours a day learning it. The effort shows, but only in a good way.
Urbanicity and The New York Variations are ballets, which explains their rhythmic charge, but not their eclectic mixture of idioms and references, which are pure Chesky. Both have three movements. Urbanicity lives up to its title with a vengeance: the music might strike some listeners as overly relentless, but The New York Variations has more variety and (it seems to me) a wider expressive range. The performances, as in the concerto, are tip-top, and the sonics stunningly lifelike, with the electric guitar particularly well-balanced. A very enjoyable release by a distinctive compositional voice. (byDavid Hurwitz)
David Chesky (piano)
Bryan Baker (guitar on 04. – 06.)
The Urbanicity Orchestra of New York conducted by David Chesky
01. Movement 1 / 6.42
02. Movement 2 / 6.26
03. Movement 3 / 7.58
Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra:
04. Movement 1 / 6.29
05. Movement 2 / 6.17
06. Movement 3 / 6.36
The New York Variations:
07. Movement 1 / 6.54
08. Movement 2 / 10.02
09. Movement 3 / 5.52