MP3 Samples
Mache Dich, mein Geist, bereit
Production Credits
Produced by Meiro Stamm

Prague sessions produced by
Meiro Stamm & Milan Kymlicka

Mixed by John Naslen

Members of the
Prague Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir
under the direction of Mario Klemens

Meiro Stamm - Guitar, Recitation
Bob Becker - Tabla, Recitation, Percussion
Alan Hetherington - Yang Ch'in
Marie Chechalova - Soprano
Jiri Kaniak - Oboe
Magdalena Mackova - Cimbalom
Pavel Verner - Cello
Jaroslava Eliasova - Piano
Radim Linhart - Synthesizer

In a Beginning... is the critically acclaimed debut album from Meiro Stamm. Drawing on influences as diverse as J.S. Bach, Indian classical music, Jimi Hendrix and Indonesian music, Meiro has created an album of melodic compositions that are easily accessible to a wide variety of listeners.

The album consists of six tracks ranging in arrangement from trio to full orchestra and choir. Used extensively are instruments not commonly found in connection with Western orchestras. The Indian tabla drums, cimbalom (Eastern European hammered dulcimer) and its Chinese equivalent the yang ch'in, as well as electric guitar play important parts in the music. Two pieces are of particular interest in the way they incorporate these instruments.

Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit (Get Thyself, My Soul, Prepared) utilizes a Lutheran choral meloday as its basis. Stamm treats the chorale in a way similar to how Bach would have for the movement of a cantata - using the existing melody as a starting point and weaving it together with original material. Three tabla, tuned to different notes, play the same rhythmic figure simultaneously at different metrical subdivisions. One plays in quarter notes, the second in eights, and the third in sixteenths. The combined effect is reminiscent of an Indonesian gamelan orchestra. This is further heightened by a melody played on the oboe and electric guitar using the degung scale from Sunda.

Atavistic Meditation on the Four Elements makes extensive use of the yang ch'in. The part is extremely diffcult and here was doubt on the part of many dulcimer players as to whether it could be performed at all. Toronto percussionist Alan Hetherington proved the skeptics wrong. He rose to the challenge and delivered a truly virtuosic performance whcih set new technical standards for the instrument. Also of interest in this piece is the "recitation" at the beginning and end. This is actually aspoken version of the tabla part - each syllable corresponding to a specific drum stroke.

Meiro travelled to Prague, Czech Republic to record with the members of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir in the famed Rudolphinum concert hall. Tabla, yang ch'in and guitar, performed by Bob Becker of NEXUS, Alan Hetherington, and Meiro Stamm respectively, were recorded in Toronto at Manta Studios.

Mario Klemens conducts the orchestra.

"...fabulous. The various old and new world influences that are imbued in this unique work are both exhilirating and harmonious."
- David Farrell The Record

"A very theatrical CD. Rock opera clashes with world music, proving once again that all the world is a stage of development. If the CD were twice as long (only about 27 minutes now), it'd be one of my favorites. Pop experiments like Atavistic Meditation on the Four Elements come along so seldom, you just want to raise your ass out of your seat and applaud the CD player. Electric guitar mixes with instruments I'll never be able to name, complete with enough varied vocals to make Queen look like a troupe of old girls. Then there are those songs on the operatic/classic music side like Die Einheitswirklichkeit, containing a wonderful soprano mixed with very able solo guitarist, as well as a few other musical surprises. But for my money, the very dramatic works like the beginning Get Thyself, My Soul, Prepared are where it's at. Finally, semi-classical stuff for the masses that even footballers could go for."
- Ben Ohmart

Meiro Stamm and Milan Kymlicka discuss the recording.

"...melodious pieces underscore Stamm's sophistication with compositional techniques..."
- Geoff Chapman Toronto Star

"At first blush one wonders at the instrumentation of far east instruments with traditional western symphonic arrangements but damn, it works. Look, our descriptive powers are failing us. Simply listen to this masterful album and see if you're not in agreement that these compositions represent a major new force in the concert hall They're more than merely interesting; they are compelling."
- Bill Watt RPM

Cover Art

Representing Inspiration, the "egg" image was an artistic collaboration between Meiro Stamm and his late friend, Jeroen Bosschaart. Originally commissioned as a pencil drawing, Jeroen opted instead to render the design as a black and white painting. A virtuosic display of pointillism, the painting was one of Jeroen's favourites and is part of a three picture series in Stamm's extensive collection of Bosschaart's art.

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