Neil & Tamara Caulkins

Show Notes
Today, we have a special treat for all you classical music-lovers as we delve into the world of classical guitar with Neil and Tamara Caulkins. Neil and Tamara are a talented classical guitar duo who are passionate about interpreting composer's intentions, particularly with lesser-known pieces. They also specialize in playing living composers' works and seek to understand and convey their aesthetic.
In this episode, we discover the duo's involvement in the Dry Falls project, where they will be performing a new work written by Martin Kennedy, aimed at evoking the natural landscape of the Dry Falls area in Washington State. The new music was commissioned with help from the Friends of the Lower Grand Coulee.
Neil and Tamara Caulkins in snow
As classical guitar players, Neil and Tamara are experts in the craft. They discuss the subtle nuances that can make or break an instrument's quality. They explain how the type of bracing on the inside of guitars sets them apart from one another, and how bracing can affect the top's ability to vibrate and resonate better. They also touch on the importance of taking care of wooden instruments to prevent them from drying out or becoming damaged over time.
We are treated to stories about the duo's time in college studying alongside the students of Andrés Segovia. They also talk about the impact of studying abroad in Spain and how it influenced them to tour around the Southeast, Eastern Seaboard, and the Northwest for seven years.
The centerpiece of this episode is the beautiful Dry Falls project. We explore how music can evoke a particular landscape, the ceremony, and the special moments that led to the creation of the music piece. Neil and Tamara discuss how they inspired Martin Kennedy to create a musical evocation of Dry Falls and how the idea of commissioning a composer to write a piece inspired by the Grand Coulee area came to fruition.
The Dry Falls project's first movement, "a thaw falls upon the earth," is discussed in detail by Neil and Tamara. They examine the dripping notes and odd rhythms that reflect being in a cave with water droplets, how the music builds with the heavy, driving parts that evoke a deluge.
Tamara and Neil Caulkins playing guitars
To ensure we are fully immersed in the world of classical guitar, the hosts explain how to position a guitar on one's left leg correctly. The device that can be screwed onto the bottom of a guitar is an alternative to using a footstool, which can cause back problems and discomfort during longer playing sessions.
In conclusion, this episode of "Exploring Washington State" with Neil and Tamara Caulkins provides passionate insights into the world of classical guitar, highlighting the art and technicalities involved in the craft. The Dry Falls project is a fitting showcase of the power of music to evoke emotions and memories related to the landscape.
Find out more about the Caulkins by visiting their website Caulkins Guitar Duo.

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