Mercury Classics has released The Impostor, a new project from Béla Fleck, including a pair of long-form Fleck compositions recorded with the Nashville Symphony and the Brooklyn Rider quartet.
The Impostor is a concerto for banjo in three movements, performed with the symphony, and Night Flight Over Water is a quintet for banjo and string quartet. Each piece runs more than 30 minutes in length.
The Nashville Symphony commissioned The Impostor, and it was recorded with Béla over the course of three live performances in September 2011. Jake Schepps reviewed one of the shows for us, and interviewed Fleck about the piece during that same week.
Night Flight Over Water is another classical composition of Béla’s, completed with input from members of Brooklyn Rider, a young, modern quartet based in New York. It was recorded in the studio more recently.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Béla discuss the story behind the title piece of this new release.
“I have this idea of the impostor, of someone sneaking into a masquerade with a mask on,” Mr. Fleck said of the first movement, “Infiltration.” “Maybe he’s underclass, or he’s a scruffy guy from the Lower East Side like my grandfather. Nobody knows he’s not supposed to be there, and he makes believe.”
Its second movement, “Integration,” is slower and more melodic, a moment, he said, when “everyone gets comfortable with each other.” By the third movement, “Truth Revealed,” bluegrass—or what Mr. Fleck calls the banjo’s stereotypical image—emerges, and the impostor has been unmasked.
Audio samples from all three movements of both compositions can be found in iTunes.