That mission has led to the release of Afshar’s first chamber music album (September 24 via Archer Records), which features the Musical Sketches on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin as well as works by Paganini and Piazzolla.
“The inspiration for this recording began with my curiosity of Uspensky’s Musical Sketches on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin,” Afshar says. “The fact that it is based on Pushkin’s novel, and the unique instrumentation for eight musicians – drums, bass, clarinet and strings with guitar – intrigued me. Knowing the story and listening to the programmatic piece clearly explains the character of the hero and heroines created by both Pushkin and Uspensky while blending 19th Century with the 20th.”
To the Uspensky premiere, Afshar added a favorite: the classic Sonata Concertata, Op. 61 by Niccolo Paganini. Musica da Camera closes with a spirited live recording of Histoire du Tango for guitar and violin by Astor Piazzolla, performed with violinist Joy Wiener at the Buckman Performing Arts Center in Memphis.
“Sometimes wonderful musical moments happen on stage, which cannot be created in a studio,” Afshar says. “That night, the audience gave us the energy and spark to bring the tangos to life. We brought out the rhythmic and melodic elements of the dances – it was a night to remember.”
The title of the album finds Afshar in a playful mood, inspired by the cinematic nature of the recordings she’d chosen.
“In Italian, the word ‘camera’ means ‘chamber,’” Afshar explains. “In a light moment, the title Musica da Camera was proposed with a photograph of me alongside not a guitar, but a camera! It made me laugh and it was different and fun- just like the music.”