HOVHANESS – JANABAR, TALIN & SHAMBALA OGREOGRESS
Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was an intriguing American composer of Armenian and Scottish descent. His accessible music often evokes a mood of mystery or contemplation, which The Boston Globe music critic Richard Buell described as ‘hushed, reverential, mystical, nostalgic’. Hovhaness was among the most prolific composers of the 20th century, writing 67 symphonies and more than 500 works in all. During the 1940s and 50s he was one of a maverick group of composers that also included Henry Cowell, John Cage and Lou Harrison, pioneering one of the great shifts in twentieth century American music by looking to non-Western cultures for creative renewal. Alan Hovhaness became one of the most recorded and acclaimed American composers in the 1950s and 60s but although his work has enjoyed a revival in recent years many of his works are still little known to audiences or performers. This new CD contains three concertante works: Shambala - concerto for sitar, violin and orchestra; Janabar - five hymns for piano, violin, trumpet and string orchestra; Talin - concerto for viola and string orchestra. Also included is a half hour of Hovhaness talking about his music. Both Shambala and Janabar (1950) appear in world-premiere recordings, whilst Talin was last recorded in its original viola and strings format in 1957. Composed in 1969 for the Menuhin/Shankar ‘East-West fusion’ duo, the 45-minute, single-movement Shambala was never performed and then fell into obscurity, making this one of the most eagerly-anticipated Hovhaness releases of recent times. The soloists here are violinist/violist Christina Fong and one of Ravi Shankar’s most highly-respected students, Gaurav Mazumdar, on sitar. Shambala is the mythical kingdom beyond the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, as described in ancient Tibetan texts, and the music is a wonderful, impressionistic evocation of a beautiful land.
ERDEM HELVACIOGLU & BILL WALKER - FIELDS AND FENCES FAR WEST RECORDS
Erdem Helvacioğlu is one of Turkey’s leading electronic music composers and his works have been performed and broadcast all around the world. His compositions have been included in prestigious festivals such as the San Francisco Tape Music Festival, Seoul International Computer Music Festival, Musica Viva Festival, Primavera en La Habana and Third Practice Electro-acoustic Music Festival. For the aurally stunning Fields and Fences, he collaborated with American musician/composer Bill Walker, who contributes electric and acoustic guitars, baritone and soprano electric guitars, acoustic and electric lap steel guitars and electronics. Ethereal lap steel guitar merges with electronica to create a rich cinematic vision of big skies and endless vistas. The eight atmospheric tracks have intriguing titles such as Sea of Ghosts, Pegasus and Black Coffee, Bonneville Mirage and Smoke from a Distant Hill, their swirling ambience encouraging the listener to dream and be transported to wondrous, exotic places. ‘An immensely beautiful album born of pure improvisation and cleverly finessed in post production.’ - Guitar Player Magazine. See more Erdem Helvacioğlu releases.
ORCHESTRA MUSIC OF JEFFREY JACOB VIENNA MODERN MASTERS VMM 3057
American pianist, composer and educator Jeffrey Jacob has been described by the Warsaw Music Journal as ‘unquestionably one of the greatest performers of 20th century music,’ and by the New York Times as ‘an artist of intense concentration and conviction.’ After studying at the Juilliard School and the Peabody Conservatory he has appeared as piano soloist with over 20 orchestras internationally. A noted proponent of contemporary music, he has performed many world premieres and has recorded more than 50 works for solo piano and piano and orchestra. As a composer, he has written three symphonies, three piano concertos as well as works for piano and chamber ensemble. This CD provides an excellent introduction to Jacob’s music as he performs as soloist in three pieces of his own music - The Symphony: Winter Lightning (with the Moravian Philharmonic conducted by Toshiyuki Shimada), In MemoriamAll Quiet on the Western Front (with the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic directed by Jon Mitchell), Jacob’s Second Piano Concerto (the Moscow Symphony directed by Joel Spiegelman) and Carol of the Bells (the Moravian Philharmonic and Shimada). Vienna Modern Masters is a nonprofit American company which produces and internationally distributes compact discs of contemporary classical music. The company's principal focus is on orchestral and orchestral-choral music from around the world, recording with some of the finest orchestras and soloists in Eastern Europe. Other recent releases include a number of CDs featuring music by David Loeb, such as the beautiful TRANSPARENT REFLECTIONS (VMM 2056). Music by the acclaimed American composer Nancy van de Vate includes an epic HAMLET (VMM 4008), CHAMBER MUSIC, VOL. 4 (VMM 2043) and her brilliant opera, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (VMM 4004).
ALAN SCHMITZ - NINETIES TIMEFLOW RAVELLO RECORDS RR7821
This digital revamp of the Capstone release features Schmitz’s works for small chamber groups, all composed in the 1990s. They are Schmitz’s Allegro for wind quintet including oboe (soloist Tom Barry); the lovely Dance and Dream Sequence (Todd Seelye, guitarist who premiered the work in 1997 at the University of Northern Iowa); String Trio (played by The Concordia String Trio, for whom it was written); March and Serenade (played by the composer’s sons Christopher and Lee on trombone and piano); Spiritual Excursion, based on the famous Bahama spiritual ‘All My Trials’ (Leslie Perna, viola, Randy Hogancamp, vibraphone, and Eric Schmitz, timpani; The Bassoon Trio; Song and Dance (Therese Fetter, violin, and Randy Hogancamp, marimba); and Love in the Western World - a setting of a poem by Robert Wilkinson - sung by soprano Leslie Morgan. This intriguing, accessible music is beautifully played throughout.
NÁLADA - LISA MILES RAVELLO RECORD RR7816
The young American composer and performer Lisa Miles is from Pittsburgh PA. Uniquely blending the arts and humanities, she composes and performs, is the author of two books and a personal and professional development consultant. Among others, she has worked with choreographers Jose Bustamante, David Parsons, H T Chen and performance artist Animal X and has performed solo at Philadelphia’s Fringe Fest, the Andy Warhol Museum and The Mattress Factory. Her music combines classical chops and punk rock influences in both her spirited solo work and unique collaborations with other instrumentalists (cello, bass, harp, voice, guitar). Lisa Miles describes her music as ‘tending toward either the edgy and intense, or the atmospheric, dark and meditative’ - both of which come through in force on her debut release, NÁLADA. The CD release features wildly original compositions for acoustic and electric violin and mandolin, many of which were composed for and informed live, collaborative, cross-disciplinary performance. Highlights include the eerily beautiful Bowl Dance, the sprightly Lynn’s Dance, Recessional and Punk #2, and the title track, Nalada, for electric mandolin, violin and guitar. Other new releases from Ravello/Navona Records include virtuoso violist Shelly Tramposh's SPREZZATURA (RR7818), Tony Clef's intriguing guitar arrangements and transcriptions of popular songs for guitar, TUESDAY AFTERNOON (BR8916), and DIVERGENCE (NV5858), a collection of violin concerti written by three living composers (Nicholas Sackman, Scott Michal and William Thomas McKinley) played by the Moravian Philharmonic and Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestras with soloists Ondřej Lébr, Vít Muzík, Glenn Dicterow, and Karen Dreyfus.
PHILLIP SCHROEDER - PASSAGE THROUGH A DREAM INNOVA 781
Passage Through a Dream offers five premiere recordings of new music by composer Phillip Schroeder - beautiful and vibrant tracks that feature lyric melodies and lush, intricate textures. Born in 1956 in Rancho Cordova, California, Phillip Schroeder’s musical life began early and paralleled the diversity of his surroundings - living in twelve states, playing trumpet in concert bands and electric bass in rock and jazz bands, singing in choirs, conducting orchestral and chamber groups, improvising with a variety of ensembles, and as a concert pianist. His music for soloists, chamber ensembles, live electronics, orchestra, and choir, has been described by critics as ‘wonderfully evocative,’ ‘ethereal,’ and ‘rich in subtle detail.’ In Passage Through a Dream Schroeder expands and develops musical ideas found in his critically acclaimed 2006 CD, Move in the Changing Light, about which Ron Shepper wrote in textura, ‘Schroeder generates dense masses of sparkling trills and cascades….The sound that results verges on the paradisaical’. Performers include Schroeder on piano and electric bass, soprano Erin Bridgeman, the multi-talented Rick Dimond on accordion and vibraphone, clarinetist/composer Michael Henson, harpist Jane Grothe, flutist Jennifer Amox and new music clarinettist Marty Walker.
LIGHT AND SHADOW NAVONA NV5847
This all-new collection features modern orchestral music by composers Adrienne Albert, Daniel Perttu, Rain Worthington, Rebecca Oswald, Russ Lombardi and Tadd Russo. The works range from a musical depiction of the imagery of war to the representation of the impressionistic logic of dreams to a bold, tonal piece inspired by a property dispute. With all tracks shorter than nine minutes, this collection of accessible music offers a succinct and powerful view into the world of modern orchestral composition. Highlights include Tracing a Dream and the majestic Light and Shadow in the Yosemite Valley. Other new recent releases by the always innovative Navona Records label include ETERNAL EVOLUTION (NAVONA NV5846) featuring four pieces by Judith Lang Zaimont performed by the renowned Harlem Quartet and pianist Awadagin Pratt. Known for its distinctive style - strongly expressive, emotional and dramatic - Zaimont’s music has drawn performers from around the world several of her works have achieved repertoire status. The Astral Vinylchamber music on this release counts on an intimate artistic connection between the performers in order to properly express the many changes in tempo, meter, and attitude in each movement. ASTRAL VINYL (NAVONA NV5850) is a collection by the composer, arranger, performer and producer Stephen Barber. His impressive original music draws an inner conversation free from constraints to create eclectic works that invite emotional involvement and provide fresh perspectives. The works on this disc range from a piece for string quartet to a fanfare for brass ensemble to a piece for soprano, piano and steel drum trio, all of which are uniquely and brilliantly imaginative. SAXOPHONE CONCERTO (NAVONA NV5848) is the latest release from Lee Actor and features five of his compositions: Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, which exploits the considerable dramatic and expressive possibilities of the saxophone; the exciting Dance Rhapsody for orchestra, which consists of several strongly rhythmic dance sections interspersed with two slower, non-rhythmic interludes; Concerto for Horn and Orchestra, a work of compact dimensions, consisting of three movements; Opening Remarks, a brisk, upbeat, 6-minute work for orchestra designed as a concert opener; and Celebration Overture, a joyous and invigorating piece with instrumentation similar to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Actor’s music is filled with rhythmic drive and shows a superb ear for orchestral color, and he is able to create music that catches the ear and draws the listener into a world of emotion and drama.
MUSIC OF POUL RUDERS, VOL 5 BRIDGE 9237
Danish composer Poul Ruders was born in 1949 in Ringsted, Denmark, and studied piano and organ before eventually studying orchestration with the Danish composer Karl Aage Rasmussen. Ruders’s first compositions date from the mid-60s and he has written in a wide variety of styles, from the Vivaldi pastiche of his first violin concerto (1981) to the modernism of Manhattan Abstraction (1982). His large body of music includes opera (such as his highly successful The Handmaid’s Tale) and orchestral works, as well as chamber, vocal and solo music. This latest in Bridge’s series of discs devoted to the music of Poul Ruders features five works spanning a twenty year period, including three orchestral pieces and the stunning neo-classic duo, Cembal d’Amore for harpsichord and piano (with soloists Steven Beck and Stephen Gosling) and a sombre nocturne, The Second Nightshade. Works also include a luminous solo harp piece, Air with Changes, based on a Danish Folk Song, and Light Overture, a dazzling nine minute piece that incorporates dance elements, brilliant orchestration and the composer’s celebrated wit. Poul Ruders composes exhilarating music and this new CD is an ideal introduction to probably the most-performed living Danish composer.
THE PATH TO PEACE – ANDREW STERMAN ORANGE MOUNTAIN OMM0045
Tenor saxophonist, flutist and composer Andrew Sterman has played in big bands, including those of Buddy Rich and Gil Evans, and with great singers and musicians such as Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Joe Williams, Mel Torme, Dizzy Gillespie and Aretha Franklin. In 1991, Sterman joined the Philip Glass Ensemble, with whom he often tours around the world. He also appears regularly with small jazz and improvisation groups in New York and Washington. He makes his Orange Mountain Music debut here as a composer and conductor with The Path to Peace - a music, dance and video work inspired by the inner journey of Mahatma Gandhi. Along with the renowned Indian choreographer Sridhar Shanmugam, Andrew Sterman created a tribute that uses projected archival footage of Gandhi’s life, special lighting and sound design to serve as backdrop for traditional and contemporary dancers and musicians from India and America. Mahatma Gandhi worked tirelessly to promote peace and cultural diversity during his lifetime. His work transformed colonial India and his philosophy of non-violent persuasion linked the thinking of Tolstoy and Thoreau, inspired Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi. Sterman says of his music for The Path To Peace that it ‘does not explicitly refer to the great musical traditions of India, but as in the traditional arts of India, any serious music (and dance) can be spiritual practice and function as a vehicle for genuine insight and inspiration’. The music is composed in such a way that each player’s part is a complete story, and this interlinking counterpoint creates the needed human complexity. From the musical elements of tempo, rhythm, harmony, melodic line and tonal colour emerge sensations of movement, weightlessness, the in and out flow of breath, and from that a set of internal states-of-being which cannot be described in words. Andrew Sterman fellow performers include violinist Todd Reynolds, pianist Mick Rossi and bass-player Kermit Driscoll. This work is clearly a labour of love for all involved and this meditative music forms a moving and sensitive tribute to Gandhi’s enormous human achievement.
WOOD AND WIRES PETER FOSTER LIGNUM CD001
Wood and wires is an intriguing collection of pieces that combines and juxtaposes instruments from the single reed family, with sounds created electronically. The seven pieces in the collection use different combinations of woodwind timbre, and each modifies or adds to the woodwind palette with synthesized sounds, samples, or electronic effects and processes. Sometimes the aim is to arrive at a homogeneous blend of sound; sometimes an element of incongruity is retained. The pieces do not have individual titles, only numbers, but this does not imply that they should be understood as movements of a single, longer work; it is more an allusion to the additive processes that feature in some of the pieces. Some of these are structural (e.g. ground bass), some are textural, (canons, polyrhythms), and some are rhythmic (expanding bar lengths and phrase lengths). There was no deliberate intention to produce a ‘crossover’ album; nevertheless, in importing sound sources from popular musical genres, Foster found other elements of the idiom had arrived in the same package. Peter Foster studied music at the Queen's College, Oxford, then as a postgraduate at Reading University. He currently teaches music at a large comprehensive school in Oxfordshire and is also an active church musician, having composed many choral and vocal pieces. Often the music on this CD combines lightness with wistful playfulness to pleasing and unusual effect. More of Peter Foster’s music can be found at his website at www.ptfoster.com.
PAUL LANSKY – ETUDES AND PARODIES BRIDGE 9222
Paul Lansky was born in New York in 1944 and is one of the world’s finest electronic and computer music composers. Formerly a student of George Perle, Milton Babbitt and Edward Cone, Lansky has been a professor of composition at Princeton University since 1990 and as well as creating his own music is a pioneer in the development of computer music languages for algorithmic composition (Cmix). His works are mostly based on speech and ambient sounds where the computer is used as an ‘aural microscope’, capturing details of our everyday sound-world and revealing new aspects to it. This new disc finds the composer moving away from ‘computer music’ to present the first recordings of three major works for acoustic instruments. Lansky's fine ear for harmony and his restless and energetic rhythmic sense carry over from much of his earlier music, but in these new works there is a subtlety that seems to have inspired the interpreters heard here. ‘Etudes and Parodies’ for horn trio was the winner of the International Horn Society’s 2005 composition competition. Composed for horn virtuoso, William Purvis, the set of seven movements is actually a series of etudes based on all the things the horn does well: long round tones, staccato/legato alternate tonguing, large ascending leaps, rapid and round staccato, natural harmonics, fast and close jazz-like licks, and finally, soulful singing. The ‘Parodies’ include gypsy-like music, funk, film-noir and various references to horn player’s practice rooms. ‘Semi-Suite’ was composed for the guitarist David Starobin. Its six movements are loosely based around its baroque namesakes, though Lansky’s idiomatic guitar writing shows the influence of such finger-style guitarists as Merle Travis. ‘Ricercare Plus’, written for the Brentano Quartet, includes references to early baroque and late renaissance part writing with non-vibrato sustained, overlapping lines and rapid contrapuntal configurations. This adventurous and affecting music marks an intriguing new direction for one of the most interesting of modern American composers.
REIKI CHANTS – JONATHAN GOLDMAN SPIRIT MUSIC JSG2233
Reiki is an increasingly popular form of spiritual practice for the treatment of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual diseases. It was developed in early 20th century Japan by Mikao Usui, who said he received the ability of ‘healing without energy depletion’ after three weeks of fasting and meditating on Mount Kurama. Practitioners use a technique similar to the laying on of hands as well as gestures in the air, which they say will channel ki energy from a disembodied spirit or spirits. This energy then flows through their palms to bring about healing. Reiki Chants is a beautiful choral album with lush vocals and light instruments, designed to enhance specific aspects of Reiki energy for amplified physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness and healing. The different chants are each encoded with the energy of the Reiki symbols. Jonathan Goldman is an authority in the field of sound healing and a pioneer in the field of harmonics. He has appeared on Grammy Award-winning recordings, published many books, and been named ‘one of the Top 5 Most Popular New Age Musicians of All Time’ by New Age Retailer. Reiki Chants is the first album to use Kotodama (an ancient oriental system of sound healing) to create the sounds that encode and manifest the power and energy of the Reiki symbols for accelerated healing, meditation and relaxation. The uplifting music features male and female voices with harp, tambura, koto, violin and gentle keyboards. Extensive liner notes on the creation and uses of this recording are included so you don’t need to be a Reiki practitioner in order to enjoy its relaxing and healing energy. This peaceful and calming music is perfect for easing general stress and helping you to dropping off to sleep at night. Other Jonathan Goldman albums to look out for include Frequencies (JSG2211), Medicine Buddha (JSG1177) and the best-selling Chakra Chants (JSG1133).
BETWEEN TWO - ANTI ATLAS ONE LITTLE INDIAN RECORDS TPLP779CD
Anti Atlas is the collaborative name of two exceptional talents: classically trained composer Ned Bigham and producer Chris Hufford. Their rather eclectic credits include composing brass fanfares for Southwark Cathedral, staging electroacoustic and acoustic performances at the ICA and Barbican, drumming for Neneh Cherry, producing early Radiohead tracks and co-writing dance hits in the USA. Classical fans may recognise the influences of Mahler, Debussy, Bruckner, Dvorak, Suk, Holst and Puccini, whilst others will be more familiar with hints of Groove Armada and Brian Eno. Between Two is the second album from Anti Atlas and the first of their two releases on the independent label One Little Indian. By combining electronica, subtle beats and epic orchestral soundscapes, Anti Atlas have created a luxurious and evolutionary form of music. The ten tracks include original writing as well as cleverly incorporated samples and orchestral extracts from late nineteenth and early twentieth century classical masterpieces. Mapudah opens with shimmering orchestral colouring accompanied by fast jazz grooves out of which samples of Debussy’s ballet Jeux subtly emerge. His signature parallel and augmented intervals are perfectly integrated adding eerie overtones; the rich textures of electronic and orchestral sounds work magnificently together. Similarly Nablus, a string based track, pays hypnotic homage to Mahler’s celebrated 9th Symphony. Anti Atlas use a vast range of sounds and expert instrumentation and programming throughout the album, from the slightly sinister reed and brass opening of Coro to the calmly beautiful simplicity of the piano writing in Melilla (the only track without beats), and the fresh and subtle orchestration of harp, autoharp and piano in Sefrou. Other highlights include the intriguing Ifrane (parts 1, 2 and 3), Azrou and the dreamy, Holst-like Bouira. This inspired combination of classical sounds and electronica creates a luminously magical world in which to travel and reflect.
LADISLAUS HORATIUS - LIFE´S A BEACH NOSAG CD 2126
The Swedish philosopher Ladislaus Horatius has been working as a composer and pianist for many years. This fascinating double CD (full title ‘Life’s a beach…and then you swim’), is filled with his music from 30 years of exploration among the oddities of our world. The release also contains a DVD-style booklet with photographs as well as the musical and philosophical thoughts of Ladislaus Horatius. This is innovative and thought-provoking music performed by Ladislaus Horatius (piano, synthesizers, programming, vocals), Björn Haugan (vocals, jodel), Ulrik Qvale (vocals), Lars Cleveman (vocals), Magnus Lanning (cello), Dan Laurin (recorders), Stefan Nilsson (synthesizer), Niklas Sjöberg (electric guitar), Magnus Lindman (recitation), Stockholm String EnsembleNövér Sisters & Heidi, Helmut und Wellgunde (backing vocals), Diana Nuñez, Inger Ohlén (backing vocals), Lars Beijbom (drums), Mad Dogs and Hungarians (demo group) and Frankie Goes to Bayreuth (cover group). Strange and intriguing sounds that weave a hypnotic spell.
PHILLIP SCHROEDER - MOVE IN THE CHANGING LIGHT INNOVA 655
The American composer Phillip Schroeder, born in 1956, has written a good deal of fascinatingly complex yet accessible music for orchestra, wind ensemble, live electronics, chamber ensembles, choir, instrumental solos and voice. Among his influences the most significant are Taoism and daily meditations, clearly in evidence on this latest CD of premiere recordings of seven new works. Schroeder plays piano, synthesizer, electric bass and percussion, and is joined on some tracks by the superb baritone Robert Best, cellist Daniel Cline and the young lyric soprano Amy McGinty. The CD opens with Move in the Changing Light 2, featuring multi-track soprano, five pianos with digital delays and synthesizer to create a mesmerisingly beautiful and spacious soundscape. There is also the original version of this work, which has the same instrumentation without the soprano. The other works on this album include Rising, See the Invisible (for baritone, cello, two pianos with digital delays, synthesizer, and vibraphone), Where Joy May Dwell (two pianos and two pianos with digital delays), Make a Distinction (pianos and synthesizer), The Patience It Contains (two pianos, one piano with digital delays, synthesizer, and suspended cymbal), This We Have (soprano, three pianos, one piano with digital delays, synthesizer, and electric bass. Phillip Schroeder’s ethereal music, sometimes reminiscent of Satie or Debussy, is wonderfully opulent and and rich in subtle detail. See also Songs of My Affinities.
BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH - SHADOWTIME NMC D123
The acclaimed British composer Brian Ferneyhough is best known for his orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal and piano works. Shadowtime, with a libretto by Charles Bernstein, is a ‘thought opera’ based on the work and life of the Jewish philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940). Benjamin was born in Berlin and died on the Spanish border while trying to escape Nazi Germany. In seven scenes, Shadowtime explores the major themes of Benjamin’s work, including connections between history, time, transience, timelessness, language and melancholy; the possibilities for a transformational leftist politics; the interconnectivity of language, things and the cosmos; and the role of dialectical materiality, aura, interpretation and translation in art. Beginning on the last evening of Benjamin’s life, Shadowtime projects an alternative course for what happened on that fateful night. This is a challenging and exuberant work by one of the world’s most adventurous and interesting composers. This double CD release is from a BBC recording of the July 2005 production at ENO and was recorded in collaboration with BBC Radio 3. The performers include Jurjen Hempel (conductor), Nicolas Hodges (Piano, speaker) and Mats Scheidegger (guitar). ‘Music of wonderful detail, with sometimes an extraordinarily powerful charge. Beneath his tangled modernist rigour Ferneyhough hides a passionate commitment to expression’ - The Guardian.
NICK DAVIS - CANDESCENCE ND009
Australian composer/pianist Nick Davis’s follow up to his previous album, Tales of a Summer Past, features sampled instruments from the East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra library and East West PMI Bösendorfer 290 piano library. Sampling this way means that Davis has total control of the music and can produce albums more economically than using live musicians. Candescence is Davis’s most ambitious project yet and the most classical-influenced. He uses strings and brass to create a laid-back yet elegant style, combining traditional musical structures with advanced technology. Outstanding tracks include the gleeful Forever More, Flight To Freedom, the spare and lovely In My Heart, Yearning, A Lover’s Lament (almost a concerto in itself), the brilliant Return of the Brave, Lullaby For Madeline (a sensitive piano solo), and the mighty finale, The Fallen, featuring a virtual eighty-piece orchestra. Candescence is fascinating album filled with impressive and accomplished sounds that will appeal to fans of New Age music in the classical/crossover style as well as many who prefer their music purely ‘classical’.
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR PERKINSON - A CELEBRATION CEDILLE CDR 90000 087
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004) studied at the Manhattan School of Music. He went on to compose and conduct scores for theatrical, television and documentary feature films (including A Warm December, starring Sidney Poitier), and also composed and arranged for jazz and popular artists such as Harry Belefonte and Marvin Gaye. He conducted orchestras all over the world and was music director or composer-in-residence for the Negro Ensemble Company, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem and several theatre groups. This versatile African American composer and conductor was co-founder of the Symphony of the New World and for a while was pianist for the Max Roach Jazz Quartet. This CD celebrates the life of innovative composer with world premiere recordings of orchestral, chamber, and solo instrumental works that showcase Perkinson’s distinctive blend of Baroque counterpoint; energetic, streamlined American Romanticism; elements of blues, spirituals, and black folk music; and a rhythmic ingenuity all his own. Performances are by the Chicago Sinfonietta and conductor Paul Freeman, Chicago’s New Black Repertory Ensemble Quartet, and distinguished soloists such as Ashley Horne and Rachel Handlin (violins), Renée Baker (viola) and Edward Moore (cello). The seven works include Perkinson’s early Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings (reminiscent of both Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland), Grass (based on a poem by Carl Sandburg) and Quartet No. 1. This is accessible and resonant music that successfully fuses classical traditions with black musical styles such as spirituals and jazz.
THE COMPLETE 10-INCH SERIES FROM COLD BLUE COLD BLUE MUSIC CB0014
This boxed set of three CDs is reissue of the popular series of seven 10-inch vinyl extended-play discs that were released by Cold Blue in the early 1980s, during the label’s first incarnation. The adventurous music is wide-ranging in style, including process-driven works, carefully through-composed pieces, ambient soundscapes, and music that draws on influences from around the world. The instrumentation is also varied, with compositions for violins accompanied by gourd rattles to an ensemble of clay ocarinas and whistles and flutes, to works for piano (solo and duo), synthesizers, singers, speaking voices, cello, electric guitar and clarinet. One piece is, uniquely, for pedal steel guitar accompanied by multiple dobros. The groundbreaking composers revisited are Peter Garland (Matachin Dances), Michael Jon Fink (including Vocalise and Veil for Two Pianos), Barney Childs (Clay Music), Read Miller (Mile Zero Hotel and The Blueprint of a Promise), Chas Smith (After, Santa Fe, October ’68, and Scircura), Rick Cox (These Things Stop Breathing and Taken From Real Life) and Daniel Lentz (including Slow Motion Mirror and Dancing on the Sun). All the recordings were supervised by the composers and collectively make up an unusual and satisfying musical document of the place and time. ‘Decidedly cool - in hipness quotient and emotional temperament. Beguiling...’ - Santa Barbara Independent.
PHILIP GLASS - ORION ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0021
Composer Philip Glass joins his own performance ensemble and featured guests Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Mark Atkins, Ashley MacIsaac, Wu Man, Gaurav Mazumdar, Foday Musa Suso, UAKTI and conductor Michael Riesman, in this recording of the premiere of Orion. The work was originally created for the 2004 Olympiad in Athens by Glass in collaboration with Mark Atkins, Ashley MacIsaac, Wu Man, Ravi Shankar, Foday Musa Suso and UAKTI. This dynamic piece reflects upon how all the earth’s many cultures share an awe and appreciation of the starry night time skies. Orion, the largest constellation in the night sky, can be seen at all times of year, from both hemispheres. Almost every civilisation has created myths and drawn inspiration from Orion, and the musicians and composers here used part of this inspiration to aid them in their creative task. The first disc of this two-CD set, begins with the spooky sound of an Australian didgeridoo, leading to a virtuoso pipa piece by the Chinese musician, Wu Man. In ‘Canada’, Ashley MacIsaac’s Cape Breton violin piece is part melodic folk tune and part energetic Celtic jig. Foda Musa Suso’s African kora can be heard in ‘Gambia’ and ‘Brazil’ features Glass’ trademark vocalise. ‘India’ has the wonderful Sitar-playing of Gaurav Mazumdar and ‘Greece’ the folkish voice of Eleftheria Arvcanitaki. This is a fascinating work by one of the founders of American Minimalism, whose output includes theatre, film, ballet and orchestral scores, as well as symphonies based on the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno.
MASASHI HARADA CONDANCTION ENSEMBLE EMANEM 4108
According to the sleevenotes for this CD, ‘The human body and the musical instrument contain musical memory from the collective continuum of the tradition or milieu in which they were born and conditioned. This memory takes many forms, some internal and some external (such as notational and oral literature). Musical instruments and objects have accumulated external memory in their physical bodies, and it remains present in their current shapes and usages’. Condanction, emphasising music of body rather than music of memory, is essentially a collective feedback mechanism in which movements stimulate the musician’s physical impulse and the sound, and the sound then initiates a new movement. The intention is to ‘let the materiality of the sound weave by itself and flow in its own direction’. Focusing on music of body in this way leads to a synthesis of the subject/object relationship in music, erasing the barriers between musician and audience or creator and perceiver. The results of this adventurous exploration can be heard here on nine tracks that include the resonant Enterprising Mass of Cilia, Physio-Mechanical Pulse, a powerful Element of Resistance, and Distance Propitiate.
NEVER STOPS TO WAIT - SUNWRAE MOVE MCD 286
Rae Howell, otherwise known as Sunwrae, is an Australian freelance musician, composer and performer. A multi-instrumentalist on piano, vibraphone, trumpet, mellophone, glockenspiel and vocals, she also performs with various instrumental ensembles. Her inventive and accessible work fuses classical and minimalist techniques with improvised elements to create eclectic textures and rhythmical intricacy. Never Stops to Wait, her outstanding debut album, features five of her compositions, performed by some of Australia’s best musicians who are part of the evolving Sunwrae Ensemble. Tracks include a mellifluous extended centrepiece called Decipher the Crooked Ways. Other elegant works here include The Sweeper, Far Away Castle, Never Stops to Wait and While I’m Waiting. The performers are Rae Howell (piano and vibraphone), Natalia Mann (harp), Karen Heath (clarinet and bass clarinet), Joel Bloom (lap-steel guitar), Néda Rahmani (percussion), Alies Sluiter (violin), Tamil Rogeon (violin), Louise Woodward (viola), Caerwen Martin (cello) and Luke Richardson (double bass). Rae Howell’s deceptively simple music is reflective, soothing and driven by the pulse of life.
ANTHONY GILBERT - ON BEHOLDING A RAINBOW NMC D105
Anthony Gilbert was born in London in 1934 and worked as a translator and interpreter before coming to composition late, studying with Mátyás Seiber, Anthony Milner and Alexander Goehr. He became known in the 1960s through a series of vibrant virtuoso works for small ensembles and has since written a wide range of music, including operas, string quartets and adventurous pieces for chamber orchestra. An uncompromising and individual composer, sometimes influenced by Indian music, he was, until his recent retirement, Head of Composition and Contemporary Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Gilbert’s major work of the 1990s was a highly-acclaimed violin concerto called On Beholding a Rainbow, originally commissioned by the BBC. This new disc features a first-class recording of this entrancing concerto performed by the young violinist Anthony Marwood with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Garry Walker. The CD also includes two rewarding new works, Unrise and ...Into the gyre of a madder dance, as well as a live recording of this unjustly neglected composer’s haunting song-cycle, Certain Lights Reflecting. The latter is played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Davis, with mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley as soloist.
ENCORES - STOCKHOLM SAXOPHONE QUARTET PHONO SUECIA PSSACD 146
The innovative Stockholm Saxophone Quartet (Sven Westerberg, Jorgen Pettersson, Leif Karlborg and Per Hedlund) have been playing and performing together for almost twenty years. They specialise in chamber music for saxophone and have championed the work of composers from their home country Sweden as well as from abroad. The Quartet have had more than 400 works written for them, some of which involve advanced electro-acoustic music, and maintain close collaborations with many Swedish and foreign composers. The works here are by Daniel Nelson (Full Throttle), Dror Feiler (Ki), Jonas Bohlin (Deep Beeps), Karin Rhenqvist, Ingvar Karkoff (Tzivaeri), Johan Jeverud, Erik Forare, Arne Mellnas, Erland von Koch, Sten Melin, Sergej Dmitricv (Intrada), S Pat Simmerud (Soli), Jan W. Morthenson (Hymn/Chorale and Mats Larsson Gothe. This recording is issued in an SACD format that does full justice to the Quartet’s eloquent and stylish performances.
ARIA 3 - METAMORPHOSIS KOCH RECORDS KOC-CD-5765
This new release from Paul Schwartz fuses contemporary instrumentation and operatic melodies in a hypnotic style that is emotional and powerful. The music was conceived to sound as live and real as possible, featuring a large string orchestra and the soaring soprano voice of Rebecca Luker, and the way these are combined with relentless rhythms produces a unique and thrilling experience. Three of the pieces are based on works by Handel: Onbra Mai Fu, Lascia, and Furioso, and one on Monteverdi: Ascension. Ombra, Lascia and Ascension in particular have a floating, other-worldly character unlike anything Paul Schwartz has done before. KOCH Records has also reissued the previous best-selling Aria titles: Aria and Aria 2 - New Horizon. The music on these discs will not please the purist, veering as it sometimes does into Andrew Lloyd-Webber territory, but it may bring a new audience to classical music. And even the most curmudgeonly critic will find the joyous vitality of Furioso (especially in its instrumental mix) hard to resist.
CECIL TAYLOR - ALGONQUIN BRIDGE 9146
The remarkable pianist/composer Cecil Taylor was born in Long Island City in 1933. His early musical influences included Fats Waller, Bud Powell and Duke Ellington. In his many concert performances throughout the world, and on records, he frequently inspires his listeners into an ecstatic and involved response. Cecil Taylor’s music combines physical stamina with astonishing technical virtuosity. In 1999 he was commissioned by the American Library of Congress to write a piece for violin and piano, and his recording of this joyful work is captured here in the 18th volume of the Bridge series of Great Performances from the Library of Congress. He is joined by violinist Mat Maneri to perform an exhilarating version of a score that bridges the gap between jazz and classical music - between improvisation and notated music.
A LIFE IN THE DAY OF A MICROORGANISM CORPORATE BLOB RECORDS CBR 002
Monty python meets Frank Zappa in The primeTime sublime Community Orchestra (ptsCO), who perform music impossible to categorize. Skilled professional musicians, enthusiastic amateurs and a bank of computers combine to bring an entirely new sensibility to the often pretentious and self-absorbed world of modern music, pushing the limits of music style to the point of no return. The title piece on this latest album is a narrated pseudo-science education film (without picture) with music soundtrack and a supporting cast of digital actors. It consists of a Prelude about microorganisms (or humans?) for extraterrestrial adolescents (or humans?), followed by Morning (A breakfast scene tapestry of American TV commercial jingles from the 1950s and 60s warped beyond recognition, and Afternoon and Afterlife (continuing the absurd family saga). Instrumentation includes electric guitar, sitar, harp, percussion, strings, narrator and computer. The other works on this intriguing CD include Fashion Flag for a Part-Time Patriot (with references to 1960s Easy Listening, Chinese music, John Philip Sousa, 1950s TV Sitcom, Aaron Copland, Frank Zappa, Bugs Bunny and Igor Stravinsky) and Bimbo Mambo (Ricky Ricardo on acid, with occasional appearances by a group of evil robots).
PHILLIP SCHROEDER - SONGS OF MY AFFINITIES CAPSTONE CPS-8726
This album features four adventurous works composed by Phillip Schroeder. Eight Songs on Poems by Ogden Nash makes entertaining use of short witty texts that observe a feature of an animal, insect, or water creature, with each set in a clear, declamatory style. Spirits of the Dead presents a set of five poems by Edgar Allan Foe in one continuous movement, evoking the allusions presented in the texts - loneliness, secrecy, silence, solitude, visions, shadows and stillness. Songs of My Affinities is a set of six songs addressing three perennial Whitman themes: the highest virtues of humanity, our interdependence with nature, and the spiritual and mystical ground of all experience. The Infinite in Repose is a recitative for baritone and synthesizer. The musical setting follows the tradition of a vocal style designed to emphasize the natural declamations of speech through lyric melodies. Phillip Schroeder’s music is, as ever, audacious and thought-provoking, and the performers are Robert Best (baritone), Steven Becraft (clarinet), Stephen Feldman (violoncello), Rick Dimond (percussion), Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi (piano) and Phillip Schroeder (synthesizer).
PEACHY KEEN-O - BETH ANDERSON POGUS 21030-2
Beth Anderson is an American composer of acclaimed avant-garde works that have been performed internationally, as well as a critic, pianist and vocalist. Her speciality is music that uses words and phonemes to make a unique kind of vocal-percussive composition. This adventurous CD inludes nine works that feature among other things an auctioneer, a Kentucky farm with birds and clover, a jazz dancer, a quivering, vibrating, sexually tinged piece full of women saying supplication, a saint dying in flames, a drum piece about frustration, mother/daughter miscommunication, a pipe organ, and punk rap with overtones of yoga. Many of these compositions from 1973-1979 use words or parts of words to make either all or part of the music. Sometimes the music is derived from the words. Some of it is part of the genre known as text-sound. The title work, Peachy Keen-O, is an electro-acoustic piece of ‘haunted house music’ for female voices, organ, electric guitar, vibraphone, large membranophones and metalophones, improvisatory dancers, peach light and pre-recorded tape. This is an intriguing and often inspired album of truly avant-garde sounds.
CLASSICAL SPIRIT HIGHER OCTAVE MUSIC HOMCD 13138
Enigmatic and adventurous German producer, ‘The Brave’, has created a stylish album based on well-known classical pieces by composers such as Beethoven, Bach, Albinoni and Barber (the famous Adagio), together with ancient choral chants sung by nuns, Russian choirs, and modern musical elements. The results are mystical, contemporary, and eternal. Rather than simply adding the same old club beats and rhythms to classical music this recording cuts an innovative path through previously untrodden ambient musical territories to produce something fresh, exciting and sophisticated.
ARIAPHONICS - DMITRI SILNITSKY IGRAM MUSIC
On this ground-breaking album modern electronic sounds are combined with the lyricism of the Italian aria. Dmitri Silnitsky, the project’s producer, composer and arranger says that he ‘wanted to extend the idea of crossover and reach a wider audience by combining arias and great operatic singing with the sounds and moods of the concept albums of the 1970s’. He discovered that his ideas worked better by using the actual sounds of vintage, 1970s synthesizers and melletrons. A fine classic soprano (Gloria D’Amos) floats among electronic sounds to create a unique concept that may be another Russian breakthrough act to rival the worldwide success of the popular Tatu duo.
THE MUSIC OF ELLIOTT CARTER, VOL. 5 BRIDGE 9128
The nine challenging compositions on this fifth volume of Bridge's invaluable series features Elliott Carter works from 1994 to 2002, including premiere recordings of Steep Steps; a fine Oboe Quartet played by Speculum Musicae; Figment No. 2 "Remembering Mr. Ives", (with Fred Sherry, cello); Au Quai (Maureen Gallagher, viola, Peter Kolkay, bassoon); and Hiyoku (Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima, clarinets). Also included are Two Diversions (Charles Rosen, piano); the song cycle Of Challenge and of Love (Tony Arnold, soprano, Jacob Greenberg, piano); Figment No. 1 (Fred Sherry, cello); and Retrouvailles (Charles Rosen, piano). This outstanding album is a must for those interested in keeping up with the undimmed imagination and constant creative impulse of this American master, now well into his tenth decade.
CLARINET SONGS - DANIEL GOODE XI RECORDS XI 113
Daniel Goode's adventurous ‘Clarinet Songs’ is a remarkable 75-minute suite for solo clarinet which Goode began writing for himself in 1979, and reached its current form in 1991. The work uses all of the composer/performer's virtuosic techniques distilled into sixteen ‘Songs without Words’, made up of a series of individual pieces. Each creates a sound world of its own, based on unique material, perhaps a specific technical, poetic, or sonic idea, or some synthesis of these. Most use circular breathing for continuity and use alternate fingerings which produce non-tempered intervals with unusual, striking timbres. ‘Clarinet Songs are marked by deep emotion and a meditative virtuosity’ - Grove's Dictionary of American Music. ‘Daniel Goode is one of those rare spirits who never abandoned the purity of '60s conceptualism, and whose work has been too neglected since the country lurched in a more superficial direction - The Village Voice.
SAVAGE SONGS - JORGE ANTUNES POGUS 21027-2
This new release features remarkable works written from 1961 to 1970 by the composer Jorge Antunes. They include his Pequena Peça para Mi bequadro e Harmônicos, Valsa Sideral, Música para Varreduras de Freqüências, Fluxo Luminoso para Sons Brancos I, Contrapunctus contra Contrapunctus, Três Estudos Cromofônicos, Canto Selvagem, Movimento Browniano, Canto do Pedreiro, Cinta Cita, Auto-Retrato sobre Paisaje Porteño and Historia de um Pueblo por Nacer or Carta Abierta a Vassili Vasilikos y a todos los Pesimistas. This is adventurous, uncompromising electro-Acoustic music that may not be for everyone but should prove highly rewarding to those prepared to listen with open ears and mind.