This month we have two exceptional PARMA produced releases on our Navona and Ravello Records labels. In addition to these albums already receiving reviews and radio airplay, both of these composers’ works were performed at the PARMA Music Festival this past August. Streams by Martin Schlumpf was premiered with David Taylor, Matthias Müller, and the PARMA Orchestra, and Gregory Hall performed a few improvisational piano pieces. Both performances were excellent and a great teaser for their albums! Take a listen on Amazon, where the albums are available in CD and Mp3 formats.
Navona Records NV5918
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
Since the late 1980s, Swiss Composer Schlumpf has been widely active in the borderlands between improvisation and composition. With STREAMS, the follow-up to his 2012 Navona Records release SUMMER CIRCLE, Schlumpf presents three concertos that are representative of a creative period in his career marked by the influence of minimalism and jazz, new tonal concepts, a strong emphasis on rhythm, and clear-cut formal designs.
These colorful concertos— Mouvements, Waves, and Streams—feature stand-out performances from pianist Martin Levický, cellist Petr Nouzovský, clarinetist Matthias Müller, and bass trombonist David Taylor. The soloists are accompanied by the stellar Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra and the newly-formed PARMA Orchestra in their first on-disc performance. With diverse influences from Ravel, Schubert, and the ethnic music of Asia and Africa, the sonic world of STREAMS pits soloist(s) and orchestra in multi-tiered dialogues featuring an array of delicate minimalist textures, engaging improvisations, and rich harmonic colors.
COMPOSITIONAL IMPROVISATIONS: FROM THE MYSTERIA VOL. I
Ravello Records RR7870
COMPOSITIONAL IMPROVISATIONS: FROM THE MYSTERIA, VOL. 1 is Gregory Hall’s debut collection of improvisational classical music based on contemporary music theory, performed by the composer himself. Hall’s improvisations feature sprawling-yet-contained passages that weave in and out of harmonic motives, drifting away from centralized themes and seamlessly returning to the source material.
The tracks on COMPOSITIONAL IMPROVISATIONS draw from Hall’s live concerts of compositional improvisation, which harken back to the days when improvisation was commonplace in classical performance. The improvisations—driven by Hall’s desire to create spontaneous contemporary classical music that remains approachable—embraces both consonance and dissonance, and are informed by the spirit of the composer/pianists of the early 20th century.