Common threads between art forms are woven into the creative process of exploring and expressing our shared experiences, emotions, and uncertainties. On her debut Navona Records release, BENEATH WINTER LIGHT, composer Heidi Jacob finds inspiration in film and poetry, as well as in music from past centuries, illustrating her faculty of expanding on timeless themes within modern compositional settings.
Inspired by subjects on the nature of existence, divinity, and love in Ingmar Bergman’s film Winter Light (1962), Jacob’s work for violin and piano, Winter Light, uses a combination of minimalist and 12-tone techniques to create an often mysterious and ominous interaction between the deliberate remarks of the piano and the fluid patterns of the violin. Regard á Schubert: a Fantasy Impromptu, incited by Franz Schubert’s Impromptu in C Minor, Op. 90, explores the idea of context, placing the initial motivic cell in various harmonic settings from Classical to 21st-century musical styles, while Fantasy surveys contrasts in texture, virtuoso gesture, and lyricism stemming from melodic elements in the opening material. The electroacoustic piece Salome Revisited uses reprocessed themes and spoken texts from Strauss’ Salome (1905) to build a cerebral and tense atmosphere that reflects the dark imagery in the opera. Read More
BETWEEN ROCK & A HARD PLACE
McCormick Percussion Group
Presenting contemporary works that blend multiple genres, from classical and avant-garde to heavy metal and world music, the McCormick Percussion Group, hailed as “a very skilled and important contemporary percussion ensemble” by Audiophile Audition, expands the boundaries and possibilities of the percussion ensemble’s repertoire on their latest Ravello Records release BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.
The title track, composed by Ciro Scotto, is a four-movement work that coalesces heavy metal and contemporary classical conventions, highlighting the connections between these two different yet similarly technical worlds of composition. Between Rock and a Hard Place-Unplugged substitutes electric and electronic instruments for classical guitar, contrabass, cello, and piano. Scotto says of his inspiration for this acoustic version, “Exploring the parallel dimension concept in Between Rock and a Hard Place-Unplugged allowed me to recompose the piece following ideas that did not develop in the original, so the new work is a complete rethinking and exploration of the material.” Read More
Few events happen that shock all living generations, causing them to never forget their memories. For many, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. is such an event. In 1970, composer Mary Ann Joyce-Walter wrote a piece in honor of King, Immortal Diamond, the title track on her release single on Ravello Records.
The form of this orchestral and choral work is modeled after Bach’s Passion of St. Matthew. While the work has excerpts from the Bible illustrating moments of Jesus’ life and death, these are not separated by chorales as in Bach’s Passion. Rather, these images are intertwined with “stream-of-consciousness” excerpts from 19th- and 20th-century texts, including Alice in Wonderland and selections from the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, T.S. Eliot, John L’Heureaux, Robert Frost, and others. The piece is a realization of the composer’s personal belief that the individual has a unifying spiritual connection to the suffering of Jesus Christ. Read More
VANGUARDS, VOL. 2
Ravello Records announces the second installment of its compilation series, VANGUARDS VOL. 2, presenting a deep cross-section of the label’s contemporary and eclectic catalog. The album features performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, pianist Gregory Hall, the McCormick Percussion Group, mezzo-soprano Elaine Huckle, the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Musica Viva, guitarist Alex Lubet, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and many more in works by contemporary composers including Mary Ann Joyce-Walter, Herbert Deutsch, Walter Ross, Rachel Lee Guthrie, Mark Vigil, Kim Halliday, Andrew May, Mel Mobley, Marga Richter, and others. Read More