My favorite day! Release day! Today marks the release of eight incredible albums on Navona, Ravello, and Big Round Records. From choral works, to an opera, to harp improvisation, to a live recording, this month’s release slate showcases some of the best and innovative works in today’s contemporary music scene. Click “read more” to hear more about our classical, jazz, opera, and live recorded albums.
EVOLUTION, the debut release from composer and performer Svjetlana Bukvich on Big Round Records, showcases six original electro-acoustic compositions that incorporate elements of prog-rock, avant-garde, experimental, jazz, and world music. Integrating cutting-edge technology with tuning of her own design and her deep classical roots, Bukvich’s hybrid sound tells stories of love, loss, trial and triumph in a bold yet sensuous style, breaking boundaries every step of the way.
Featuring renowned musicians from all over the world that are versed in many genres, including bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson), guitarist Mordy Ferber (Michael Brecker, Miroslav Vitous), and electric violist Martha Mooke (Lou Reed) and infused with a potent dose of magic realism, EVOLUTION delivers a uniquely musical universe in which concert hall and club, urban and rural, sacred and secular, and political and anarchistic seamlessly connect. EVOLUTION was mixed by the multiple Grammy award-winning team David Frost and Tom Lazarus. Read More
EK IS EIK
EK IS EIK, the debut Big Round Records release for critically acclaimed Dutch composer and harpist Anne Vanschothorst, features works for contemporary classical harp with a distinctly jazz twist. By way of solo harp pairing with instruments such as the trumpet, viola da gamba, percussion, and bass, Vanschothorst’s music mirrors her passion for experimentation and eclecticism. EK IS EIK takes listeners on a journey of thoughts and memories, and appeals to the profound within the listeners: imagination, emotion, truth, and beauty.
The album features trumpeter Saskia Laroo, gambist Ernst Stolz, bassist Bob van Luijt, and percussionist Arthur Bont alongside the composer herself. Vanschothorst says regarding her collaborators, “These musicians have great amounts of musical whimsy; I can give a certain idea or guideline, but they are still going their own way in the composition or improvisation.” Recorded in her home studio, the harp was recorded separately with the rest of the instruments being overdubbed, giving each artist the opportunity to create their own musical narrative while reacting to Vanschothorst’s harp. Read More
With a variety of musical flavors pulled from composers spanning Keiko Abe to Bach to Bill Evans, MARIMJAZZIA, composer and marimbist Juan Álamo’s debut album on Big Round Records delivers a satisfying plate of music for the soul. Along with arrangements of two jazz standards, Waltz for Debby and Afro Blues, the album features original compositions for marimba and percussion ensemble by the composer. As to the concept behind the album, Álamo says, “It is a reflection of who I am as a human being and a synthesis of all the different musical influences and experiences I have had throughout my career.” With accompaniments by the UNC Percussion Ensemble, MARIMJAZZIA brings together the warm airs of Álamo’s native Puerto Rico and the influences that have kept his passion flourishing. Read More
Drawing from a diverse set of genres and stylistic sources including atonal, folk, chant, dance, and more, Alexandra Ottaway’s solo Navona Records debut TETRAHEDRON DREAMS presents a singular and striking listening experience. “This release is an indicator of my general return to a more atonally-driven language,” says Ottaway, who began composing in 1980. “I’ve been a performer my whole life, in a variety of settings and ensemble types, and I always try to keep in mind what will be engaging for both audiences and players.”
Idiosyncratic yet focused in its approach and execution, the Merlin Études utilizes Ottaway’s application of serial-atonal technique, taking its twelve-tone row from Messiaen’s flute and piano piece Le Merle Noir. Read More
FINE MUSIC VOL. 5
Navona Records’ new installment of the FINE MUSIC series presents a deep cross-section of the label’s wide-ranging and provocative 2013/2014 release slate, featuring performances by the Grammy-nominated New York Polyphony, Ensemble Dal Niente, cellist Chris Wild, Grammy-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, the Apollo Chamber Players, and many more in works by Hindemith, DeGaetano, Hodkinson, Ramette, Stevens, Williams, Bakker, Rotolo, Vines, Sternfeld-Dunn, Brown, Tarlow, and others. Read More
PARMA MUSIC FESTIVAL LIVE 2013
10 concerts. 7 venues. 3 days. The inaugural PARMA Music Festival in 2013 featured more than 100 composers and performers in works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, and jazz groups, as well as improvised collaborations between indie rockers and classical instrumentalists. This release collects some of the finest performances from the Festival, as recorded by the PARMA Recordings production team.
Ensembles include the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, the PARMA Orchestra, cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, the Portsmouth Music & Arts Jazz Ensemble, and many more in works by Alberto Ginastera, Martin Schlumpf, Sergio Cervetti, Robert A. Baker, Jim Rhinehart, Adam O’Dell, Mei-Fang Lin, Jessica Rudman, Kirsten Volness, and Constantin Dimitrescu. Read More
Marie Nelson Bennett
ORPHEUS LEX is composer Marie Nelson Bennett and librettist David Kranes’ modern retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Setting Orpheus as a popular folk singer retired in a mountain retreat in Idaho, Bennett–a protégé of Paul Hindemith and a milestone in her field–uses her influences and years of experience to bring the tale to life. Alongside Kranes’ libretto, the work spins the classic tale into one of remembrance and looking back into time with a poignant twist. This album presents a live recording of the work, performed by narrator Nathan Bahny, The Artemis Chamber Ensemble, and the acclaimed New York Virtuoso Singers under conductor Harold Rosenbaum, with baritone Dave Arnold and soprano Wendy Baker. Read More
Illustrating the impact of Appalachian folk music on his often unconventional yet appealingly direct style, APPALACHIAN INSPIRATION, composer John Beall’s debut album on Ravello Records, features three piano and string pieces that display a strong, expressive grasp of folk tunes and traditional classical techniques.
Sonata for Viola and Piano (2003) uses a modified yet identifiable sonata form with its principal phrases taken from the folk song The Rejected Lover, while Beall’s muse for Quintet for Piano and Strings (2009) is Schubert, and his “Trout” Quintet utilizes the double bass as opposed to the more conventional second violin in the string quartet. Emulating this string ensemble, Beall presents a spirited yet tender four-movement piece, highlighting W.S. Merwin’s poem “December Among the Vanished.” In the final piece,Wondrous Love Variations (1999), Beall manipulates the popular American hymn Wondrous Love, reframing its simplicity with striking harmonies, driving rhythms, and references to another folk tune Tender Thought. Read More