New Releases Out on Navona, Ravello, and Big Round Records



Pierre Schroeder

On his debut Navona Records release VOYAGE, composer Pierre Schroeder presents a captivating sonic journey that takes listeners on winding highways, through arid and spacious deserts, along the shores of crashing waves, into desolate and snow-covered lands, through episodes of adventures, mishaps, discoveries, and losses. 
Using a variety of musical styles, including jazz, blues, and folk idioms, while still grounded in classical form, the 11-piece adventure begins with an intense and busy departure in Highway I, like rush hour traffic, driven by a relentless triplet melody. Fluid and nocturnal images are encountered in the jazzy Bleu Nuit, followed by lyrical images of the wandering strides of the nomadic Romani people in Gypsy. The expedition continues with the serene and longing duet of Shores, the fugue-like whirl of Vertigo, the delicate and moody guitar passages of Lowland, and the sensuous dreaminess of Morning Veil. The suite concludes with Snow, an austere and moving piece evoking the inevitability of individual snowflakes disappearing into the “grand harmony.” Almost every journey we commit to undertaking is an opportunity for discovery, and Schroeder’s VOYAGE is no exception, offering listeners a fresh, intimate, and exciting excursion through a world real and imagined. Read More

La Mandragore

Tireless seafarers, the Vikings roamed and traded across the known world from Iceland to the Mediterranean Sea, flourishing as a culture, creating mythical stories, and influencing a number of European traditions.

La Mandragore, a historical five-member ensemble from Québec, Canada, imagines the music of the Vikings had they had the time and leisure to notate it. Playing folk instruments from the Mediterranean and Scandinavian regions, and singing songs and tales in Swedish, Norwegian, Old Norse, and French, the ensemble presents an authentic and eclectic collection of Viking-inspired music on their debut Big Round Records release, MIDGARD. Read More

Michael Calvert | Matthew Marshall

On their debut Ravello Records release, RHAPSODY ON A RIFF, New Zealand composer Michael Calvert and guitarist Matthew Marshall present original works for solo guitar that display the versatility, dynamic range, and earthy timbre of the instrument, while developing a unique musical language influenced by serialism, New Zealand culture, and the guitar’s tradition in several genres, from classical and folk to rock, jazz, and pop music.

The title track treats a well-known passage from the rock group Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, while Lascivious Pleasing elaborates on phrases from John Dowland’s Flow My Tears and the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood. Written for the 2008 film Flesh in Ecstacy, Gaston Amoureux is based on the inversion of segments of the opening of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. Calvert applies Japanese musical structures in Suma, which is inspired by episodes from The Tale of Genji. Read More

James M. Stephenson | Western Illinois University Faculty Chamber Players, Mike Fansler (conductor)

Using Igor Stravinsky’s final percussion solo from L’histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) as inspiration, James M. Stephenson’s theatrical narrative, THE DEVIL’S TALE, picks up right where Stravinsky leaves off. But on this Ravello Records release, the protagonist, Joseph, wakes up at the final drum-stroke and realizes that the Stravinsky was all a dream. He is relieved to still be in Las Vegas with Hannah, his showgirl girlfriend, at his side, where the story begins to unfold. The dramatic and astute plot about Joseph, a pit musician, and Hannah centers around their attempt to escape the city by tricking Sam, a devilish blackjack dealer and Hannah’s manager. Teeming with deceit, temptation, and revenge, the narrative is a confrontation between the natures of good and evil, in which the Devil is played at his own game of guile. Infused throughout with clever palindromes, the story comes full circle by ending just where the Stravinsky begins: on a “hot and dusty road.” Stephenson’s work is captivatingly performed by the Western Illinois University Faculty Chamber Players, conducted by Mike Fansler. Read More

Various Artists

14 concerts, 12 venues, 4 days. The 2014 PARMA Music Festival featured a diverse range of events, from concert performances of orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, and jazz groups, to an outdoor presentation of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and panel discussions about music licensing and multimedia composition, 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 PARMA Mobile. Ensembles include the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, the LUNAR Ensemble, cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, bass clarinetist Matthias Mueller, Qwill, OURBIGBAND, and many more in works by Juan Álamo, Joseph Summer, Sergio Cervetti, Paul Osterfield, Ingrid Stölzel, Michael Mikulka, Rain Worthington, José Elizondo, and Sophie Dunér. Read More

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