Today Navona and Ravello Records release five PARMA-produced projects: THE FAIR OPHELIA, FOUR QUARTETS OF SONGS & ARIAS, ICE & FIRE, STRANGE FLOWERS, and AN EVOLVING CYCLE. Click “Read more” for information about the releases, sound samples, and links to the catalog page.
Releases on Navona:
The Shakespeare Concerts Series: THE FAIR OPHELIA
THE FAIR OPHELIA, the second installment on Navona Records’ Shakespeare Concerts Series, features works by composer Joseph Summer that are inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark! With Shakespeare’s texts accompanied with music by Brahms, Strauss, Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, and Joseph Summer, this album for vocal and chamber music consists of diverse settings that present the listener with an opportunity to hear Ophelia in a three dimensional perspective. Summer’s works have been described as “[varying] in mood and compositional technique from piece to piece, but always beautifully expressive and deeply emotional” (Shakespeare Matters).
FOUR QUARTETS OF SONGS & ARIAS
FOUR QUARTETS OF SONGS & ARIAS, the debut Navona release by composer Roger Bourland, takes us on a touching journey by way of works for voice (Juliana Gondek) and piano (William Lumpkin). The album features four song cycles, each a four song set depicting a range of emotion and feeling. “Four Apart Songs” depict the agony of being apart from something or someone, both physically and emotionally. “Four End Songs” express the notion of endings in a variety of contexts. “Four Marian Songs” tenderly describe two Marian apparitions–remarkable images of the Virgin, and “Four Xmas Songs” provide humorous relief about secular Christmas as a contrast to the emotional nature of the rest of the works on the album.
ICE & FIRE, the debut Navona Records album by Stephen Scott, showcases a variety of works for bowed piano. The album features The Bowed Piano Ensemble, an experimental piano group based at Colorado College in Colorado Springs that was founded by Scott. The ten players of The Bowed Piano Ensemble conjure from one open grand piano a multiplicity of sounds with long, singing lines, sustained drones, chugging accordion-like figures, crisp staccato tones reminiscent of clarinets, deep drum tones and more, often simultaneously, to create a rich, contrapuntal new chamber music tapestry.
ICE & FIRE features six compositions by Scott for the ensemble including Afternoon of a Fire, written for bowed piano and improvised Native American flute in memory of the wildfire that resided in his native Colorado. The album also includes experimental works that interpret the concept of drones, a piece with five miniatures for bowed piano, and Scott’s first written piece for voice and bowed piano.
Releases on Ravello:
Joyous and energetic, sad and lyrical, images of light and cascading colors–these varied striking moods can all be used to describe composer Kirk O’Riordan’s six chamber works on his premiere Ravello Records release, STRANGE FLOWERS. The six pieces on the album tell a story together, captivating the audience with its accessible but nuanced sound.
O’Riordan is a professor of composition and music theory at Lafayette College, as well as conducts the student concert band, which has performed many pieces from O’Riordan’s challenging repertoire. O’Riordan is the recipient of numerous awards as both a composer and a performer, and performances of his music have been heard nationally and internationally at festivals, conferences, and in recital by performers such as Timothy McAllister, Frederick Hemke, the Aura Chamber Ensemble, duoARtia, Steven Stusek, AVIDduo, Lawrence Stomberg, and Holly Roadfeldt.
AN EVOLVING CYCLE
Musical idioms have changed and adapted over the centuries. AN EVOLVING CYCLE, Gheorghe Costinescu’s second Ravello release features four works for solo piano in which the composer explores the transition of these idioms from Baroque to 21st-century contemporary, charting the evolution of form and technique with a deft control of style. Stephen Gosling, a ubiquitous NYC pianist hailed as “brilliant” and “luminous and poised” (New York Times), performs the four works: Theme and Variations, an energetic, virtuosic, and challenging piece with a chorale-like theme; Sonata for the Piano, a combination of classical sonata and variational forms with elements, toward the end, of ragtime and jazz; Evolving Cycle of Two-Part Modal Inventions for Piano, a multi-part piece whose character, from simple to complex and from traditional to innovative, sets the tone for the entire album; and Essay in Sound, a reflection of Costinescu’s own experience, thoughts, and feelings regarding the piano.