November Releases out on Navona, Ravello, and Big Round Records

BELLE NUIT
NV5983
Kathryn Goodson, Randall Hawes, Timothy McAllister, Donald Sinta, Gail Williams

A stroll along the Seine – Notre Dame reflected in the waters below – the Eiffel Tower illuminated in evening skies – bistro conversations echoing in the streets of the Left Bank. Parisian scenes such as these come to mind when listening to the nuances of pianist Kathryn Goodson’s debut Navona Records release, BELLE NUIT, a collection of works from the La Belle Époque and beyond, with arrangements for piano and wind instruments. 

Presenting two programs, Sonate et Rhapsodie: 4 Major Works and Romance et Mélodie: 16 Miniatures, this album showcases the refined lyricism of bass trombonist Randall Hawes, saxophonists Timothy McAllister and Donald Sinta, and hornist Gail Williams. Combined with Goodson’s colorful pianism, these musicians express the imagery of love, loss, and passion with bel canto phrasing, through works by Debussy, Duparc, Fauré, Franck, Messiaen, and more. Read More

JOHN CAGE: SONATAS AND INTERLUDES / IN A LANDSCAPE
NV5984
Kate Boyd

On her debut Navona Records album, JOHN CAGE: SONATAS AND INTERLUDES / IN A LANDSCAPE, pianist Kate Boyd performs two pieces by John Cage (1912-1992) that exemplify his range of compositional intuition and invention. Sonatas and Interludes, one of Cage’s most substantial works, makes use of prepared piano, a concept created by Cage. Boyd says of the significance of Sonatas and Interludes, “This work bookends the piano as we know it today, grounding itself in a time before its inception and yet looking ahead to the creation of a new instrument and sound aesthetic.” A marriage of Baroque form and contemporary techniques as well as of Eastern philosophy and Western musical styles, this work is unique for performers since every performance varies due to the preparation of each instrument. While Sonatas and Interludes augments the piano’s sound, In a Landscape seeks to limit it. Influenced by Erik Satie, Cage’s latter work predates yet anticipates minimalism with its light, ethereal, and recurring themes. These two works showcase Boyd’s scope of technique, emotion, and dexterity on the piano. Read More

HAYDN AND THE ENGLISH LADY
NV5981
Patrick Hawkins

 

When listening to keyboardist Patrick Hawkins playing an 1831 William Geib square piano on his debut Navona Records release, HAYDN AND THE ENGLISH LADY, one can imagine men and women in elegant silk gowns and suits gathered in an opulently decorated drawing room of an 18th-century English estate. This collection of piano works by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and Maria Hester Park (1760-1813) illustrate the diversity and refinement of Classical repertoire.

Park, who received notable recognition as a pianist and harpsichordist in her teenage years, composed pieces which use skilled keyboard techniques, from the virtuosic 32nd-note passages and three-against-two patterns in Sonata in E-flat Major to the double-dotted rhythms and sighing gestures in A Waltz in E-flat Major. Haydn’s Sonata in D Major and Adagio in G Major were written during his second visit to London in 1794-95, the former thought to be written as a gift for Maria Hester Park. Throughout his performances, Hawkins exhibits control and stateliness, presenting these works in a renewed display of sophistication and delicacy. Read More

PARAGONIA
NV5982
Michael G. Cunningham

On his latest Navona Records release, PARAGONIA, composer Michael G. Cunningham explores ways in which the orchestra can interact with itself on several levels. Counter Currents presents contrary phrases and themes simultaneously stated while TransActions portrays dimensions of density, emphasizing orchestral blur and presenting gestures and passages that prompt interplay between the sections of the orchestra. In Cunningham’s Piano Concerto, the orchestra and piano are equally matched, using elements of stylized jazz and vocal-like passages to structure the themes. Highlighting textural and tonal fragmentation within the orchestra, his Trumpet Concerto demonstrates different conversational techniques among the voices, such as chatter, flippancy, and imitation. Read More

SOUND AND FURY
NV5978
Paul Osterfield



From the serenity of the Smoky Mountains to the abstraction and boldness of Kandinsky’s paintings, composer Paul Osterfield’s debut solo Navona Records album SOUND AND FURY pulls inspiration from several experiences which the composer translates into refined, stimulating, and expressive chamber pieces. 

Osterfield writes many of his pieces for particular performers and ensembles, giving his music unique personalities that reflect the virtuosic capabilities of the musicians. Sound and Fury, written for the Blakemore Trio, uses ornate passages and driving rhythms with soaring lyrical melodies, while Etudes for Piano, Book 1, written for pianist Caleb Harris, demonstrates various technical faculties such as parallel chords, syncopated rhythms, and blazing strings of notes. Works such as Smoky Mountain Autumn and Kandinsky Images depict the imagery of the natural landscapes of East Tennessee and the intense, often dark, and striking expressions of the painter’s pieces. Read More

SEA OF REEDS
NV5979
Gerald Cohen

The clarinet is an essential voice in many genres, from classical and jazz to klezmer and world music, and composer Gerald Cohen calls it one of his favorite instruments: “I love the clarinet for its wide variety of character and dynamics, and its ability to either blend beautifully with other instruments or to stand out in a crowd.” Through this affinity, the composer offers new compositions featuring the clarinet in various trio settings on his debut Navona Records release, SEA OF REEDS. 

Cohen’s dramatic and lyrical compositions explore the clarinet’s colorful personality with his particular blend of classical, Jewish, and jazz influences. Variously Blue is a vibrant group of variations on a twelve-bar blues pattern, highlighting an interplay between jazz and concert music; the title collection Sea of Reeds arranges five of Cohen’s Jewish vocal works, turning them into virtuosic clarinet showpieces. Yedid Nefesh, based on a delicate Sephardic song, explores both meditative and exuberant aspects of that melody, while the wide-ranging variations of Grneta Variations take advantage of the wonderful virtuosity and unique musical personalities of the three musicians of the Grneta Ensemble. Read More

LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET
NV5980
Mark Zanter

On his debut Navona Records release, LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET, composer Mark Zanter presents recently commissioned chamber works for strings. The inspiration for the title track comes from Rainer Maria Rilke’s letters to Franz Xaver Kappus, a correspondence in which his encouragement to a young poet becomes a vehicle for expressing his thoughts on the creative process and the transcendent qualities of art. 

Guitarist Júlio Alves comments: “In Letters to a Young Poet, Mark Zanter reveals through a complex mosaic of sonorities the correspondence between anguished apprentice Franz Kappus and disquiet Rainer Maria Rilke, a poet still wrestling to find his own artistic identity. The intricacies of the parts, individually and together, indicate that the role of each instrument in this correspondence was purposefully left undecided, allowing both the violin and the guitar to be either ‘the apprentice’ or ‘the poet.'” Read More

HALFLIGHT
RR7896
Kim Halliday

Composer and musician Kim Halliday is no stranger to the aesthetics of contemporary rock music, having a diverse background in punk, new wave, and ska. While his work in film composition draws on these influences and beyond, Halliday says his music is “designed to comfort and disturb in equal measure” like the moonlight illuminating a path through the forest, yet awakening shadow beings among the trees. 

His latest Ravello Records release, HALFLIGHT, portrays Halliday as a composer of our age, bringing together progressive rock, electronic and ambient music, and film music. Halliday uses a range of instruments at his disposal, from guitar and piano to sound loops and synthesizers to drum machines and narration. These works are entrenched in mystery, suggesting emotions that may be real or delusional. As does a track from a rock album, these pieces are easily self-sustaining and satisfying on their own, but they carry an atmosphere and tone of thrill and complexity which give them the ability to work within a number of film settings. Read More

CHAT CHILL HIGHLINE
BR8937
Christina Rusnak

On her debut Big Round Records release, CHAT CHILL HIGHLINE, composer Christina Rusnak presents works arranged for big band and large jazz ensemble, illustrating manners in which we interact with others and our environments such as conversing, observing, and absorbing. Composed during the rising popularity of internet chatrooms, Chat reflects on the energy and the sounds of movement, the multitude of voices, and the interweaving of conversations created in virtual and real social gatherings. Chill captures the cool ambience of a jazz lounge with an air of relaxation, mixed with lively sections of swinging rhythms and solos, while HighLine emphasizes the expansiveness which outdoor spaces can provide for reflection, contemplation, and wandering. In the hands of a controlled yet nimble large jazz ensemble, Rusnak’s works form their own atmospheres by threading intricate dialogues and phrases among the instruments. Read More

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