The Inside Story: Debra Nagy and Les Délices

Les Délices, a Cleveland-based touring ensemble that explores the dramatic potential and emotional resonance of long-forgotten music, was founded by baroque oboist Debra Nagy in 2009. Nagy is one of North America’s leading performers on the baroque oboe who’s playing has been praised by the New York Times as “distinctly sensual…pliant, warm, and sweet.” Today Nagy is our next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists.

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When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/composer/creator?

I remember spending hours sweating away practicing Mozart in my bedroom the summer I was 14. It was the first time I remember being truly excited about music, about exploring and exploiting a world of sonic colors, about expression. It was like a switch got flipped that summer. Previously, music had been a recreation – one of many things that came easily to me. Suddenly, I was inspired to take up new and greater challenges and pursue collaborative musical experiences that I hadn’t really even been aware of before. I didn’t yet know path my future might take, but I increasingly felt the conviction that I had something to say as an artist. As a result, I felt compelled to immerse myself in as much music-making as possible – paying for my own lessons, transportation, instruments from that point forward…

What is your guilty pleasure?

I absolutely love to cook –, especially for others. Besides music, cooking is my primary creative outlet. Spending the better part of a day cooking for 6-8 people is a joy for me. I enjoy cooking’s performative elements, the cultivation of technique, improvisation, and creativity in conceiving and executing a meal, but (most importantly – and, as with musical performance) I relish sharing the fruits of my labor with others in a communal experience. I don’t know that that’s a “guilty” pleasure exactly…Ok, maybe raw foods are a guilty pleasure for me. I’ll never be able to say no to a dozen oysters on the half-shell with a beautiful mignonette or an immaculately prepared steak tartare!

If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?

Anywhere in France or Italy. There is so much great culture to appreciate – be it art, architecture, music, cuisine. I would love to spend a few weeks in a farmhouse in Normandy or cycling on country roads in Provence or spend an afternoon lolling about at a café people-watching on a piazza following a morning of fulfilling creative work.

Closer to home, I love our annual trips to the Redwoods in California – we hole up in a cabin for a few days where there’s (blissfully) crappy cell service, great wine, merciful quiet, and nature all around. It’s both a restorative and powerful environment.

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What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

My favorite musical moment on the album is one that I don’t personally play! For me, there’s almost no music more beautiful than the Entrée de Polymnie from Rameau’s opera Les Boréades.

What does this album mean to you personally?

There’s so much hard work and emotional investment that goes into bringing any album to completion (from conception, to planning, to fundraising, to rehearsing and recording, to listening and editing, then returning to conception, writing, design, etc.) that each album you make feels like a major milestone/accomplishment. For Age of Indulgence (Les Délices’ 3rd album – and our first for PARMA), the album represents at least five years of work, which began when I first started to program François-André Philidor’s unusual and delightful Quartets from the Art of Modulation on our concert series back in 2011. I love that the music on this album sort of falls between the cracks. It’s not quite Baroque but we’re not yet in the Classical period either. It represents a moment of stylistic experimentation, a sort of crossroads where so much seems possible.

Is there a specific feeling you want listeners to tune into when hearing your work?

I’m obsessed with the idea that Music is language and I think a lot about declamation in these instrumental works. Whether playing violins, viols, or oboe, we’re pronouncing words – paying attention to the various sounds of consonants and the subtle shading of vowels to make a compelling argument for the beauty and value of these little-known works. Can you hear our words?

Les Délices debut Navona Records album AGE OF INDULGENCE is available to purchase on Amazon, iTunes, ArkivMusic, and to stream on Spotify Friday, June 9th. 

The PARMA Album of the Day: SEPARATION

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Composer Paula Diehl’s released her double-album SEPARATION on Navona Records in June of last year. On this release,  Deihl represents the unique characteristics of each instrument featured to shine through in explorations of harmonic content and structure in a rich catalog of works for both small and large ensembles. Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review says “The set brings me a great deal of pleasure. I think it will do the same for anyone who appreciates the modern world of musical possibilities. I highly recommend it to you.”

Find SEPARATION on Amazon, iTunes, and on ArkivMusic.

April 2017 New Releases on Navona and Ravello Records!

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Happy Friday! Are you ready for another round of releases featuring new ensembles and artists, compilations, and re-releases? Well, take a deep breath and try to relax as you take in these big releases…


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DRESS CODE  |  Altius Quartet

A bold treat of fresh arrangements of popular staples, effortlessly combining the appeal of classical, jazz, and pop, in such pieces as Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir”; Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”; a-ha’s “Take on Me”; and a newer pieces Take It, an unlikely pairing of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.”

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  | Spotify


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REAWAKENING  |  Jeffrey Jacob

A collection of varied works for orchestra and chamber ensembles, showcasing composer Jeffrey Jacob’s lush, mystical style.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  |  Spotify


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ERGO  |  Zhen Chen

An impressive contribution to the decades-long legacy of composers blending Chinese and western instruments and musical materials.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  | Spotify 


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THE CHAMBER WORKS OF ALLEN BRINGS  |  Allen Brings

A triple re-release containing a collection of works for small ensembles comprised of a diverse selection of instruments.

Amazon  |  iTunes  | Spotify


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WINTER’S WARMTH  |  Andrew Schultz, John A. Carollo, R. Barry Ulrich, J.A. Kawarksy

An orchestral compilation featuring works from John A. Carollo, J.A. Kawarsky, Andrew Schultz, and R. Barry Ulrich, presenting conceptual pieces that all act as soundtracks to our resiliency during the toughest moments of the human experience.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  | Spotify


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SMALL STORMS  |  Meredith Blecha-Wells, cello; Sun Min Kim, piano

Features Bohuslav Martinů’s duos for cello and piano from the latter half of his life, with the performances of Blecha-Wells and pianist Sun Min Kim fully embodying the folkloric sensibility and conservative style that typify the composer’s oeuvre.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  | Spotify


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TWILIGHT REMEMBERED  |  McCormick Duo

A re-release of a collection of contemporary compositions for percussion and flute, including works from various composers.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Spotify


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RED LILIES OF BELLS GOLDEN LILIES OF BELLS WHITE LILIES OF BELLS  |  Alla Elana Cohen

Previously compared to the likes of Beethoven and Mozart, creative and evocative composer Alla Elana Cohen presents a collection of wildly imaginative works for string quartet, small ensemble, solo cello, and chamber orchestra.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  ArkivMusic  |  YouTube  

*RED LILIES OF BELLS GOLDEN LILIES OF BELLS WHITE LILIES OF BELLS will be released April 21st, however the album is available for pre-order.

 

New PARMA Project: The MOTO Series

PARMA is excited to announce the third installment in the MOTO recording and performance series! This new album will again feature PARMA lead cellist Ovidiu Marinescu and his group, Trio Casals.

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Trio Casals (L-R): Sylvia Ahramjian (violin), Ovidiu Marinescu (cello), Anna Kislitsyna (piano)

 

The first album, 2013’s MOTO PERPETUO, featured a set of moving works for cello and small ensemble.

 

The second release, MOTO CONTINUO, built upon the strengths of the first album and expanded the concept to include works for piano trio and solo cello. Both projects culminated in performances of the full programs at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York.

 

The new project is tentatively slated for release in spring 2018, with a concert to take place at Weill Recital Hall after the release.

We’ll be sure to keep everyone posted as the project continues to develop. In the meantime, please take a moment to get to know the featured composers on the album:

Stay tuned for more updates!

The PARMA Album of the Day: CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4

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American composer Douglas Anderson presents three of his chamber symphonies on his debut release CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4 on Ravello Records. With this album, Anderson aims to envelop the listener in a varied and multifaceted musical environment, all the while exploring the genre using the necessarily limited timbral and harmonic palette of a small ensemble. Sonograma says “[The] lyricism, freshness, [and tonal color of Anderson’s compositions are] elegant, and its sensitivity invites us to intimate moments to think and reflect, protected from winds that whip our tranquility.”

In addition to CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4, Anderson is featured on SPARKS. You can purchase CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4 on Amazon and iTunes.

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