NEWS, NEW RELEASES and WISDOM
SAD NEWS: It is with great sorrow we must report that, following a long battle with illness, the distinguished American composer PAUL REALE has died. Paul was brilliant musician, and a lovely man. His large output of music is highly distinguished and truly unique. His compositional voice, although now silenced, will ring ever forward, such was its appeal and timelessness.
Sadly, we must also report the death of the great American pianist DOROTHY JONAS at the age of 98. Ms. Jonas, who appeared to great acclaim with with duo-partner Joshua Pierce for decades in the Pierce & Jonas Duo, was a brilliant and dedicated artist. She was a true trailblazer, taking part in the development and premiere of dozens of new works for the 2-piano genre. Her exuberant and always polished pianism was a model of true artistry. Both these artists will be sorely missed.
Summer is well underway, so let's celebrate by exploring some new releases from MSR. Whether discovering a new artist or ensemble, new repertoire - or both - quality music listening is a great way to spend time at home (where so many of us these days are spending more time than usual), or "on the go." Read on for brief introductions to What's New from Newtown:
Just in the door is EKPHRASIS, a fascinating album of new music for horn and electronics. The combination of virtuosic horn playing by Joshua Michal and a kaleidoscope of electronic sounds - the sonic backdrops and performance manipulations are stunning - makes for a truly remarkable listening experience. No less remarkable is what Euntaek Kim does at the piano keyboard in his DEBUT. Playing works by Russian composers Prokofiev, Scriabin and Rachmaninov, this Korean-born "CME" performer has set a career course for the stars. We cannot wait for his next showcase! In a bold move from Russian to the Great Lakes, horn player Stacie Mickens smashes repertoire by composers from the region in her debut solo recording, FROM THE GREAT LAKES. In collaboration with no less than eight other musicians, Mickens gives Michal a run for his money! From a very different place comes PILGRIMAGE, a program of sublime choral music from the Résonance vocal ensemble, also in their debut. The ensemble's performances point to a bright future in front of the microphone. Going from massed voices to one, American soprano Amy Johnson is heard in a stunning and wide-ranging operatic program. In this PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST, one cannot help but be moved by her performances, supported with great depth and power by the MAV Symphony Orchestra under Steven Mercurio's direction. Next, the voice of solo violin is heard in all its colors and and styles in REFRACTION, an album featuring works by Mozart and Dvorák contrasted with that of contemporary composers Asplund and Thornock. With the brilliant support of father Rex and wife Aubrey, Alexander Woods asserts himself as a thoughtful and technically assured musician. Next, the Carpe Diem String Quartet is heard performing two quartets and a suite of four dances by JONATHAN LESHNOFF. The members of CDSQ play Leshnoff's music with a palpable sense of enthusiasm; fans of this composer and of Carpe Diem won't be disappointed. Next, Grammy Award-winner Hila Plittman and Robert Thies unite in a program of sublime art songs and poetry in DANAË VLASSE: POÈME. The music is truly transcendent, defying categorization, as it conveys the evocative, achingly beautiful poetic texts.
Stay tuned, and remember to Turn it up!
FINES FACULTATIS COGNITOS TRANSGREDERE
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
[William H. Murray]
A MUSICAL BOUQUET
Old, New and Borrowed Works for Bassoon and Strings
Alexis Ciesla, François Devienne, Edouard Du Puy, Carl Jacobi, Clara Schumann, Barbara Strozzi
ALABAMA STRING QUARTETS
Birmingham Art Music Alliance
Michael Coleman, Joel Scott Davis, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Monroe Golden, Holland Hopson, Mark Lackey, Cynthia Miller, Brian Moon, Matthew Scott Phillips, Tom Reiner, Chris Steele, Lawren Brianna Ware
AMERNET STRING QUARTET
OF LOVE AND LONGING
Piano Music of Franz Liszt