The year 2021 is here, and it could not have arrived too soon! 2020 was a brutal "teaching time" for everyone on Earth, but the lessons continue - much has still to be learned! May we all continue to use our struggles to evolve as a one-world people.
To calm the nerves, inspire the soul and ease the growing pains, we recommend turning to the charms of music. Whether they feature a new artist, new repertoire, or tried-and-true favorites, MSR's steady stream of releases is bound to turns one's attention away from all the ruckus. Read on for brief introductions to What's New from Newtown.
Before we begin, congratulations are in order to Danaë Vlasse for having received Gold Medal from the Global Music Awards in recognition of her MSR release, Poème. It's a magical album, deeply affecting, and worthy of exploration.
Just in the door is A MUSICAL BOUQUET, a brilliant debut recital by bassoonist Shannon Lowe. This album features a program of highly accessible, exceedingly lyrical music for solo bassoon and strings (violins, viola, cello and bass), performed by Lowe and her colleagues with the perfect combination of precision and personality. ALABAMA STRING QUARTETS, released under the auspices of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, is a captivating collection of music for string quartet by composers from the Great State of Alabama. The performances by the Amernet String Quartet are nothing short of remarkable, such is the ample evidence of their preparation and resulting engrossing musical execution. The 2-CD set shows off an impressive range of compositional voices, bringing heightened awareness to the work coming from this area of the country. OF LOVE AND LONGING is a brilliantly conceived program of piano music of FRANZ LISZT that offers a cohesive potpourri centered on the title's theme. Jerry Wong, who has released two albums prior to this one (featuring Prokofiev and Debussy) brings a special touch to the music. While much of Liszt's piano music can be seen as "banger's delight", Wong instead wields his power at the keyboard most judiciously, making its appearance all the more effective. Liszt's dark, quieter moments are also most effectively rendered by Wong. ILLUMINATIONS is a thought-provoking, engrossing album of vocal and piano music by CURT CACIOPPO, the vocal works being based upon poetry, specifically by Luigi Cerantola and Walt Whitman. The vocal talents of baritone William Sharp and soprano Kristina Bachrach vivify the texts with subtlety and restraint, allowing the composer's musical vision of the poetry to be expressed in the most direct terms. Cacioppo's skill as a pianist, along with that of Debra Lew Harder and Wan Chi Su, allow the two works for piano to hold their own amidst the complex vocal music. ALONE is another "tour de force" of solo instrumental prowess, again featuring the bassoon. On this album, however, the instrument is heard unaccompanied, and in repertoire centered on contemporary repertoire. Our skilled soloist,Scott Pool puts his Moosmann instrument through its paces, as he leaves no stone unturned as regards the instruments expressive capabilities, both in range, color and speed. Like the aforementioned ALONE recital, EKPHRASIS features yet another instrumental soloist, this time on horn with electronics, and in even more adventurous repertoire. 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!
Stay calm, carry on, and 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]
MARTY REGAN: LOST MOUNTAINS, QUIET VALLEYS
Selected Works for Japanese Instruments, Vol. 4
World Premiere Recordings
Music for Saxophone, Piano and Wind Ensemble
World Premiere Recordings
PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST
Transcriptions and Traditionals for Trumpet and Piano
A MUSICAL BOUQUET
Old, New and Borrowed Works for Bassoon and
ALABAMA STRING QUARTETS
Birmingham Art Music Alliance
AMERNET STRING QUARTET[MS1685]
OF LOVE AND LONGING
Piano Music of Franz Liszt
Music for Unaccompanied Bassoon