MSR Classics | What’s New from Newtown?
Recent Releases

I believe 2024 has great potential to be a better year than 2023 was (it's a Leap Year, no less!), so let's get together and work to create happier, healthier and more peacefuls times ahead. To keep spirits up as progress is attempted, why not investigate some new "listening material" from MSR? From time-honored favorites to exciting discoveries, there's more than plenty here to entertain and enlighten. To paraphrase a beloved slogan: "You're going to like what you hear. We guarantee it." Read on below for brief introductions to What's New from Newtown, all of which is available on CD, and for streaming and download.

Fresh out of the white-room replicator is DANCES AND DREAMS - PIANO MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD as performed in his solo debut recording by Hanren Zhang. Our gifted young soloist explores music rooted in dance from 13 countries, four continents and two centuries. Each of the composers represented brings a distinct palette that is inspired by indigenous influences, celebrated charismatically at the keyboard by Zhang. Also just in the door is Volume 1 of PIANO MUSIC OF CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN as performed in another MSR debut, this one by Igor Do Amaral. In the repertoire heard here, Amaral brings a light touch, employing plenty of energy when required, and always with the big picture (the arc) in sight. His playing exhibits youthful enthusiam, tempered here and there, perhaps, by a welcome touch of "old soul" tenderness. Also just in the door is SOLI DEO GLORIA, a truly grand organ recital performed on two instruments (full organ and portativ) made by the highly regarded C.B. Fisk company. At the keyboards is Barbara Bruns, whose technique and musical approach bring about magnificent results. Organists and music lovers in general are sure to derive great pleasure from this album. The full range of the organs are reproduced beautifully by the engineers. Also just in is the second release on MSR by the Auerbach-Pierce Duo, featuring violinist Dan Auerbach and pianist Joshua Pierce. In performing a program of engaging 20th CENTURY MUSIC FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO, the Duo displays hand-in-glove music-making. Auerbach and Pierce strike the perfect balance between adhering to the score and manifesting their own natural expressiveness. The recording (made at the fabled Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Albany, New York) puts the players decidedly in the listening space. Right behind the Auerbach-Pierce offering is a new soloist-with-orchestra title by Joshua Pierce that displays virtuosic-but-nuanced performances. The fourth installment in a Joshua Pierce "sub-series" on MSR that features works from Bach to Bloch and back to Haydn, RACHMANINOFF, RESPIGHI and CASELLA are on the ticket. The famous Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is given the performance of a lifetime, as are equally as compelling lesser-known large-scale piano-and-orchestra works by Respighi and Casella. Pierce's rendering of the famous Variation No.18 from the Rachmaninoff work is straight out of the mind's ear - don't miss it! Next up is MUSIC OF BARBARA HARBACH, Vol.17 - CHORAL MUSIC I, which showcases for the first time Harbach's gift for working with massed voices. The selections fall into five categories: Sacred, Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, Spirituals, and Secular. In each, her ability to give new life to time-honored favorites is made abundantly clear, especially as performed by the Apollo Voices of London and soloists under the direction of Genevieve Ellis. Right behind Pierce's and Harbach's latest "ear-feasts" are two vocal titles that may just become new favorites among vocal music lovers - but they are so different! First comes JAKE HEGGIE: COULD IT BE MADNESS - THIS? which offers a stunning traversal of the composer's settings of material by Emily Dickinson. In her second release on MSR, soprano Melissa Davis, accompanied by MSR artist Jerry Wong, bring light and life to Heggie's brilliant marriage of words and music.


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]

New Releases
DANCES AND DREAMS
Piano Music from Around the World
Isaac Albéniz, William Albright, Béla Bartók, Frédéric Chopin, Alberto Ginastera, Edvard Grieg, Ernesto Lecuona, Darius Milhaud, Modest Mussorgsky, Kwabena Nketia, Bedřich Smetana, Yiqiang Sun, Joshua Uzoigwe

HANREN ZHANG


[MS1758]
CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN: PIANO MUSIC
Volume 1
Charles-Valentin Alkan

IGOR DO AMARAL


[MS1851]
SOLI DEO GLORIA
C.B. Fisk Organ Recital
Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, César Franck, Joyce Jones, Louis Marchand, Michelangelo Rossi, Charles-Marie Widor

BARBARA BRUNS


[MS1834]
SONATAS, SONGS AND CHANT
SONATAS, SONGS AND CHANT
20th Century Music for Violin and Piano
AUERBACH-PIERCE DUO

[MS1748]
RACHMANINOFF: RHAPSODY ON A THEME OF PAGANINI
RACHMANINOFF: RHAPSODY ON A THEME …
Casella and Respighi: Works for Piano &
JOSHUA PIERCE

[MS1839]
HARBACH VOL.17: CHORAL MUSIC I
HARBACH VOL.17: CHORAL MUSIC I
Lent & Easter, Advent & Christmas,
APOLLO VOICES OF LONDON

[MS1794]
JAKE HEGGIE: COULD IT BE MADNESS - THIS?
JAKE HEGGIE: COULD IT BE MADNESS - …
Song Settings of Emily Dickinson
MELISSA DAVIS

[MS1813]
MEDIEVAL SONG FROM ARISTOTLE TO OPERA
MEDIEVAL SONG FROM ARISTOTLE TO …

CONCORDIAN DAWN

[MS1806]