Chamber Music by Shostakovich & Frank for Violin, Soprano and Piano

Gabriela Lena Frank, Dmitri Shostakovich


Sonia Rubinsky, Craig Ketter & Elizaveta Kopelman Piano



“When you encounter a CD release that makes you pause, that grows majestically before your ears the more you listen, you go away from it glad to have had the chance to open up alongside the music's flowering, and look forward to hearing it many times again.

Today's album has that quality in abundance… It features the work of two composers from widely disparate backgrounds, yet when performed together in one program, come together to create a satisfying wholeness.

‘Suenos de Chambri’ joins the stunning artistry of Shem Guibbory with the considerable interpretive talents of pianist Sonia Rubinsky… [In] ‘Cuatro Canciones Andinas’, soprano Susanna Eyton-Jones handles the extraordinarily expressive vocal part with directness and poise. Craig Ketter brings considerable sensitivity to the piano part.

Shostakovich's ‘Sonata for Violin and Piano’ gets a extraordinarily focused and intensive interpretation by Shem Guibbory and Elizaveta Kopelman.

The album is a triumph surely for Shem Guibbory, whose performances glow magnificently, for Susanna Eyton-Jones, who combines drama with a very nuanced delivery, and for the three pianists, who each in his own way achieves artistic completeness.

Finally this is Gabriela Lena Frank and Dmitri Shostakovich performed with deeply committed artistry. I don't believe I've ever heard a more intensely realized op. 134. And Ms. Frank comes through with clarity and brilliance. Highly recommended!"
Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical Blog [February 2014]
"Frank Daykin eloquently sets forth the underlying agenda of this release, titled Voice of the People, in his liner notes. He posits that humanity, universally, desires to live in societies that provide a modicum of security and well-being. He goes on to say that rarely has this been attained, and that totalitarian regimes have always feared the power of artists of all disciplines in communicating, on a host of levels, the aspirations of the people at large. They have striven to corral that power, realizing that failure to do so can prove catastrophic to their overarching agendas...

[Gabriela Lena Frank's] music is tonal and disarmingly simple, but, in its Amerindian subtlety, goes right to the heart of that culture. Her mission in both works is to achieve a telling balance between those two cultural currents. Her results are ear-opening.

These performances are extraordinary. String players are, to me, closest to vocalists. Their very sound can make or break a piece of music. Violinist Shem Guibbory’s tone is arresting from note 1. His intonation is exemplary, and his rhythmic acuity brings all the flavors of Gabriela Lena Frank’s Sueños de Chambi: Snapshots for an Andean Album to the fore. His performance of the Shostakovich is on the same level as that of Oistrakh himself, and of Yuri Bashmet’s recording of Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata. By the same token, Susanna Eyton-Jones’s soprano vividly realizes both the power and the nuances of the text before her.

While I’m in a praising vein, I found the sound of this CD exceptional. Guibbory’s violin sounds rich and nuanced. Susanna Eyton-Jones’s soprano sounds similarly full bodied and beautiful from pianissimo to full cry. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a state-of-the-art turntable and still spin a lot of vinyl for my own amusement and pleasure. I love that old sound while still enjoying the virtues of the CD. Few CDs, however, have the warmth and detail of this offering. Reading its notes, I realized that it was produced by Shem Guibbory. What a revelation! A CD actually produced by a musician and not a run-of-the-mill record producer. The results are, well, as you can more than probably discern from what is already written."
William Zagorski, Fanfare [March/April 2011]
"On first hearing, the pieces by Gabriela Lena Frank (b.1972) have a warmth and a real sense of folk culture... The Sueños de Chambi [are] immensely colorful, imaginative, and assured. Each “photograph” is three to four minutes, the short span allowing Frank to concentrate her material, producing a rich experience for the listener. Guibbory plays with passion, fire, and complete conviction, and Rubinsky’s accompaniment is full of verve and flair. The four songs that make up the Cuatros Canciones Andinas are no less compelling. Frank provides highly expressive music in setting [the texts]. Susanna Eyton-Jones’s performance takes no prisoners, just as the composer wanted, I’m sure, and Craig Ketter’s accompaniment fully supports the voice... Guibbory is to be commended for his imaginative programming and for his willingness to take a risk... well worth investigating."
Jeremy Marchant, Fanfare [March/April 2011]
"Gabriela Lena Frank based her Suenos de Chambi on a set of photographs taken by the great Peruvian photographer Martin Chambi. The music feels like a cross between indigenous Andean music and European 20th Century music (a strikingly non-Hungarian Bartok, perhaps) that eerily captures the otherworldly quality of Chambi’s photographs of daily life in 1930s Peru . It is imagination-stimulating music that is neither tonal nor atonal, somewhat modal, often lyrical, and often rhythmic (bringing Ginastera to mind, sometimes), especially in the rousing final ‘Marinera’, the national dance of Peru ... Susanna Eyton-Jones and pianist Craig Ketter magnify Frank’s obvious love for the Spanish language and for the wonderful poetry, violinist Shem Guibbory and pianist Elizaveta Kopelman do a fine job making the sometimes relentless Shostakovich compelling, and then Guibbory’s trip to the Andes with Rubinsky sounds like it comes from a completely different instrumental world."
Fine, American Record Guide [September/October 2010]

The selections on this disc are musical embodiments of one of mankind’s most compelling life searches: the quest for a society structured so that all may have the opportunity to thrive without unfair hardship. Rarely is this achieved in the ideal. Artists are most threatening to those who would usurp absolute power, since they encourage people’s hope and their use of the imagination, which can’t be controlled, unless the artists themselves become tools of the power holders. Of the composers represented in this recording, Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975) is the most celebrated and, since his death and increased access to post-Soviet-era material, in many ways the most controversial. Denounced twice by one of the 20th century’s most brutal dictators, though by a chance stroke of luck physically unharmed, he found many musical ways, overt and concealed, to express his revulsion at the cruelty of the Stalin regime even while functioning within it. He became a musical representative of the Russian people suffering stoically under the yoke of Stalin and Bolshevism. Gabriela Lena Frank (b.1972) is a young American composer who has already earned many awards and prestigious publication. Her music celebrates, but also mourns, the uneasy coexistence between indigenous Peruvian culture and the invading, and ultimately ruling, European Spanish culture.

Artist Statement

This CD represents not only music that vividly captures a portion of the universal human experience of life, but it also represents in a small way a community of musicians who desire to study, perform and record with artists of like mind and spirit. We have given special attention to the presentation of the sound as well, enabling you to experience the music, rather than listen to the music.

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Internationally acclaimed violinist Shem Guibbory, an award winning soloist and chamber musician, has created an indelible mark on the face of today’s new music industry as an extremely talented performer, a creative producer, and a successful entrepreneur. Hailed for his interpretations of 20th Century music, his recording of Violin Phase on the ECM label has become an American classic of avant-garde music. Having founded Innovative Music Programs in 2002, Mr. Guibbory has developed a series of original musical programs with a growing number of affiliate artists, offering the opportunity to serve global communities and organizations through specifically designed projects, recordings, and performances. Throughout his career, he has looked for and found ways to use new music to bring mutual understanding to the global community. With co-creator and director Margaret Booker and writer Robert Schenkkan, he created the musical fable, A Night at the Alhambra Café, which will have its World Premiere Season opening at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in 2011. For the past 15 years, Mr. Guibbory has been a member of the First Violin section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with various other prestigious orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic. He is proud to have been the original violinist in the Steve Reich Ensemble, of recording five CDs with Anthony Davis (Gramavision) including Davis’ violin concerto Maps, co-commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony, as well as performing recitals and chamber music throughout the world. Shem Guibbory made his recital debut at New York City’s Alice Tully Hall in 1988. His recordings can be found on the ECM, Gramavision, Opus 1, Deutsche Grammophon, Albany, Bridge and CRI labels. He has studied with Broadus Erle, Romuald Tecco, Evelyn Read and Sophie Feuermann.

Canadian-born soprano Susanna Eyton-Jones, whose diverse repertoire includes opera, oratorio and concert music, has sung many of the world’s leading operatic roles, from Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni to Violetta in La Traviata to Lucia in Lucia de Lammermoor throughout North America, Italy and the Netherlands. She has also appeared as Abigaille in Nabucco and Beatrice di Tenda with the Toronto Opera in Concert. Having made her Lincoln Center debut at Avery Fisher Hall in 2005 with Mozart’s Requiem, she has also performed Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Verdi’s Requiem and oratorio/cantata solos of Bach, Britten, Handel, Haydn, Liszt and Mozart. Her talents as a singer, composer and lead actor are further exemplified in soundtracks and films, such as Strawberries and Wine, Lana in Love, A Bullet in the Head (a recent Canadian entry in the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film), Clair Obscur, and Seductio, among others. Her discography includes a recording by the Début Concert Series entitled An Afternoon at the Opera; Matter, with Centrifugal Force (Mainstream Recordings); Different Angels, with Choeur Maha for Studio XXX; and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony. She recently recorded Stephen Hartke’s Iglesia Abandonada. Ms. Eyton-Jones has sung with noted Canadian symphony orchestras, and for five summers appeared as Guest Artist at The Chamber Music Festival of the East. Ms. Eyton-Jones collaborates in performance with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in works such as the Seven Early Songs of Berg, Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2, and Seven Romanzes by Shostakovich. She has performed Cuatro Canciones Andinas, with composer Gabriela Lena Frank, who is currently composing a symphonic song cycle for Ms. Eyton-Jones entitled, Cifar Songs. A native of Montreal, Ms. Eyton-Jones earned a Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from McGill University and further studied at the Studio Lirico di Firenze, Oakland Opera Academy and the Banff Centre for the Arts. Having won top honors at international competitions, including the Beniamino Gigli International Voice Competition, she has performed as a featured artist in the Début Concert Series and has been recorded on national broadcast for the CBC.

Identity has always been at the center of Gabriela Lena Frank’s music. Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of Peruvian-Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian-Jewish descent, Ms. Frank ardently explores her multicultural heritage through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bartók and Ginastera, she is considered by many to be somewhat of a musical anthropologist and her pieces reflect and refract her study of Latin-American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology and native musical styles into a western classical framework uniquely her own. Her compositions include challenging idiomatic parts for solo instrumentalists, vocalists, chamber ensembles and orchestras, as well as reflect her virtuosity as a pianist--when not composing, she is a sought-after performer, specializing in contemporary repertoire. Recent premieres include New Andean Songs for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella new music series, Inca Dance for guitarist Manuel Barrueco and the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Peregrinos for the Indianapolis Symphony and works for guitarist Sharon Isbin, the Chiara Quartet, the Concertante sextet, American Portraits? for the Modesto Symphony, and Two Mountain Songs for a consortium comprising of the Young People’s Chorus of New York, the San Francisco Girl’s Choir and the Glen Ellyn Children’s Choir. Gabriela Frank earned a BA and MA from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and has studied composition with Paul Cooper, Ellsworth Milburn and Sam Jones and piano with Jeanne Kierman Fischer, whom she credits with introducing her to the music of Bartók and Ginastera. She also holds a DMA from the University of Michigan where she studied composition with William Albright, William Bolcom, Leslie Bassett and Michael Daugherty.


Snapshots for an Andean Album
Commissioned by Sergiu Luca (2002)

Harawi de Quispe
Diablicos Puneños
Responsorio Lauramarqueño
P’asña Marcha
Adoración para Angelitos
Harawi de Chambi

Text José María Arguedas. Sung in Spanish.

Yo Crío Una Mosca
Carnaval de Tambobamba

SONATA for VIOLIN and PIANO (1968)
Composed in honor of the 60th Birthday of David Oistrakh

Largo; Andante

MSR Classics