ON CONTEMPLATING LOSS
Music for Violin and Piano by Laurence Lowe
AUBREY SMITH WOODS, violin
ALEXANDER WOODS, violin
REX WOODS, piano
"Composer and artists benefit from lovely recorded sound, right from the opening notes. Rex Woods’s piano has a gorgeous ring. Balances are excellent; even in the piano’s loudest passages, Aubrey Smith Woods’s violin is heard clearly. This is how a violin and piano sonata should sound but so seldom does, live or on record. Perhaps such sound has infiltrated my judgment, for I am bowled over by the quality of this sonata. Until we reach the finale, there is nothing here that would have been out of place in 1890, but I find the music as satisfying as many a 19th-century violin sonata... The 24-minute Sonata is the high point of the disc."
James H. North, Fanfare [July/August 2022]
"Lowe’s special affinity is melodic... Smith Woods’s talent does a great deal to elevate the music she has commissioned. She has a beautiful tone and seamless technique—her overall caliber of playing is of solo quality
but to appreciate his modest, heartfelt music and his melodic gift, I think this context matters... here is a disc that appeals to our innate love of melody, and it deserves a warm welcome on that basis.
Huntley Dent, Fanfare [July/August 2022]
"[Laurence Lowe's] writing is marked by cinematic lyricism, post-minimalist use of arpeggios, a Lowell Liebermann-esque tonal atmosphere, and yearning diatonic dissonances... Aubrey plays with a shimmering tone."
Estep, American Record Guide [July/August 2022]
"[The music is] performed brilliantly by Utah-based violinist Aubrey Smith Woods."
Pan Pipes (SAI) [Spring 2022]
"Laurence Lowe (born 1956) has...a very individual way of combining violin and piano sounds... [The Sonata for Violin and Piano] shows a considerable ability to evoke emotions from various ranges of both instruments: piano and violin tend to present differing material, almost as if playing distinct works, but Lowe then combines the elements in well-thought-out ways... [On Contemplating Loss] features the violin unfolding long lines that the piano picks up or underlines, the totality being an attractive-sounding contemplative whole... There is considerable beauty in these pieces."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [March 2022]
"Three superb musicians, come together as a family to create a gorgeous, stunning album of compositions by composer Laurence Lowe, On Contemplating Loss. The huge sound from this exceptional recording summons from the masterful playing of [Aubrey Smith Woods, Rex Woods and Alexander Woods] . What Lowe has accomplished is a world apart in depth of feeling and sound from what we mostly hear from composers of the last several decades. We find beauty and emotion in Lowe’s works lacking in other contemporary music... Don’t think the title of this recording indicates the music you will hear will be sad, taciturn, or depressing. Instead, a transcendent, uplifting quality emerges from it all regardless of the initial inspiration and story line behind it as told in the CD booklet. I invite you to let the music speak for itself, as a poetic expression of what it is to be heartily involved in the depth of life - love, loss and coping with it all... We realize while listening to Lowe’s music he has more to say about earthly existence now than if he had begun creating music as a young man.
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [February 2022]
Aubrey Smith Woods
’ rise as a professional violinist vividly demonstrates the versatility that is the sine qua non
for 21st century musicians. Her artistic leadership and excellence as concertmaster for Ballet West are consistently on display at the Capitol, Rose Wagner, and Eccles theatres in Salt Lake City. She frequently performs with the Utah Symphony Orchestra. She appeared for several years with the Orchestra at Temple Square in weekly worldwide broadcasts and on recordings with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and notable soloists, including Bryn Terfel and Renee Fleming. Aubrey is equally in demand as studio recording artist for movies, television, and in backing tracks for many popular artists. She can be heard on releases on the MSR Classics and Tantara labels. Her performances as a chamber musician include appearances with NOVA, Intermezzo, the Park City Chamber Music Series and, on the Baroque violin, with New York Baroque Incorporated, the Sebastians and Musica Angelica. She may often be heard in company with her husband, Alexander Woods, as the Woodmusick Duo. Aubrey holds the Master of Music degree from Brigham Young University where she teaches as an adjunct faculty member. On this recording, she plays a violin made by Enrico Marchetti (1884).
Since his first solo recital of more than 50 years ago, Rex Woods
has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist throughout the United States and in Canada, France, China, Australia and Mexico. He has performed as a concerto soloist with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Symphony, Mesa Symphony, Catalina Chamber Orchestra, Southern Arizona Symphony and University of Michoacán Chamber Orchestra. Recent chamber music appearances include recitals at Drew University, Humboldt State University, University of Utah and Brigham Young University. Woods received his musical education at Brigham Young University, University of Arizona, University of Southern California and American Conservatory at Fontainebleau. He received the Otto Guth Memorial Award from the San Francisco Opera Center and the Premier Prix de Fontainebleau in chamber music. Woods, who holds a Juris Doctor from Arizona State University, has served on the faculties of the University of Texas at Austin and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Since 1988, he has taught at the University of Arizona, and served as an administrator in the Fred Fox School of Music.
Violinist Alexander Woods
is in high demand as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. Woods, well-known for possessing fine technique and a beautiful tone, has performed with highly esteemed groups, including the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Utah Symphony, Helicon Foundation, the Sebastians and the Talea Ensemble. A dual Canadian-American citizen, Woods’ international career has led him to perform at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, Festival Pablo Casals, Darmstadt Institute, Festival Wien Modern, Golden Mask Festival and many others. He has performed at the Stern Auditorium, Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; at Alice Tully Hall and Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center; and at Trinity Wall Street, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Musée des Beaux Arts in Montréal, and other important venues in Canada, Russia, China, South Korea and throughout Europe. At Brigham Young University, he is on the music faculty and a member of the Deseret String Quartet. As a baroque violinist, he has appeared with New York Baroque Incorporated, and is founder and director of the BYU Baroque Ensemble, an Early Music chamber orchestra created by the Violin Making School of America. A prolific and highly acclaimed recording artist, Woods can be heard on the Acis, Bridge, MSR Classics, Tantara and Tzadik labels. He studied at Yale University, Manhattan School of Music and University of Arizona. Alexander Woods plays a violin attributed to Lorenzo Guadagnini (1743) from the instrument collection of Brigham Young University.
Recorded in 2018 and 2021 in the de Jong Concert Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, Provo, Utah. Produced by Aubrey Smith Woods, Alexander Woods and Laurence Lowe. Recording engineer: Jeff Carter. Post-production: Jeff Carter, Stoker White and Guy Randle.
SONATA for Violin and Piano (2011)
III. Dance – Spirito
ADAGIO AND CELTIC DANCE for Two Violins and Piano (2017)
II. Celtic Dance
ON CONTEMPLATING LOSS for Violin and Piano (2017)
ELEGY for Two Violins and Piano (2020)
INSPIRED BY EMILY for Violin and Piano (2021)