This double-CD album presents Amjad Ali Khan’s compositions for Sarod and Violin as a collection comprising the works previously premiered in three separate albums. The recordings included in this collection represent the culmination of a collaboration that came about through a serendipitous meeting of the artists in 2014 – Amjad Ali Khan, the Titan of the sarod, straddling two centuries, universally venerated as one of the greatest living Indian musicians in any genre; his sons, disciples and widely acclaimed sarod virtuosi in their own right, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash; and the distinguished American violinist Elmira Darvarova, herself a historical figure as the first ever (and so far only) woman-concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York. The first fruit of these artists’ unique joining of forces was their album, SOUL STRINGS, a bridge across which their respective traditions, coming from Indian Classical and Western Art Music genres, were generously shared, each with its expressive and technical integrity intact, rather than squeezed into that oft-used and abused notion of “fusion.” What that first album suggested subtly, about this daring, supercharged, yet profoundly respectful and even affectionate meeting of musical minds, was later brilliantly confirmed by their second CD album AMALGAM, which included the inimitable sound of the universally beloved and venerated elder statesman of Indian Classical Music today – Amjad Ali Khan. Drawing on the North and South Indian classical music idioms, AMALGAM not only featured new works but also explored new aesthetic and rhetorical terrain both in terms of the intimate level of phrase and note, as well as at the larger architectonic and structural aspects of the music. The artists offered their third CD album PEACE WORSHIPERS as a final volume of their trilogy, again with new compositions for Sarod and Violin by Amjad Ali Khan. The album PEACE WORSHIPERS climbed atop world music charts and won Gold Medal at the 2017 Global Music Awards. This recognition affirmed the enthusiastic critical acclaim and widely spread adulation with which audiences across India and the United States have been receiving not only these artists’ live concert performances of Amjad Ali Khan’s compositions for Sarod and Violin, but also their recorded legacy. All three albums were released worldwide – by Affetto/Naxos and, also, by the Times Music label (owned by The Times of India publication, which has the largest circulation of any English-language newspaper in the world). The Times Music label released the albums SOUL STRINGS, AMALGAM and PEACE WORSHIPERS for distribution throughout the countries of the Indian subcontinent and South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Afghanistan), a region comprising almost 2 billion people, about one quarter of the world’s population – the most populous and densely populated area in the world.
“American Music for Violin and Horn” presents 19 tracks of world-premiere recordings with music by 12 American composers. A varied program which includes original and transcribed works for violin and horn by David Amram, Vernon Duke, José Serebrier, Duke Ellington, Sean Hickey, Rebecca Clarke, Phillip Ramey, Francine Trester and several others, this album also features poetry by Emily Dickinson and Francine Trester, recited by the performers Elmira Darvarova (violin) and Howard Wall (horn). Several of the original works for violin and horn were written for these two performers (new compositions by David Amram, José Serebrier, Sean Hickey, Phillip Ramey, Francine Trester), while other works were transcribed by the performers as duets for their two instruments (“Black Beauty” by Duke Ellington, “Two Pieces” by Rebecca Clarke, “Etude” by Vernon Duke, “Calliope” & “Gramophone” by Jan Bach, two Bop-Duets by Bugs Bower, and other arrangements). Of note is Scott Dunn’s arrangement of Vernon Duke’s iconic standard “April in Paris”, in a version for violin and horn. All 19 tracks on this album are offered in their world-premiere recordings. Violinist Elmira Darvarova (first and only woman-concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and hornist Howard Wall (a New York Philharmonic member, formerly with The Philadelphia Orchestra) offer splendid interpretations
A longtime member of two of the world’s most renowned orchestras – The New York Philharmonic and The Philadelphia rchestra, hornist Howard Wall also performs and records with the All-Star Orchestra, and is an avid chamber music proponent. Among the 22 tracks in his solo album “Music for One Horn”, 16 are world-premiere recordings. This is a kaleidoscopic collection of eclectic styles and genres ranging from Charles Koechlin’s refined impressionism and Elliott Carter’s sophisticated modernism, to Phillip Ramey’s Bartokian reflections, Astor Piazzolla’s melancholic tango mood, Elizabeth Raum’s idiomatic virtuosity, Pascal Proust’s exalted dance rhythms, the poetic inspirations of Georges Barboteu, the otherworldly mysticism of Alice Gomez, the profound emotion of Lev Kogan’s Kaddish prayer, the stunning beauty and unique rhythms of Bulgarian folk music and Venezuelan joropo.
New Release: HELDIN Arias of Wagner & Strauss featuring Juyeon Song, Soprano / Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, Czech Republic / Niels Muus, Conductor
Richard Wagner’s innovative exploration of the female heroine (Heldin), is presented here in a collection of his most famous arias inspired by Germanic, Norse and Celtic mythology. Wagner invented the concept of “larger than life” Helden singers for whom he composed huge, long, demanding roles for both women and men. By contrast, Richard Strauss drew his inspiration from the bible through Oscar Wilde’s diabolical satire, Salome. Strauss expanded the palette by increasing the sheer number of instrumental forces within the orchestra to fully embody the vile, sexual nature, and treachery of the female villain and her lust for manipulation and vengeance.
Juyeon Song, hailed for her dramatic stage presence and expressivity, demonstrates her exceptional range and intensity in richly rendered characters; forceful Brünnhilde, chaste daughter and faithful servant of Wotan, king of the gods; Isolde, tragic heroine in the medieval romantic story of love and death; and, Salome, the young politico-sexual powerhouse who demanded the severed head of John the Baptist, and caused King Herod to sin against God in retribution for the prophet’s rebuke of her affections.
In this exciting new release, Ms. Song chills and thrills the listener with her capacious vocal power, emotional sensitivity and sincerity, and visceral cathexis throughout. The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava, led by eminent maestro Niels Muus, is superb in its balance, dynamic contrast, and dramatic realization of these magnificent scores.
“Music by Women” presents 14 world premiere recordings (out of 16 tracks) in this album with music by female composers. A varied program which includes the 17th C. French composer Elizabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, and the 20th C. British-American composer Rebecca Clarke, as well as a number of contemporary female composers from several different countries, some of which have been commissioned by the performers: Chinese composer Wang Jie, Japanese composer Yui Kitamura, Russian-born Elena Firsova, Canadians Elizabeth Raum and Erika Raum, Belize-born Errollyn Wallen, and the American composers Lydia Lowery Busler, Alice Gomez, Laura Kaminsky, Dolores White, Francine Trester (whose compositions also feature poetry). Violinist Elmira Darvarova (first and only woman-concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and hornist Howard Wall (a New York Philharmonic member, formerly with The Philadelphia Orchestra) offer splendid interpretations.
Ástor Piazzolla’s greatest masterpieces are given a fresh new interpretation in transcriptions for Violin, Horn, and Piano by three acclaimed artists – Grammy®-nominated violinist Elmira Darvarova (former Concertmaster, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), hornist Howard Wall (New York Philharmonic) and pianist Thomas Weaver. After performing their Piazzolla tribute program internationally at prestigious venues in Europe and America (including Carnegie Hall), the artists have now also recorded it for a double-CD album presenting 14 world-premiere recordings (14 out of 17 tracks). “Ástor Piazzolla – Genius of Tango” introduces the artists’ transcriptions from Piazzolla’s original scores. The inclusion of horn brings a new dimension and richly rewarding symphonic sonorities. Several of the arrangements are by the late great tango pianist Octavio Brunetti (named by the New York Philharmonic “the inheritor of Piazzolla’s mantle”), with whom violinist Elmira Darvarova performed and recorded for several years.
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