“Songs of Darkness and Hope” was the culmination of a project conceived and created by choral music teacher Pam Rhein of the Meesalonskee Public Schools – Rural School Unit #18 in Oakland Maine for the “Shoah Student Education Initiative” of the Maine State Holocaust and Human Rights Center in the state capital of Augusta. The songs are composed from poems written by interred children found on the walls of concentration camps after WW2, along with a few camp work songs found in the Center’s historical archives.
Sung by over 400 students from 5th grade through high school, combined choirs and select auditioned choirs conducted by high school choral teacher Kevin Rhein, the creation of this album was a moving experience in education which changed the lives of those involved, students and teachers alike, many of whom were moved to tears upon hearing the preproduction master. Both Pam and Kevin Rhein, husband and wife, were selected as Maine State Music Teacher of the Year. The uniqueness of this album is due to many aspects relating to the holocaust and human rights, so very important in our world today. It is safe to say that few albums of this nature and significance have ever been produced in such a rural school district, with some of the pieces stunningly performed due to the quality of the music educators in this school district.
Available now at Amazon.
The past two decades have marshaled an upspringing of professional choral ensembles in the United States, enriching the artistic environment for choral music lovers and professional singers alike. A product of that new landscape, the fully professional Kinnara Ensemble has forged a bold path in the busy musical marketplace in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Kinnara Ensemble was founded in the fall of 2008 by a handful of recent Westminster Choir College alumni who missed the musical fulfillment they enjoyed as students. Ten years later, Kinnara Ensemble, comprising singers from throughout the nation, releases this album commemorating our provenance and the ensuing path of musical and human exploration. Kinnara Ensemble strives to honor the capacious choral tradition – that rich inheritance – with exemplary choral experiences that speak to the modern soul.
Kinnara Ensemble’s first album, Provenance, is a bold step out for this recent arrival on the choral scene. The ensemble tackles a wide array of choral repertoire: di Lasso, Brahms, Poulenc, Paulus… and the austere, stunning, and rarely recorded Lamentations of Jeremiah by Alberto Ginastera.
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Quinteto del Fuego consists of five internationally renowned artists, whose artistic accomplishments place each one of them among the very best of their generation. Stéphane Chapuis (bandoneon), Elmira Darvarova (violin), Lionel Monnet (piano), George Vassilev (guitar) and Irina-Kalina Goudeva (double bass) are fantastic virtuosos of their instruments who bring exquisite musicianship, refined taste and sublime perfection to their mesmerizing charismatic interpretations.
The triumphal success of their concerts in Europe and the United States has solidified the reputation of Quinteto del Fuego as one of the very rare formations which cherish every note of the musical conversation connecting and binding them to the extreme core of the composers they champion. Their unrestrained passion for Astor Piazzolla’s music, coupled with their unerring instincts and deeply-felt affinity for the composer’s intentions, allow them to intertwine their individual vision with the unique original idea of the composer, resulting in unprecedentedly high-voltage performances and electrifying interpretative achievements. This is their debut CD recording of masterpieces by Astor Piazzolla on Affetto/Naxos.
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Widely recognized as one of the world’s best horn players, Philip Myers also inspired as well as commissioned most of the pieces on this historically significant album with world premieres of horn music by American composer Phillip Ramey, whose works have been performed by such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and whose Horn Concerto (with Philip Myers as soloist) was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for their 150th anniversary.
This release presents world premieres of works for solo horn, for two horns, and for horn in different combinations with piano and/or violin, stunningly performed by hornists Philip Myers and Howard Wall, whose long-time partnership as New York Philharmonic musicians extends into fantastic chamber music collaboration, also including splendid contributions by pianist Virginia Perry Lamb and violinist Elmira Darvarova (a former Metropolitan Opera concertmaster). Some of the works are newly recorded, while others are only now receiving their premiere on CD after first performances over twenty years ago, with the Trio Concertant recorded live, and the Dialogue, and the Sonata-Ballade restored from archival material. All of the works on this disc are magnificently performed contributions to the horn repertoire.
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Internationally renowned baritone Elem Eley’s fourth solo album, Forever Sing, is deeply personal, rooted in his southern upbringing and the heartfelt expression of singing from the Psalms. For this CD, Elem Eley chose beloved songs evoking memories of his youth, some that he has since called on in decades of performing around the world, and as Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. Meeting this challenge demands collaborators of diverse skills: His partner for the first three albums, pianist JJ Penna, plays the Classical settings of Dvořák, Rubbra, Honegger, and Altman. Concert organist Noel Werner accompanies Eley in the two sets by Isadore Freed and Leo Sowerby, recorded in the historic 1836 sanctuary of his home church, Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ. The final set of three Gospel songs is arranged and accompanied on piano by the nationally renowned Dr. J. Donald Dumpson of Philadelphia; their session was emotional and exciting to witness, as these two personal friends and outstanding artists created a unique sense and sound of the Gospel musical genre, unique to their partnership and recorded here for the ages. Pure genius in every track, AFFETTO Records takes pride in presenting this multi-faceted collaboration of music incredibly performed with depth and personal resonance.
Available now at iTunes and Amazon.
The Affetto Classical Sampler, featuring nine tracks from our nine album releases, is out and it’s Free on Amazon.
Listen to the spellbinding work of Grammy-nominated violinist Elmira Darvarova teamed with Indian sarod masters the Ali Khans, from “Amalgam” and “Soul Strings” albums.
Hear baritone Elem Eley, one of the world’s expert song cycle artists, interpret new works from “Lenoriana.”
Cellist Kate Dillingham and harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, play a movement from J.S. Bach’s De Gamba Sonatas from a new Schirmer edition edited by Ms. Dillingham.
Listen to a track from “Masterpieces by Beethoven / Franck / Clara Schumann” by Elmira Darvarova on violin and Shoko Inoue on piano.
Rutgers University’s exquisite early music ensemble Musica Raritana, led by Dr. Andrew Kirkman, performs Mendelssohn’s earliest work for piano and strings.
The outstanding early music vocal ensemble The Thirteen, led by founder Matthew Robertson, harmonizes on a piece by King Henry VIII from “Voice Eternal.”
Elmira Darvarova (on her fourth Affetto album!) and the late Octavio Brunetti perform tangos by Piazzolla from “Adios Nonino” with incomparable spirit and passion.