Ellen Rose, viola & Kristin Ditlow, piano – Providence

The germ of the concept of this album for Ellen Rose, the recently retired first chair violist of the Dallas Symphony, and Kristin Ditlow, conductor, pianist extraordinaire and vocal coach, came due to a musician-colleague’s invitation to the duo to perform during the 2012-2013 season at the National Theater in Kunming, China (Yunnan Province), and the multi-city tour formed around that. The three-week tour of Beijing, Shanghai, and Kunming became the framework represented by this duo’s debut disc name, Providence. What followed immediately was the weaving together of three continents and years of planning out of the repertoire of that tour.

Boccherini’s Sonata No. 6 in A Major  is representative of the composer’s bringing violincello writing into more melodic and virtuosic milieu, here represented so wonderfully by a viola. Vaughan Williams’ Romance  is among several pieces discovered after the composer had passed away in 1958, but thought to have been composed in 1914. “Whither Must I Wander,” originally for piano and baritone from his song cycle Songs of Travel,  was arranged for the duo on this album by Ellen Rose and Kristin Ditlow, and is therefore a premiere recording. Enescu’s Concertstück  is a combination of his native Romania and Paris where he lived much of his life, with traces of Debussy and French impressionists and the theme from a lively Romanian folk dance. Messiaen’s “Louange,” composed in a French prison in 1941 for a quartet of musician prisoners, uses religious quotes or motives as well as bird calls, Messiaen being both a devout Catholic and an enthusaistic ornitholgist. Rebecca Clarke’s Sonata was the largest work on the China tour, her best-known work, and was written for a 1919 competition, in which she tied Ernest Bloch for first place with its combination of whole tone, octatonic and pentatonic scales as well as piano and string writing which shows great admiration for Debussy.

Ending the album with a Puccini aria from Tosca  coincides with using this piece as the encore from the China tour, an aria which has, as its sung last line, “I lived for art, I lived for love, I’ve never harmed a living soul!” There is no doubt that this album musically soothes and excites the soul with a vast combination of exquisite musical textures and stunning performances!

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Rutgers University Kirkpatrick Choir & Patrick Gardner, conductor – The Fire Within

The Fire Within brings three works to light, one World Premiere Recording, “Three Songs for Men’s Chorus” by composer Lou Harrison, and one a World Premiere, “Dark Night of the Soul” by composer Christopher Marshall, all performed by the internationally renowned Kirpatrick Choir of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, conducted by the equally renowned Patrick Gardner. The third work which begins the album, Lou Harrison’s stirring “La Koro Sutro (The Heart’s Soul)” is a vibrant and moving piece with the choir accompanied by The American Gamelan. La Koro Sutra, a live performance recording, was described by Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times “The Best of 2017 – Classical Music” as “…one of the best musical moments of the year.”

Composer Lou Harrison had a life-long interest in the use of “found instruments” and those used in this recording appeared in his works of the 30s and 40s for percussion ensemble which he wrote while collaborating with John Cage. His later works were composed with highly chromatic music influenced heavily by Arnold Schoenberg. The 1971 piece featured here, La Koro Sutro, is a setting of the Buddhist Heart Suttra in Esperanto composed for an international congress of Esperanto speakers in San Francisco. The Three Songs for Men’s Chorus, a World Premiere Recording, are settings from the Book of Samuel and Walt Whitman’s “Calamus” in Leaves of Grass.

Finally, New Zealander Christopher Marshall’s work, “Dark Night of the Soul,” heard as a premiere recording, sets mystical text of St. John at the Cross with intricate rhythms of a beautiful lyrical melody with rich choral sonority. It is a perfect piece to end this extraordinary album.

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Baylor Bella Voce, Lynn Gackle, conductor and Jonathan Pinto, piano – The Unbroken Circle

Bella Voce is the select women’s ensemble at Baylor University. Organized in 2011 by their conductor Dr. Lynne Gackle, the ensemble performs a wide and interesting variety of choral selections, reflecting various style periods and genres from the vast choral repertoire featuring women’s voices. On this, the ensemble’s second CD, the selections are a stunning and complex presentation of classic and modern pieces, from Mendelssohn to some of the most brilliant new choral composers on the scene today, sung by one of the finest women’s ensembles in the nation, collegiate or professional.

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Sample Our Summer 2018 Releases

Our summer 2018 releases – “La Raphaele – The Art of Francois Couperin” / “Le cor francais authentique (The Truly French Horn)” / Poet’s Journey – Song Cycles of Benjamin Britten / “Voices of Women – From Unknown to Renowned” / Dvorak – Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 and other works.

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Kate Dillingham – Dvorak / Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 204 and other works

Antonín Dvořák’s concerto for cello and orchestra is arguably one of the greatest works for the solo cello, but more importantly, one of the greatest large-scale works ever composed.

Cellist Kate Dillingham, “…an excellent cellist: dignified and compelling…an extraordinary performer.” is the soloist with the Brno Philharmonic, Czech Republic in this exciting new release.

In the opening bars, the listener is invited immediately in to the heart of the composer’s creative powers of invention. Recorded in the beautiful Besední dům, in Brno, Czech Republic, the phenomenal acoustic and superb artistry of the Czech musicians in their beautiful collaboration with Ms. Dillingham display the full range of color and allow the most profound human emotions found in music to flow forth.

The cello concerto differs from Dvořák’s previous piano and violin concertos given the important role of the orchestra, which is an equal partner to the solo instrument throughout the work. In the solo part, Dvořák made remarkable use of the varied and rich sounds the cello can produce, and, its unique ability to convey broad, singing melodies. Dillingham’s beautiful tone and fine musicianship bring a fresh interpretation to the grand scale heroism contrasted with the profoundly poetic world expressed in Dvořák’s iconic work.

Included on this album are two short pieces Dvořák composed for cello and piano. Due to their immense popularity with listeners, the composer arranged them for cello and orchestra. Tranquility, melancholy and a burnished quality characterize “Silent Woods” op. 68/5, in contrast to the energetic and delightfully playful “Rondo” Op. 94.

 

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Heather Fetrow, Soprano / Mila Henry, Piano – Voices of Women – From Unknown to Renowned

Voices of Women: From Unknown to Renowned began as an idea in a workshop soprano and album producer Heather Fetrow attended called The Twenty-first Century Singer with Soprano Susan Mohini Kane in Los Angeles in the summer of 2016. The focus of the album grew further to encompass the goal of honoring female composers as a result of a collaboration with renowned soprano Dr. Julianne Baird in Philadelphia in December of 2016. These events coincided with the Women’s March in Washington DC the next month in January of 2017, lending a sense of timeliness to the project.

The focus of an album of songs by women composers and other songs about women is unique, and brings to the fore the vast social change the world is undergoing with respect to woman in our society, both here in the United States and elsewhere around the world. Each piece addresses this separately from different points of view, in some cases from a previous age where the standards of women’s expectations were very different than today. And the World Premiere of “Still” by outstanding and innovative composer Paola Prestini, sung as a duet by sisters, brings the album’s concept full circle with a song composed for and dedicated to this album. Also included are two piano pieces performed by Mila Henry, both by female composers, “Light” by Iranian composer Gity Razaz and “No. 2” from “Nine Short Piano Pieces” composed by Ms. Henry’s mother-in-law. In all, this is an album for the age of the woman and about the age in which we live.

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