The most frequently-recorded conductor of our time, who has collaborated with some of the world’s greatest soloists and orchestras, and is among the most sought-after guest conductors, constantly touring with major orchestras around the world, and the recipient of music’s most coveted honors, including 8 GRAMMY® awards, 2 Guggenheim Fellowships, the Deutsche Schallplatten Award for Best Orchestral Recording, and the Audiophile Magazine’s Award for Best Orchestral Recording (to name just a few) JOSÉ SEREBRIER (b.1938) established himself as a significant composer as far back as the 1950s, with over 100 published works. Serebrier composed music and conducted orchestras since early childhood, conceiving his Opus 1 – Sonata for solo violin at the age of 9, and making his conducting debut at age 11. A composition student of Vittorio Giannini at Curtis, Serebrier also studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood, and developed his conducting skills under the auspices of Pierre Monteux and Antal Dorati, as well as through his 5-year association with Leopold Stokowski and the American Symphony Orchestra. Serebrier’s Symphony No.1 (written in just 2 weeks at age 17), was world-premiered by Stokowski, who later also conducted two other works by Serebrier. For 2 consecutive years (the 1968-69 and 69-70 seasons), George Szell named José Serebrier Composer-in-Residence of the Cleveland Orchestra, where Serebrier composed important experimental works (such as his avant-garde concerto Nueve, written for double bassist Gary Karr). Starting with his first-ever work, his Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 1, José Serebrier has been a major composer of historical importance, whose oeuvre is complex, multi-layered, sophisticated and endlessly inspiring. This album presents seven chamber works by José Serebrier, five of which as world premiere recordings. Serebrier’s luminous lyricism, resplendent melodic language and fascinating harmonies are already evident even in his Op.1 violin sonata, a veritable masterpiece. In addition to Serebrier’s Violin Sonata and the Fantasy for Solo Flute at dusk, in shadows… this album also presents the world premiere recording of Serebrier’s Sonata for Solo Viola, as well as the world premiere recording of his Suite for Solo Cello in 5 movements. Three other world premiere recordings of works by Serebrier are also included: If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking for Horn, Violin and Narrator (after Emily Dickinson’s poem), M.M.P. for Flute and Cello (a delightful short duet) and Nostalgia (transcribed for Solo Violin by Elmira Darvarova). The exhilarating interpretations of the renowned artists – violinist Elmira Darvarova (former Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera), violist Ronald Carbone (Principal Violist, American Ballet Theatre), cellist Samuel Magill (former Associate Principal Cellist, Metropolitan Opera), flutist Lucian Rinando (Elysian Ensemble) and hornist Howard Wall (New York Philharmonic), as well as the inclusion of five world premiere recordings, make this outstanding disc a desirable acquisition.High Res Audio
“HOMAGE to EUGÈNE YSAŸE” is a double-CD album presenting works by the legendary Belgian violinist and composer Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931), as well as by 3 other composers whose works and legacy have been influenced by Eugène Ysaÿe: the Uruguayan-born, New York-based composer and conductor José Serebrier (born 1938), the German-born, Canadian-based composer Michael Oesterle (born 1964), and the Irish-born, Paris-based violist and composer Garth Knox (born 1956). While Eugène Ysaÿe’s works on this album include his most well-known masterpiece – the “Ballade” (Sonata No. 3) from his Six Sonatas for Solo Violin Op. 27, as well as two other gems – his Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 28, and his forgotten, but recently re-discovered 1927 String Trio No. 1, Op. 33 (a.k.a. “Le Chimay”), the other three composers are each represented with a world premiere recording (the Sonata for Solo Viola by José Serebrier, “Ardennes” for Solo Cello by Michael Oesterle and “Homage to Ysaÿe” for Solo Viola by Garth Knox), in addition to José Serebrier’s very first composition, dating from his teenage years – his Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 1. This magnificent collection of works for strings from the 20th and 21st centuries is a reflection on the undiminished power of the immortal legacy of Eugène Ysaÿe as a genius musician whose extraordinary achievements as a performer and composer spread beyond his time, to enrich and inform other works that not only pay homage to him, but are masterful and unforgettable on their own, carrying over the undiminished fascination with Ysaÿe’s oeuvre, and further inspiring, on their own terms, present day interpreters and audiences. As passionate advocates for Eugène Ysaÿe, and for the three world premiere recordings (the Sonata for Solo Viola by José Serebrier, “Ardennes” for Solo Cello by Michael Oesterle and “Homage to Ysaÿe” for Solo Viola by Garth Knox), as well as José Serebrier’s Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 1, the performers of this splendid album – violinist Elmira Darvarova, violist Ronald Carbone and cellist Winona Zelenka – appear as an ensemble (in Ysaÿe’s String Trio No. 1, Op. 33, a.k.a. “Le Chimay”), as well as soloists in the rest of the works. The performers’ own connections to Eugène Ysaÿe stem from historical circumstances: Elmira Darvarova and Winona Zelenka both personally knew Ysaÿe’s prominent student Josef Gingold (1909-1995), with whom Elmira Darvarova studied, and both Elmira Darvarova and Ronald Carbone participated in the New York premiere of Ysaÿe’s String Trio No. 1, Op. 33 (a.k.a. “Le Chimay”). This album brings superb interpretations of stunningly beautiful compositions, as a glorious tribute to one of the most brightly shining stars that ever graced the world of virtuoso artists – the one and only Eugène Ysaÿe.
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.
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