From ECM New, This Fall, Four Releases

Toshio Hosokawa Landscapes
ECM New Series 2095

Mayumi Miyata shô
Münchener Kammerorchester
Alexander Liebreich conductor

“We last heard from Mayumi Miyata on Helmut Lachenmann’s Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern, where the sound of the shō, one of the oldest wind instruments, symbolized other planes of existence: it seems to carry with it the feeling of other times and places. This has made it paradoxically attractive to contemporary composers. John Cage wrote some of his final music for the shō, and it was perhaps inevitable that Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa would give it special consideration. In this fascinating collaboration with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Mayumi Miyata solos in Hosakawa’s music for strings and shō, and plays unaccompanied shō on Sakura, Hosakawa’s adaptation of a traditional Japanese piece. The album concludes with Cloud and Light, a 22-minute piece from 2008, where orchestra and shō drift weightlessly in resonant space.”

Toshio Hosokawa

Duo Gazzana Five Pieces
ECM New 2238

Natascia Gazzana violin
Raffaella Gazzana piano

“This is the recording debut of Italian sisters Natascia and Raffaella Gazzana, named for the Five Pieces for violin and piano by Valentin Silvestrov which conclude the album. These works – a gently-pulsing elegy, a serenade, an intermezzo, a barcarole, a ghostly nocturne – receive their international release here in a context which combines the familiar and the far-flung, as Duo Gazzana finds creative affinities between the music of four very different composers. “The programme as a whole is typical of the duo’s inquiring and sensitive approach to repertory”, writes Paul Griffiths in the liner notes. ‘What we hear here is a vital freshness’.”

Natascia and Raffaella Gazzana

Boris Yoffe Song of Songs
ECM New 2174

Rosamunde Quartett
Andreas Reiner, violin
Diane Pascal, violin
Helmut Nicolai, viola
Anja Lechner, violoncello

The Hilliard Ensemble
David James, countertenor
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor
Steven Harrold, tenor
Gordon Jones, baritone

“Russian-born Israeli composer Boris Yoffe began writing short pieces for string quartet – each a page long, playing for around half a minute – in 1995, when he was in his mid-twenties. By now his Book of Quartets is a compendium of several thousand pages, and one constantly growing. The pieces on this recording were selected, by the players and by the composer, from the approximately eight hundred he has written during the last three or four years. Among them are other single-page compositions from a related, interpenetrating project in which the quartet’s four parts become eight with the addition of four singers, their voices matching the instruments in range as they sing phrases from the Song of Songs. The Rosamunde quartet and the Hilliard Ensemble collaborate for the first time in this New Series debut for Yoffe, recorded in St. Gerold in November 2009.”

Boris Yoffe

Gidon Kremer Edition Lockenhaus
ECM New 2190

Gidon Kremer

Five-CD limited-edition box set, issued in time for the 30th anniversary of the Austrian chamber-music festival. Edition Lockenhaus returns long out-of-print titles to the catalogue, with some of the finest musicians of the New Series, including Gidon Kremer, Kim Kashkashian, Heinz Holliger, Thomas Zehetmair, Thomas Demenga, Robert Levin, Eduard Brunner and many more. Gidon Kremer: ‘The artistic atmosphere in Lockenhaus soon has everybody speaking on the same wavelength.’The set opens with previously unreleased recordings – from 2001 and 2008 – with Sir Simon Rattle and Roman Kofman conducting Kremerata Baltica in revelatory performances of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen and Olivier Messiaen’s Trois petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine: the committed interpretations convey the spirit of Lockenhaus. Discs two through five focus on music of César Franck, André Caplet, Francis Poulenc, Leos Janácek, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich and Erwin Schulhoff. Original liner notes, an interview with Kremer, and new texts complete a very special edition.”