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Posts tagged “Innova

Coming From Innova: David Crowell “Eucalyptus”

Innova is the home for New Music in America

David Crowell Eucalyptus
Innova #336 Apr 3, 2012 Digital Only

David Crowell

“Conceptually unifying Eucalyptus, the new album by composer David Crowell, is its focus on music for multiples of the same instrument. Textural similarity coincides with the ideal of egoless composition, no voice more or less important than another, all combining to form a greater whole. Yet each piece on this record has its own character and personal significance.”

Innova is the recording arm of American Composers Forum, St Paul Mn.


Coming From Innova: “Wild Songs”,

Innova is the home for New Music in America

Polly Butler Cornelius Wild Songs
Innova #825 Apr 24, 2012

Composers: Steve Heitzeg, Lori Laitman
Performers: Polly Butler Cornelius, Victoria Fischer Faw, Heather Barringer, Patti Cudd

“Contemporary art song is alive and well in the hands of soprano Polly Butler Cornelius and the team she has gathered for Wild Songs; a song recital as suitable for an environmental consciousness-raising event as for the salon. Drawing on impassioned pleas and the enigmatic nature-centered poetry of Emily Dickinson these powerful, lyrical songs charm and chasten.”

Polly Butler Cornelius

Innova is the recording arm of American Composers Forum, St Paul Mn.

New From Innova

Innova is the home for New Music in America

Jeremy Haladyna Mayan Time Mayan Tales
Innova #818 Feb 28, 2012

Composers: Jeremy Haladyna
Performers: Jeremy Haladyna, Anthony Paul Garcia, Marjan Riazi, Allison Bernal, Michele Forrest

“The best way to really LISTEN to the end of the Mayan Great Cycle is with this new Innova release by Jeremy Haladyna: Mayan Time/Mayan Tales. On more than a third of this disk, sound bears direct witness to the Maya and their calendars—Mayan notions of time reborn as scales. And atop the scales, tales: of a crystal skull, a fearsome temptress, a still-living bird that saw Creation, and a princess who gave her soul to marimba music. Microtonalism comes to archaeology.”

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
Higdon, Clearfield, Primosch: Metamorphosis
Innova #806 Feb 28, 2012

Composers: Jennifer Higdon, Andrea Clearfield, James Primosch
Performers: Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Sanford Sylvan, Alan Harler

“Three original works by contemporary American composers, Andrea Clearfield, Jennifer Higdon and James Primosch, all based in Philadelphia, are featured on the new CD recording of performances by Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. All three works were commissioned by Mendelssohn Club and premiered in concert with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia over the past five years.”

Philip Blackburn Ghostly Psalms
Innova #246 Feb 28, 2012

Philip Blackburn
Performers: The Choir of Clare College Cambridge, Citizens of Duluth, Philip Blackburn, Ellen Fullman
Theresa Wong, Andy Lo, Wild Music Chorus, Maria Jette, Donald Engstrom
Carrie Henneman Shaw, Gary Verkade, Lars Sjostedt

“Some say that an artist’s output is necessarily autobiographical. This set of three substantial works by UK-Minnesotan Philip Blackburn does nothing to disprove that; they have his visionary DNA all over them. They show his deep concern for space, people, and ideas discovering each other through sounding and listening in the moment of performance. And what performances they are! From a city-wide organized industrial soundscape to a virtuoso Cambridge choir, from a brainwave-generated laptop solo to Ellen Fullman’s 80-foot long string instrument with cloistered nuns blowing on organ pipes, these live events are as audacious as they are unrepeatable: Community-based experimental music at its most raw and refined, fun and profound.”

Innova is the recording arm of American Composers Forum, St Paul Mn.

Coming Soon From Innova – New Recordings

Innova #820 Apr 24, 2012

Don Byron, John Halle, Julia Wolfe, John King, Raz Mesinai, David Lang, Kenji Bunch, Marcelo Zarvos

ETHEL String Quartet
Cornelius Dufallo
Mary Rowell
Ralph Farris
Dorothy Lawson
Kenji Bunch

Erdem Helvacioglu Eleven Short Stories
Innova #245 Mar 27, 2012

“Turkish music and the prepared piano are not as far apart as one might think (Mozart tried out some Turkish drum effects with paper on the piano strings back in the day). But now Istanbul-based composer/pianist Erdem Helvacioglu has made the connection even more dramatic and sensuous. “Eleven Short Stories” is a set of nearly a dozen atmospheric vignettes for prepared piano, paying homage to some of his favorite film directors: Kim Ki-Duk, David Lynch, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Theodoros Angelopoulos, Jane Campion, Anthony Minghella, Ang Lee, Atom Egoyan, Darren Aronofsky, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Steven Soderberg.

The pieces are not aligned with a director but rather suggest particular scenes through titles such as Shattered Snow Globe, Mist on the Windowpane, or Bench at the Park. The music runs the full gamut and shades of emotions you might expect from imaginative art-film. There’s stark, pensive observation, wariness of impending jeopardy, rooting around in a Samuel Beckett-like Unknowable; all with the potential for horror and the need for hope. The notes from the piano – gamelan-like – plop gently like summer raindrops coloring the pavement, or slashing the jugular vein, as needs be. Close your eyes and it all makes sense.

Just as a movie proposes its own cinematic reality, each individual piece has preparations unique to its story and soundworld. The piano strings were strewn and inserted with pencils, erasers, paper, plastic and metal spoons, knives, forks, drumsticks, guitar plectrums and slides, e-bows, metal plates, clapsticks, ear plugs, and paperclips attached to the strings within. Not forgetting a toy train and a 60s fashion magazine.

Erdem Helvacioglu (b. 1975) is one of the most renowned contemporary composers of his generation in Turkey. His music has been called “revolutionary,” “groundbreaking,” “emotionally evocative soundscapes with remarkable beauty,” “uncommonly deep, intelligent, and beautiful cinematic compositions”, “luscious and unique,” and “completely arresting and disarmingly beautiful.” Erdem has received awards from the Luigi Russolo, MUSICA NOVA, Insulae Electronicae Electroacoustic Music Competitions. He has been commissioned by numerous entities, from the 2006 World Soccer Championship to the Bang on a Can-All Stars. He is also actively involved in composing for films, multimedia productions, contemporary dance and theatre. He won the “Best Original Soundtrack” award in the 2006 Mostramundo Film Festival, and his film scores have been heard at Cannes, Sarajevo, Locarno, Seoul, Sao Paulo, and Sydney film festivals.

New Releases From Innova Recordings

Innova is the home for New Music in America

First, the big news, Innova has a wonderful new web site. Be sure to visit. I will be featuring their new releases. But, you need not wait for me, you can visit the site any time. Look near the top of the opening page for Featured Releases.

Guy Klucevsek The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour
Innova #819

Guy Klucevsek,Alex Meixner, Brandon Seabrook, Marcus Rojas, Kenny Wollesen, Pete Donovan, John Hollenbeck, Jo Lawry, Theo Bleckmann,
Peter Eldridge, Steve Elson, Dave Douglas, Brave Combo, Jeffrey Barnes, Carl Finch, Little Jack Melody, Alan Emert

“If there’s one adverb-adjective combo that can describe composer/accordionist Guy Klucevsek, it’s unabashedly eclectic. Over the course of twenty-one releases, his music has combined the heart-pounding rhythms of eastern Europe with teeming contrapuntal passages, gorgeous melodies, and Klucevsek’s own ‘trailblazing virtuosity’ [Wall Street Journal]. But his twenty-second release, The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour, might be his most ambitious yet.

It’s a global tour, a worldwide tribute to the composers and musicians who have shaped him as a creative artist. From France to Bulgaria to Spain, he pays homage to Erik Satie and the Swingle Singers, Ivan Milev, and Basque trikitixa maestro, Kepa Junkera. On “The C&M Waltz” and “Moja Baba Je Pijana,” Klucevsek harks back to the Slovenian-American polkas and waltzes of his childhood, while Martin Denny’s exotica gets a nod on “O’O.” Middle Eastern pop even creeps in in the form of “Pink Elephant.”

But he couldn’t have done it alone. The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour is very much a group effort, made possible by a generous United States Artists Collins Fellowship. Carl Finch co-produced six of the tracks, and performed on them with his group, Brave Combo, winners of two Grammy awards for Best Polka Album. Featured on these tracks are two accordion prodigies, Alex Meixner (whose Polka Freak Out was nominated for a Grammy) and exciting young Texas Swing specialist Ginny Mac.

In addition to these special guests, the album features Klucevsek’s longtime Charms of the Night Sky bandleader, trumpeter Dave Douglas and an all-star cast of New York City’s finest musicians: singers Jo Lawry (currently on tour with Sting), fellow innova artist Theo Bleckmann and Peter Eldridge; drummers John Hollenbeck and Kenny Wollesen; Marcus Rojas on tuba; Pete Donovan on bass; Steve Elson on clarinet and saxes; and Brandon Seabrook on tenor banjo and acoustic guitar.

Guy Klucevsek is one of the world’s most versatile and highly-respected accordionists. He has performed and/or recorded with Accordion Tribe, Laurie Anderson, Bang On a Can, Alan Bern, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Rahim al Haj, Robin Holcomb, Kepa Junkera, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Present Music, Relâche, John Williams, Zeitgeist, and John Zorn.

He has premiered over 50 solo accordion pieces, including his own, as well as those he has commissioned from Mary Ellen Childs, William Duckworth, Fred Frith, Aaron Jay Kernis, Jerome Kitzke, Stephen Montague, Somei Satoh, Lois V Vierk, and John Zorn. He has also appeared on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Zack Browning Secret Pulse
Innova #817

Ensemble Unity
Cadillac Moon Ensemble
JACK Quartet
University of Central Florida Percussion Ensemble

“Imagine multiple collisions of musical worlds where sparks fly and mediations flow through secret pulses dictated by a magic square. This is the world of Secret Pulse where composer Zack Browning presents a dramatic music of rhythmically-charged pop-inspired riffs battling transcendental melodies. Each composition can be compared to a spider’s web; musically spinning out events whose design is based on a secret pulse derived from the birth dates of the performers using the Lo Shu Square and feng shui.

The special connection between the virtuosic performers on this CD and the music is captured in their powerful performances. Ensemble Unity of Taiwan rocks on the Hakka folksong “Cutting Flowers” in Hakka Fusion. The Cadillac Moon Ensemble becomes speed devils in Secret Pulse and then makes it funky in Moon Thrust and its use of Van Morrison’s “Moondance”. The JACK Quartet both mesmerizes and marvels in their interpretation of the String Quartet, moving effortlessly from soft chorales to loud funk. In Flying Tones, the UCF Percussion Ensemble grooves and grinds then provides a personal and moving rendition of the UCF Alma Mater. The four ensembles consist of musical all stars whose performances on this CD are extraordinary.

The music of Zack Browning is described as ‘way-cool in attitude’ and ‘speed-demon music’ (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and ‘propulsive, giddy, rocking…, a rush of cyclic riffs and fractured meters’ (The New York Times). The Irish Times has proclaimed he is ‘bringing together the procedures of high musical art with the taste of popular culture’. Browning’s composition awards have included two Illinois Arts Council Composer Fellowships, a Chamber Music America Commission, and two Arnold O. Beckman Awards and two FAA Fellowships from the University of Illinois. Performances include the Bonk Festival of New Music (Tampa), the International Society for Contemporary Music Festival (Miami), International Computer Music Conference (New Orleans), Spark Festival (Minneapolis), Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), Composers Choice Festival (Dublin), Sonorities Festival (Belfast) , Skinneskatteberg Festival (Sweden), Asian Contemporary Music Festival (Seoul), and National Chiang Kai Shek Cultural Center (Taipei). ”

Marc Rossi Group Mantra Revealed
Innova #816

Marc Rossi, Lance Van Lenten, Bill Urmson, Mauricio Zottarelli, Geetha Ramanathan Bennett, Prasanna, Bruce Arnold

“Since it began, jazz has been—like America itself—a place where disparate and diverse streams have met as they flow towards the ocean. Consider Boston-based pianist/composer Marc Rossi and the members of the Marc Rossi Group as ambassadors from an exotic locale where the dizzying modal runs of South and North Indian music swirl and blend with jazz and Afro-Latin forms. These deep, rich waters have nourished musicians before; think of Dave Brubeck’s Jazz Impressions of Eurasia or Ellington’s Far East Suite. Think of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaboration Sketches of Spain or the Mahavishnu Orchestra. John McLaughlin himself, the grand master of eastern jazz fusion, commenting on Rossi’s composition and performance calls the work “very nice indeed!”

With Mantra Revealed, Rossi continues the work he began on Hidden Mandala: bearing the standard for pan-Indian jazz fusion into the present tense and beyond.

As a student of both Hindustani and Carnatic Indian music and a professor of piano and jazz composition at Berklee College of Music, Rossi has been a vital part of the Boston music scene for the past two decades, and he’s assembled an all-star cast for Mantra Revealed. Lance Van Lenten (saxophone and flute), Bill Urmson (electric bass), Mauricio Zottarelli (drums), and Rossi himself make up the core Marc Rossi Group, supplemented by Prassana’s adventurous, Indian-inflected guitar on opener “Jazz Impressions of a Kriti,” the sumptuous voice of Geetha Ramanathan Bennett, and the furious fret work of Bruce Arnold.

The album’s rich panoply of colors and textures comes from the interplay of Rossi’s own distinctive compositions and the players’ absorbing improvisational skills. It’s become commonplace to refer to an album as a “journey” these days, but few navigate a path as wide-ranging, engaging and multi-hued as Mantra Revealed.”

Anna Thorvaldsdottir Rhizoma
Innova #810

Caput Ensemble
Justin DeHart
Iceland Symphony Orchestra

“The works on Rhízōma, the debut album by prominent Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir, rise from the earth, born from ghostly roots. Deep sustained tones evoke subterranean caverns; fractured cascades mimic the intricate crystalline structure of giant glaciers. A fleeting rustle of percussion here, the stony scrape of a prepared piano there—a living landscape listened to and learned from. Against these textures skate lines of melody that evoke an enigmatic lyricism. The works throughout the collection display a keen and unique perception of the world through music, despite the variety of settings, perhaps flavored by the composer dividing her time between La Jolla and Reykjavik, between the sunny California coast and Iceland’s volcanic vistas. Rhízōma consists of three larger pieces for orchestra and chamber orchestra, punctuated by five smaller movements from a solo percussed piano work. The larger works are given life by two ensembles who couldn’t be better suited to the task: the Grammy-nominated Iceland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Bjarnson perform the cinematic Dreaming, while the award-winning Icelandic CAPUT Ensemble conducted by Snorri Sigfus Birgisson perform Streaming Arhythmia and the opening Hrím, which was awarded Composition of the Year for 2010 at this year’s Icelandic Music Awards. Between these larger works lie five movements from the work Hidden, performed on prepared piano by percussionist Justin DeHart. Although her compositions have appeared on a number of albums, Rhízōma is the first full album to consist only of her works and heralds the arrival of a vital new voice in classical music. Anna is a composer whose work is frequently performed by both ensembles and soloists throughout the US and Europe and has been nominated, and won awards, including for the Prix Europa and the International Rostrum of Composers. The Icelandic CAPUT Ensemble specializes in the performance of contemporary music. Established in 1987, CAPUT has premiered countless works, ranging from solo pieces to large chamber orchestra works. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1950 and is one of the leading Nordic orchestras, recording regularly for BIS, Chandos, and Naxos. Percussionist Justin DeHart received his DMA from UCSD in 2010. Although he specializes in contemporary music, he works in a variety of genres.”

Mimi Stillman / Charles Abramovic Odyssey
Innova #814

Mimi Stillman
Charles Abramovic

Odyssey: 11 American Premieres for Flute and Piano is the latest release from flute superstar Mimi Stillman. This 2-CD collection, with pianist Charles Abramovic, is a breathtaking tour de force that brings together nearly a dozen works – mostly written for Ms. Stillman – highlighting the richness and diversity of the American contemporary music scene.

Odyssey takes its title from the work by Gerald Levinson, and more broadly, it is the adventurous journey representing the recording as a whole. There is stunning breadth and variety of musical styles from eleven composers of different compositional languages and approaches. Mason Bates’s Elements is a virtuosic essay from a composer who is as comfortable in electronica as he is as composer-in-residence for Chicago Symphony. Benjamin C.S. Boyle’s Sonata-Cantilena showcases the vocal nature of the flute in lushly sensuous writing.

Gerald Levinson’s eponymous Odyssey is a 15½ -minute monster of a piece for solo flute, a test of stamina and control. David Ludwig’s Sonata features two outer movements which are fast rides with inexorable momentum propelling flute and piano, surrounding a lyrical, introspective inner movement. Odyssey draws on music of diverse world cultures – David Ludwig was inspired by traditional Argentinean music, Katherine Hoover by Hungarian, American Indian, and Chinese music, Michael Djupstrom by a Balkan folk song. Zhou Tian references his own heritage of Chinese music. David Bennett Thomas cites jazz as an influence on his Whim for Solo Flute, along with elements of Messiaen. In her Mountain and Mesa, Katherine Hoover quotes a Hopi lullaby recorded by an ethnomusicologist. Grammy Award winner Richard Danielpour’s A Quality Love, Stillman and Abramovic’s arrangement of an aria from his opera Margaret Garner, is a poignantly simple song of love in a folk-like vein.

Hailed by The Washington Post as ‘a magically gifted flutist, a breath of fresh air’ and described by Broad Street Review as ‘lyricism combined with introspection, fire and energy,’ Yamaha Performing Artist Mimi Stillman dazzles audiences with her virtuosity, passion, dynamism, and ‘full-toned charisma’ (The Philadelphia Inquirer). The New York Times praised her as ‘technically agile and imaginative in her use of color.’ Philadelphia City Paper marveled at her ‘rock-solid chops and affecting conviction.’ She has performed as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Bach Collegium Stuttgart, Orquesta Sinfónica Carlos Chávez, and other orchestras and as recitalist and chamber musician at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Verbier Festival, and other major international venues. Mimi Stillman is a Renaissance woman – consummate artist, entrepreneuse, historian, writer, and educator. A child prodigy, Mimi was at age 12 the youngest wind player ever admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, and at 17 she became the youngest wind player ever to win the prestigious Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Equally at home with the classical canon, contemporary music, and Latin and Sephardic world music, she has performed with Paquito D’Rivera, recorded a film score for Kevin Bacon, and was given a long standing ovation for her brilliant performance with Charles Abramovic of the complete flute chamber works of Bach. She is Artistic and Executive Director of Dolce Suono Ensemble, which she founded in 2005, a highly regarded pioneering force in the music world that has produced 23 world premieres in seven seasons.”

So, that is the current crop of the new and adventurous artists at Innova. But, please visit the web site. Especially check out the Links pages, where you can still find Philip Blackburn’s wonderful interview series, Alive and Composing and Measure for Measure.

Innova Recordings is truly a treasure.

Innova is the recording arm of American Composers Forum, St Paul Mn.

From Innova Recordings at American Composers Forum – Two Great Archives of Composer/Musician Interviews

Always Midwestern modest

A bit less modest, must be the NYC influence of programming The Stone

Innova Recordings has at its web site, two great series of interviews of composer and musicians. One is Alive and Composing, the other is Measure For Measure. Both of these series were done as podcasts. Visit the sites from Innova’s home page. If you use Firefox, you can load them from their main links. They will become bookmarks on your Bookmarks Tool Bar. If you use IE, you will have a choice to load them in your chosen RSS feed reader. I cannot recommend my other browser, SeaMonkey, because I only use the browser in the SeaMonkey Suite. When I tried it out for this post, SeaMonkey wanted me to use its Mail and News Group utility which I do not use. I cannot speak about Chrome or Safari browsers.

But, what I can tell you is that Philip Blackburn is the consummate knowledgeable interviewer. He gets to the root of each individual’s musical passions.

I have recorded all of these interviews and put them on my Zune .mp3 player for airline trips, waiting in the mall for someone, and, of course, trips to the dentist.

Please visit the sites. Take a look at some of the names, listen to Philip do his thing. What was that old commerical “Try it, you’ll like it”.

New From Innova: Robert Moran – Trinity Requiem

Innova is the home for New Music in America

Robert Moran Trinity Requiem
Innova 244 (Sept 2011)

Robert Moran has many strings to his compositional bow, from cheeky Fluxus to post-Minimal lushness. Justly accused of occasionally being “shamelessly Romantic” his music on this collection of his choral music is never short of sublime.

Moran was commissioned by Trinity Wall Street (the ‘Ground Zero’ church) to write a Requiem for their youth chorus to commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. The result is a heartfelt and heavenly work for angelic voices with organ, harps and cellos. Its simplicity and direct appeal rival that of Faure himself and it is sure to become a standard repertory work. While many of the singers were barely born at the time of the attacks in New York, the composer found inspiration in the all-too common grief found in war zones around the world (such as Kosovo and London) when children suddenly lose their families to violence.

Listeners will note the synchronicity recorded on tape during the Offertory; a siren passed by during the best vocal take and could not be edited out. It becomes a touching reminder of the context of this work and the personal authenticity of these fine musicians.

Seven Sounds Unseen for 20 solo voices, was commissioned by the BMG label in 1992 to major acclaim but has long been out of print. It uses fragments of letters from John Cage to the composer and sets them in rich, timeless, monumental choral textures. The remaining works on the album keep the philosophical edge and vocal purity: Notturno in Weiss [Nocturne in White], a Surrealistic poem by Christian Morgenstern, and Requiem for a Requiem, a collage by Philip Blackburn of several Moran recorded works on innova.

All performances are stellar: Trinity Youth Chorus (with some adult voices) led by Robert Ridgell, Seattle’s The Esoterics led by Eric Banks, and Richard Westenburg’s Musica Sacra.

Philadelphia-based Moran currently has several major works being premiered: Alice, with the Scottish Ballet, Buddha Goes to Bayreuth for Germany’s Ruhr Tiennale, and The Lottery for Ballet West. This is his fourth release on innova: Open Veins, Mantra, and Cabinet of Curiosities.”

See the Innova “One Sheet” here.

Innova is the recording arm of American Composers Forum, St Paul Mn.