OFF THE EDGE
Argentinian composer, conductor, and scholar Alicia Terzian’s new Navona release OFF THE EDGE is an incredible journey into the heart of the string orchestra. The four works on the album introduce listeners to Terzian’s captivating compositional perspective and enchanting treatment of this ensemble’s sonic potential. Her writing focuses heavily on the drama, nuance, and contrasts accessible through instrumental color, and OFF THE EDGE showcases numerous audacious textures involving the string orchestra, with different percussion instruments,chorus,soloists and voice.
To this end, Terzian’s work Tres Piezas para Orquesta de Cuerdas is the album’s simplest presentation of strings, as it is the only piece on the album to feature string orchestra by itself. Even so, this highly sectional piece demonstrates the ensemble’s considerable textural flexibility. As one might expect, the composer uses the orchestra as a conventional and singular melodic force with the accompaniment of solo violin and cello in the corresponding variations of the 2nd movement. More importantly, Tres Piezas is a work that exploits string instruments’ capacities to produce both compellingly powerful and delicate sounds.
The other works on OFF THE EDGE more commonly play to the extremes of the string orchestra’s sonic palette. This tendency is encapsulated in the first minutes of Carmen Criaturalis (1970), a concerto for horn, string orchestra, and percussion considered the beginning of "spectralism". Here, Terzian fuses the sounds of a rolling cymbal with trembling, sliding strings and the vibraphone, which give way to the solo horn’s anguished solo melody, a melody calling to mind a scream and then joining the orchestra in an emotional conclusion.
Canto a Mi Misma (1985) features an enthralling form, as well as rich, vivified string textures and is scored for string orchestra, a chorus reading the texts of 20 poems, and the tam-tam. Both thematically, and in actual performance, sound transformation is a key element of this composition. Spoken material is electronically manipulated and delayed around a performance space, an effect admirably captured in this recording. Through speaker placement and live sound manipulation, the listener perceives musical content and its ongoing transformation with a fluidity mirroring that of the material itself. While perhaps hard to visualize, the live performance of this piece utilizes a specially designed system of scattered speakers and stage microphones structured specifically by the composer for the transmission of this single composition.
Written in 1992, the album’s titular work combines strings, Chinese cymbals, choir, and bass soloist in a dramatic and expansive musical design.
A renowned Argentinian composer, conductor, and musicologist, Alicia Terzian was appointed as the most important musician in the country in 2013 by an official session of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, as well as an Honorary Member of the General Assembly of the International Music Council of UNESCO, in 2003, by vote of all member countries.
The works on OFF THE EDGE come from three of the four periods Terzian identifies in her compositional career, including her “Opening to Microtonalism” (1954 - 1968), “Cosmic Time” (1969 -1984), and “Spatial Era” (1985 - 2003). This allows the album to capture the transformation of her style from her earliest works (Tres Piezas para Orquestra de Cuerdas, 1954) to her more recent musical focuses (Off the Edge, 1992)
Terzian’s compositional style contains a concerted treatment of the musical texture and color of string instruments, particularly with Tres Piezas (the album’s only string-only work) as well as with the remaining pieces, which combine strings, percussion, horn, and vocalists.
Argentinian newspaper La Nacion celebrated Terzian as “one of our heroes of culture from the art of music” and a talented composer “of music of our time, gaining prestige in its international trajectory”
ALSO ON NAVONA RECORDS
Dream Vapors (NV6025)
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Catalog #: NV6088
Siberian State Symphony Orchestra | Vladimir Lande conductor
1 Carmen Criaturalis
Fedor Kukovyakin horn
2 Canto a mi misma
Vox Futura | Andrew Shenton conductor
Noel Smith director
3 Off the edge
Choir of the Art College of Krasnoyarsk | Tatyana Hodash choirmaster
Alexander Mikhalev baritone
Tres Piezas opus 5
4 I. Cancion del atardecer
5 II. Pastoral con variaciones
6 III. Danza rustica
All tracks recorded September 5-8, 2016 at
Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic Hall in Siberia, Russia
Producer & Engineer Alexei Barashkin
Poetic texts for Canto A Mi Misma recorded
January 22, 2017 at Futura Productions
in Roslindale MA
Session Producer Brad Michel
Session Engineer John Weston
Engineer Assistant Travis Karpak, Alec Seymour
Executive Producer Bob Lord
Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Alex Bourne
Audio Director Jeff LeRoy
Editing, Mixing & Mastering Shaun Michaud, Lucas Paquette
Recording Sessions Manager Levi Brown
Art & Production Director Brett Picknell
Graphic Design Ryan Harrison, Emily Roulo
Marketing Samantha Granville, Lucas Paquette
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