Christopher Nichols, Clarinet
Julie Nishimura, Piano
Clarinetist Christopher Nichols makes his PARMA and Navona Records debut with ELEGIA, a compilation of Italian, French, and American clarinet works spanning two centuries. These works include repertoire standards, little-recorded rarities, and recent music from contemporary composer Kevin Cope. Collaborative pianist Julie Nishimura joins Nichols for these recordings.
Among the widely-known works featured on the album is the operatic and energetic Adagio and Tarentella by Ernesto Cavallini, a clarinetist/composer known in Italy as “the Paganini of the clarinet.” As the principal clarinetist at Milan’s La Scala opera house, Cavallini’s astounding virtuosity caught the attention of Giuseppe Verdi, who was moved to write the stunning, lyrical Andante for clarinet in act three of his opera La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny)—a piece also included on this release. Nichols also features a favorite recital piece, Elegia. Composed by Aurelio Magnani, another Italian clarinetist/composer, the work is little known and rarely recorded. Two French staples are included as well: Henri Rabaud’s 1901 Solo de concours, Op. 10 and Camille Saint-Saëns’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 167. Each work is divided into contrasting sections or movements, thus displaying the clarinet’s wide-ranging sound in different contexts. The album’s two American works are both for unaccompanied clarinet. John Cage’s rarely heard, early Sonata for Clarinet is a challenging work: at its premiere in 1933, the clarinetist refused to play it, forcing the composer to play it with one finger at the piano. Even as an early piece, it foreshadows Cage’s later forays into the radical avant-garde. Kevin Cope’s 2012 piece Sirocco rounds out the album. The word “sirocco” refers to a desert wind that blows around the Mediterranean coastline, evoked in the piece by wandering tonality and blending of different musical styles.
Clarinetist Christopher Nichols is nationally and internationally active as a solo performer. As a soloist, he has been featured at conferences of the International Clarinet Association, European Clarinet Association, and College Music Society. His performances have been broadcast on Kansas and Michigan Public Radio, and have been included in the Audio Performance Archive of College Music Symposium. In 2015, his solo work garnered him an Established Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts.
Nichols also frequently performs in ensembles. He is a current member of the Christiana Winds, and regularly performs with mid-Atlantic orchestras such as the Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Kennett Symphony, and the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with the Serafin String Quartet, the Taggart-Grycky Duo, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony.
Nichols is a dedicated teacher, having been Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Delaware since 2013. He is also the Audio Reviews Editor for The Clarinet, and is a Légère Reeds Endorsing Artist and a Buffet Artist Clinician, performing exclusively with Légère Signature Series reeds and Buffet clarinets.
Julie Nishimura has been faculty accompanist for the Department of Music at the University of Delaware since 1988. She is active throughout the country as a performer, appearing at music festivals, such as the chamber music series of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall; with several symphony orchestras; and as a guest artist at over 45 college campuses. She is artistic director and co-founder of Distant Voices Touring Theatre, which tours two documentary theatrical works: Distant Voices, based on Nishimura’s father’s account of his time in a Japenese-American internment camp, and September Echoes, which chronicles the events surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Kevin Cope’s music has a dark, engaging character. He works can be tonal and atonal, and is known for his mixing of styles—such as Arabian modes with Western theory. Sirocco was commissioned by clarinetist Arianna Tieghi for a project called “From USA,” where she performs a piece by a composer from each of the 50 states. This is also the world premiere recording of Sirocco.
All tracks recorded June 1 & 2, 2015 at Gore Recital Hall in the Roselle Center of the Arts at the University of Delaware in Newark DE
Recording Session Engineer & Producer Andreas Meyer
Editing, Mixing & Mastering Andreas Meyer
This recording is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
Executive Producer Bob Lord
Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Brandon MacNeil
Audio Director Jeff LeRoy
Engineering Manager Lucas Paquette
Design & Marketing Director Brett Picknell
Design Ryan Harrison
Release Date: September 8, 2017
Catalog #: NV6120
Christopher Nichols Clarinet
Julie Nishimura Piano
John Cage (1912-1992)
Sonata for Clarinet (1933)
Aurelio Magnani (1856-1921)
Camille Saint-Saëns (1935-1921)
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 167
06 Allegro animato
08 Molto allegro – Allegretto
Henri Rabaud (1873-1949)
09 Solo de concours, Op. 10
Kevin J. Cope (b. 1981)
10 Sirocco for Clarinet in A (2012)
Giuseppe Verdi (1831-1901)
11 Andante from La forza del destino
Ernesto Cavallini (1807-1874)
12 Adagio and Tarantella
ALSO ON NAVONA RECORDS
of Henri Marteau
& Alexander Zemlinsky
© NAVONA RECORDS LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
NAVONA Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.
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