Navona Records is proud to present the Tapestry Ensemble's NEW YORK MOMENTS. Oboist Richard Kravchak, clarinetist Julia Heinen, cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, and pianist Dmitry Rachmanov bring their varied experiences to the table to create a dynamic and versatile group whose collaboration led to the creation of a new subgenre of chamber music.
The chamber ensemble format has historically been able to intimately interpret works with a variety of emotional nuance, and retains flexibility to perform music with myriad influences. ALLUSIONS, an album of evocative chamber works, showcases the expressive and interpretive abilities of contemporary composition and features works by five composers.
Composer Lawrence Ball has long been fascinated by the intersection of subjective human emotion and algorithmic mathematical objectivity. In his 2012 Navona Records release METHOD MUSIC, produced by Pete Townshend of The Who and PARMA Recordings CEO Bob Lord, he took Townshend’s long-gestating concept of automatic musical portraiture first explored in LIFEHOUSE and WHO’S NEXT and turned it into reality, creating a system which could translate personal information and experiences into sound.
FOREVER BEELER represents a sampling of composer Alan Beeler’s prolific output throughout his musical career, which is generally defined by his commitment to compositional craft and structural clarity. The works featured on this album also reveal a playfulness lying just under the surface of Beeler’s compositional perspective. This quality of Beeler’s music is most notable in the seven sonatas for piano, often accompanied by another instrument, included in FOREVER BEELER.
Les Délices, which includes Baroque oboist Debra Nagy, Mélisande Corriveau on viola da gamba, and Eric Milnes on harpsichord, explores the dramatic potential and emotional resonance of long-forgotten music. Founded by Nagy in 2009, Les Délices has established a reputation for their unique programs that are “thematically concise, richly expressive, and featuring composers few people have heard of.” The New York Times added, “Concerts and recordings by Les Délices are journeys of discovery.”
International folk dances and Western film scores meet in GENTLE WINDS, a richly tonal collection that is as pleasing to hear as it is to perform. With the melodic, songlike phrases that highlight each instrument equally, one can hear the joy emanating from every performer.
BRUSH STROKES from Athenia Trio features works for flute, oboe, and bassoon. The program harnesses the impressive versatility of the trio, with six pieces by six different composers, including two commissioned specially for the ensemble: Alyssa Morris’s Brush Strokes, and Robbie McCarthy's The Blind Men and the Elephant.
Navona Records proudly presents BREAKING THE SILENCE from legendary Australian composer George Palmer. The works featured on this new album draw inspiration from centuries-old poetry as well as the composer’s own life experience; Breaking the Silence unpacks a 17th-century pastoral haiku depicting a lone frog’s leap into a still pond, while Not Going Quietly is a touching tribute to a concert pianist whose life was cut short by a brain tumor.
Eleanor Alberga explores the whole gamut of the human experience in WILD BLUE YONDER, an equally diverse and coherent set of four contemporary chamber music pieces. While written over the course of twenty-two years, these pieces burst the limits of both space and time. No-Man’s-Land Lullaby reaches back over a century to World War I; Shining Gate of Morpheus enters the realm of the mystical; Succubus Moon explores the dark sides of the human psyche; and The Wild Blue Yonder offers a glimpse into a world that is at once alien and wonderful. Undauntedly, positively unsettling album; perfect listening for these unsettling times and a worthy addition to the much hailed album of Alberga's three string quartets from 2019.
On FIGMENTS VOL. 3 from Navona Records, the imaginations of composers Jacob E. Goodman, Gary D. Belshaw, Andrew Lewinter, Thomas Mann Jr, Elliott Miles McKinley, and Eleanor Alberga are brought to life in a dynamic breadth of emotional performances, from soothing to exhilarating and natural to mythical. A dynamic assortment of contemporary chamber music, fantasy and reality collide to bring forth exhilarating stories spanning scenes from Greek Mythology to those of spirited animals and surreal scenic portraits. Universal melodies and rhythms find their form, short sketches evoke seasonal qualities, and fantasies float into reality in this collection.
Navona Records presents LAST NOTES, an album tracing the musical footprint of composer Eric Biddington’s compositional history through revived works of the past. Some written nearly 30 years ago, the unearthed gems featured on this album speak in a fresh tone, effusing elegance and thoughtfulness across varied orchestrations and moods. From the tender sentiments teeming in Peace for Julie to the playful nature of A Little Dance and his deeply moving passages for bassoon and piano, Biddington covers a wide gamut of expression in these chamber works.
Rigorous repertoire is at the ready on WINDSWEPT VOL. II from Navona Records, a sweeping sonic force of contemporary chamber works for woodwind quintet. Performed by the New London Chamber Ensemble, the works of seven composers soar with modern flair, making use of various instrumental textures and irregular meters with jazz-driven influences sprouting from classical roots. Dynamic displays of dexterity and lucious interplay between performers burst with refined energy in this recording, uplifting listeners into a satisfying and equally enticing atmosphere.
TEXTURES IN CLASSICS from renowned pianist and music scholar Sang-Hie Lee explores the rich musical possibilities offered by the piano. To do so, Lee performs works from some of the seminal composers in Western music including Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms. The album captures Lee’s unique pianism at the height of her maturity as an artist. While contemporary performers often place an outsized emphasis on virtuosic technical skill, Lee’s performances examine the notion of texture in piano music; this ranges from the clean, crisp soundscape of Mozart’s early pianoforte to Beethoven’s exacting technique and lush harmonies. There is little doubt that TEXTURES IN CLASSICS will cement Lee’s legacy as a scholarly-artistic pianist.
Few instruments are as viscerally associated with the idea of grace and beauty as the harp, and few are as apt to express a sense of yearning as the oboe. So what could possibly capture the feeling of love better than a duo composed of these two instruments? Possibly nothing, as harpist Rita Costanzi and oboist Alex Klein rivetingly demonstrate on AMOROSO, an archetypally romantic album of intimate chamber music. Well-known classics by Debussy, Fauré, Massenet, Rachmaninoff, Piazzolla, and Rodrigo shine in a new light, and two new, fittingly romantic pieces by contemporary composers Michael Cohen and Michael Amorosi perfectly complete this wonderful picture.
The aptly-titled HEAVY PEDAL VOL. 2 from Navona Records is the second installment of an organ-centric series of albums. Featuring the music of composers Christopher Hoh, Deon Price, Richard E Brown, and John Rommereim, the collection lives up to its name; these organ works are some of the most powerful that classical music has to offer. From Hoh’s Concertino Corona, inspired by the hardships and seeds of hope from COVID-19, to Brown’s Six Chorale Preludes on Favorite Hymn Tunes, which were composed using Brown’s encyclopedic understanding of historical hymns, HEAVY PEDAL VOL. 2 brings the organ down from the choir loft to allow all listeners a greater appreciation of this incredibly dynamic instrument.
Lyricism and melody are often vainly sought in contemporary composition. American composer Richard Crosby goes against the grain on BY THE WATERS OF MEMORY, a selection of compositions so aesthetically sublime, yet so profound, one wonders if this is still music, or someone mesmerizingly peeling back the layers on existence itself.
BY THE WATERS OF MEMORY features two scintillating chamber duos with piano – one a viola, the other a cello sonata – as well as a charming tetralogy of Latin dances for piano and oboe. But perhaps the greatest revelation arrives in the form of trenchantly beautiful solo piano pieces, which bear all the hallmarks of unadulterated classical-romantic genius. If Schubert had been an American, he would have sounded like this.