Release Date: July 1, 2014
Catalog #: NV5962
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Solo Instrumental


Michael J. Evans composer
Karolina Rojahn piano
Kyle Milner spoken word

Oftentimes in our technology-driven global society, words can become obscured in meanings and associations depending on how they are interpreted or translated. On the other hand, music in its abstraction often can prompt more concrete interpretations. Composer Michael J. Evans explores the relationships between words, music, and meaning on his latest release on Navona Records, CIPHER.

A spoken word excerpt from Felix Mendelssohn, which has been translated several times from English to another language and back again, introduces the work and comments on the inadequacy of words as a means of expression compared to music. The words fade into a section of theme and variations, where the theme is borrowed from one of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. For Evans, the form of theme and variations is “an exploration of unrealized potential or futures of an idea or theme.” Throughout the variations, Evans makes references to Bach, Scott Joplin, Satie, Chopin, Debussy, and others, illustrating how an idea can be translated differently through the voices of various composers. The third section of the piece is a fugue, symbolizing the journey of the Wounded Healer, a Jungian archetype. By presenting a sometimes violent contest against a three-note figure and a two-note figure, Evans illustrates a type of “otherness,” ending in the three-note figure’s journey to a rebirth realized through pain and oppression.


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Artist Information

Michael J. Evans


Michael J. Evans is an American composer based in Washington DC He has recorded with pianist Karolin Rojahn, Sirius Quartet, St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Millennium Symphony Orchestra, Kiev Philharmonic, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic and Janaček Philharmonic.

Karolina Rojahn


Karolina Rojahn is a Los Angeles based pianist who has dedicated the last decade of her career to premiering and recording contemporary music repertoire. She has premiered over a hundred new works and collaborated with various classical music labels, most notably Naxos, having released over 43 recordings of chamber and solo piano music, including 5 piano concertos written specifically for her.