Release Date: November 13, 2015
Catalog #: NV6014
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Chamber
Piano Trio
Viola

Circle of Friends

Libby Larsen composer

Curtis Macomber violin; Norman Fischer cello; Jeanne Kierman piano
Susanne Mentzer mezzo-soprano; James Dunham viola; Craig Rutenberg piano
Deborah Dunham bass

Trailblazer.  Advocate.  Innovator.  All of these descriptors apply to Grammy Award-winner Libby Larsen, but at the core is the most important title of all:  Artist.  As the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra and one of the most performed and prolific composers of our time (she has over 500 works in her catalog, including 15 operas), Larsen has established a permanent place in the annals of American concert music.

Her new Navona Records album CIRCLE OF FRIENDS in many ways highlights a number of musicians with whom she has developed lasting relationships over the years.  The performers on the album – Deborah Dunham (bass), James Dunham (viola), Jeanne Kierman (piano), Norman Fischer (cello), Curtis Macomber (violin), Susanne Mentzer (mezzo-soprano), Craig Rutenberg (piano) – are all Larsen’s colleagues and associates from various points in her career.

“It occurred to me that although I’ve worked with all these superb, inspired players many times over the years, we’d never actually all collaborated on a project together,” says Larsen.  “And this seemed like the perfect time and opportunity to do it.”

Produced by 4-time Grammy-winner Judith Sherman, the album opens with the 3-movement Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, an agile, nimble jazz-inspired piece that takes a gentle breather in the middle movement.  Sifting Through the Ruins, a 5-movement work for mezzo-soprano, viola, and piano, was composed in memory of the events of September 11, 2001; the music and words are designed to be without artifice, focusing instead on simplicity and directness of expression.

Larsen’s Viola Sonata moves away from the expansive scope of dynamics normally found in the composer’s scores and substitutes a more restrained sense of color and texture.  The vocal qualities of the viola are emphasized in this 3-movement work.  The final work on the program, Up Where the Air Gets Thin, is perhaps the most adventurous piece on the album, a poetic imagination of sound at extreme altitudes in extreme environments.

Listen

Hear the full album on YouTube

Stream/Buy

Choose your platform

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Trio for Violin, Cello & Piano: I. Sultry Libby Larsen Curtis Macomber, violin; Norman Fischer, cello; Jeanne Kierman, piano 6:32
02 Trio for Violin, Cello & Piano: II. Still Libby Larsen Curtis Macomber, violin; Norman Fischer, cello; Jeanne Kierman, piano 6:21
03 Trio for Violin, Cello & Piano: III. Bursts Libby Larsen Curtis Macomber, violin; Norman Fischer, cello; Jeanne Kierman, piano 5:33
04 Sifting Through the Ruins: I. ...Jeff Hardy... Libby Larsen Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano; James Dunham, viola; Craig Rutenberg, piano 3:25
05 Sifting Through the Ruins: II. To the Towers Themselves Libby Larsen Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano; James Dunham, viola; Craig Rutenberg, piano 2:48
06 Sifting Through the Ruins: III. Don't Look for Me Anymore Libby Larsen Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano; James Dunham, viola; Craig Rutenberg, piano 2:38
07 Sifting Through the Ruins: IV. Untitled Libby Larsen Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano; James Dunham, viola; Craig Rutenberg, piano 3:00
08 Sifting Through the Ruins: V. Someone Passes Libby Larsen Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano; James Dunham, viola; Craig Rutenberg, piano 6:00
09 Viola Sonata: I. Flow Libby Larsen James Dunham, viola; Jeanne Kierman, piano 6:43
10 Viola Sonata: II. Drift Libby Larsen James Dunham, viola; Jeanne Kierman, piano 8:17
11 Viola Sonata: III. Breathless Libby Larsen James Dunham, viola; Jeanne Kierman, piano 4:29
12 Up, Where the Air Gets Thin Libby Larsen Norman Fischer, cello; Deborah Dunham, bass 6:31
13 Four on the Floor Libby Larsen Curtis Macomber, violin; Norman Fischer, cello; Deborah Dunham, bass; Jeanne Kierman Fischer, piano 5:29

Special Thanks Dan Satorious Esq., Tracey Bradshaw, Jason Senchina, Toni Lindgren, Grace Edgar

Tracks 1-3 & 5-13 recorded January 28 -29, 2005
Track 4 recorded May 9, 2015
All tracks recorded at Duncan Recital Hall, The Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, in Houston TX
Record by Judith Sherman

Executive Producer Bob Lord
Audio Director Jeff LeRoy
Mastering Shaun Michaud
Production Engineer Nate Hunter
Art & Production Director Brett Picknell
Graphic Designer Emily Roulo, Ryan Harrison
A&R Brandon MacNeil
Marketing Manager Ethan Fortin

Artist Information

Libby Larsen

Composer

Libby Larsen (b. 24 December 1950, Wilmington, Delaware) is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy Award winning and widely recorded, including over fifty CD’s of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.

Learn More