Release Date: February 10, 2017
Catalog #: NV6072
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Chamber
Vocal Music
Choir
Clarinet
Piano

Sunset at Noon

Six Works In Memory Of

Sergio Cervetti composer

Sergio Cervetti returns with an exciting collection of works on his sixth Navona Records release, SUNSET AT NOON.  A diverse composer, his works range from instrumental and vocal music to electronic compositions, often reflecting his South American, French and Italian heritage. His vocabulary draws from an early interest in twelve-tone and minimalism, and his current approach is flexible and free of constraint. With SUNSET AT NOON, Cervetti focuses on keyboard-based compositions for half of the album, with a foray into chamber music on the other half.

Cervetti’s keyboard compositions shine in this collection. On Ofrenda Para Guyunusa for Harpsichord, Cervetti delivers a peaceful and slightly meditative piece that very occasionally veers into Bachian territory. Some Realms I Owned is split into three piano movements – the first starts with a lively melodic line before landing on a relentless pedal point while Cervetti solos in a restrained manner; the second is the more contemplative of the three; and the third is a frantic piece featuring rapid arpeggios before settling on a more linear melodic sequence.

I Can’t Breathe, while based on a wild piano performance, centers around a pulsating rhythm that at times sounds like the fervent keys of a typewriter. The performance and composition both match the composition’s urgent title; it’s a quick burst of desperate sounds clawing their way out of the speaker, not quite two and a half minutes long.

Cervetti trades in his keyboards for clarinet and strings on And The Huddled Masses, a three-part suite, as well as Sunset At Noon, for violin and viola, a sprawling 18-minute opus that serves as the album’s grounding centerpiece. For the most part, Cervetti’s string scores deliver a more somber mood that counterbalances the upbeat and at times delirious vibe of the keyboard-based compositions.

As the sacred vocal arrangement on Lux Lucet in Tenebris closes the album, its contrast with the album’s secular pieces acts as a testament to Cervetti’s imagination and compositional fortitude. He has a keen ability to combine several different sounding compositions on one album and have it come across as a complete and congruent work. But ultimately, that is Cervetti’s strength – he is an enigmatic composer whose work knows no boundaries.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Some Realms I Owned: I. The Art of Losing Isn't Hard to Master Sergio Cervetti Sergio Cervetti, piano 4:45
02 Some Realms I Owned: II. … a ceux qui ont perdu ce qui ne se retrouve jamais … Sergio Cervetti Sergio Cervetti, piano 4:48
03 Some Realms I Owned: III. Even Losing You … Sergio Cervetti Sergio Cervetti, piano 4:31
04 And the Huddled Masses: I. The Tired, the Poor, and the Huddled Masses Sergio Cervetti Alden Ortuño Cabezas, clarinet; Leonardo Pérez Baster, violin I; Luis Alberto Mariño Fernández, violin II; Yamed Aguillón Santa Cruz, viola; Lester Monier Serrano, cello; Enrique Pérez Mesa; conductor 7:39
05 And the Huddled Masses: II. Hâves, Déguenillés Sergio Cervetti Alden Ortuño Cabezas, clarinet; Leonardo Pérez Baster, violin I; Luis Alberto Mariño Fernández, violin II; Yamed Aguillón Santa Cruz, viola; Lester Monier Serrano, cello; Enrique Pérez Mesa; conductor 4:45
06 And the Huddled Masses: III. Noemí Alvarez Quillay Sergio Cervetti Alden Ortuño Cabezas, clarinet; Leonardo Pérez Baster, violin I; Luis Alberto Mariño Fernández, violin II; Yamed Aguillón Santa Cruz, viola; Lester Monier Serrano, cello; Enrique Pérez Mesa; conductor 8:12
07 Ofrenda para Guyunusa Sergio Cervetti María Teresa Chenlo, harpsichord 5:25
08 Sunset at Noon: I. In memoriam Jon Mensinger Sergio Cervetti Vit Muzik, violin; Dominika Mužíková, viola 5:50
09 Sunset at Noon: II. In memoriam Michael Aiken Sergio Cervetti Vit Muzik, violin; Dominika Mužíková, viola 3:58
10 Sunset at Noon: III. In memoriam Patrick Kelly Sergio Cervetti Vit Muzik, violin; Dominika Mužíková, viola 4:14
11 Sunset at Noon: IV. Hymn: In memoriam Drew Dreeland Sergio Cervetti Vit Muzik, violin; Dominika Mužíková, viola 3:40
12 I Can't Breathe Sergio Cervetti Sergio Cervetti, piano 2:22
13 Lux Lucet in Tenebris Sergio Cervetti Kuhn Choir | Marek Vorlicek, conductor

SOME REALMS I OWNED, piano (2010)
Recorded July 14, 2010 at Sean Swinney Studios in New York, NY
Premiere August 14, 2014 by Chiharu Naruse in South Church at the PARMA Music Festival, in Portsmouth NH
Commissioned by Allen Wilkinson Greer, Allen Curtis Greer, Brendan Miles Greer, Joel Edwards Greer

AND THE HUDDLED MASSES, clarinet quintet (2015)
Recorded April 21, 2016, 9am-3pm, at Abdala Studios,
Producciones Abdala S.A., Calle 32 No.318 Esq. a 5ta Avenida, Miramar Playa, C. in Havana, Cuba
Session Producer Dayron Ortega

OFRENDA PARA GUYUNUSA, harpsichord (2011)
Recorded May 2014 at Taller de Ruidos in Madrid, Spain
Recording & Mastering by Manuel Gama, Jr. A Dulcken Harpsichord, Antwerp, 1745
Copy constructed by Carol and Antonio de la Herran in 1984
Premiere November 30, 2012 by María Teresa Chenlo in Sala Verdi in Montevideo, Uruguay presented by Juventudes Musicales

SUNSET AT NOON, violin and viola (1995)
Recorded June 22, 2016 in Olomouc, Czech Republic,
Premiere June 27, 1996 by Israel Chorberg, violin, and Harold Coletta, viola, at the Christoph Landon Gallery, 1926 Broadway, in NYC
Presented by Artmusic

I CAN’T BREATHE, piano & percussion (2014)
Recorded August 15, 2014 at composer’s studio 212 East Court Street, in Doylestown PA
Remastered by Glenn Baratt, August 7, 2016 Morningstar Studios, East Norriton PA

LUX LUCET IN TENEBRIS, a cappella choir (2002)
Recorded June 30, 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic
Session Producer Vit Micka
Premiere March 25, 2006 during the Centennial Celebration of the American Waldensian Society at Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York City sung by the Rutgers Presbyterian Church Choir
Text Gospel of St. John 1:1-7

Some Realms I Owned is In Memoriam Nancy Carroll Greer 1929-2009

And the Huddled Masses is Dedicated to The Tired, the Poor, and the Huddled Masses and is In Memoriam Noemí Álvarez Quillay 2002-2014

Ofrenda para Guyunusa is Dedicated to María Teresa Chenlo

Sunset at Noon is In Memoriam Jon Mensinger 1957-1994, Michael Aiken 1947-1995, Patrick Kelly 1953-1993, Drew Dreeland 1947-1995

I Can’t Breathe is To the Memory of Eric Garner 1970-2014

Lux Lucet in Tenebris is In Memoriam Sofía Guigou-Cervetti 1905-1989

The composer wishes to express his gratitude to Allen Greer and his sons Curtis, Brendan, and Joel; and to all the generous contributors who have supported his work and this project. He would also like to thank all the musicians and the PARMA Team for the Havana, Cuba experience, and for their collaboration producing this Navona album.

Sergio Cervetti’s work is available at The Arthur Friedheim Library and Archives at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University.

Video documentation of Sergio Cervetti’s music and dance collaborations is archived at the New York Public Library’s Dance Collection/Dance Theater Workshop Permanent Archives, the BAM/Next Wave Video Archive for Contemporary Performing Arts, and the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute of Ohio State University.

Photo of Sergio Cervetti by Pirjo-Leena Bauer

All works © Sergio Cervetti Music.
www.sergiocervetti.com

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Art & Production Director Brett Picknell
Graphic Design Ryan Harrison
Marketing Scott Murphy

Artist Information

Sergio Cervetti

Composer

Sergio Cervetti left his native Uruguay in 1962 to study composition in the United States. In 1966 he attracted international attention when he won the chamber music prize at the Caracas, Venezuela Music Festival. After studying with Ernst Krenek and Stefan Grové and graduating from Peabody Conservatory, he was subsequently invited to be Composer-in-Residence in Berlin, Germany in 1969-70.

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Vít Muzík

Violinist

Czech violinist and producer Vít Muzík (b. 1972) is one of the most multifaceted musicians working on the contemporary classical music scene. His abilities both as a performer on the concert stage and in the recording booth have led to appearances on more than 60 recordings in the Navona and Ravello catalogs, making him one of PARMA Recordings' most frequent collaborators.

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Kühn Choir of Prague

Choir

The Kühn Choir of Prague is one of the largest Czech choirs and has been part of the musical world for over 60 years. It devotes itself to the choral repertoire of all periods, and its activities include significant performances of contemporary music, performances of large vocal-instrumental works in collaboration with leading Czech orchestras and, last but not least, projects for the performance and recording of film music.

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Alden Ortuño Cabezas

Clarinet

Clarinetist Alden Ortuño Cabezas is the associate principal Clarinetist of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, and Solo Clarinetist with the “Nuestro Tiempo” Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared with the National Symphony and Matanzas Symphonic Orchestras in concert throughout the US, Spain, Austria, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador and in Moscow, Russia and performs regularly in the Dominican Republic.

A Professor of Clarinet at the National School of Arts, Alden was the top prize Winner at the Amadeo Roldán Provincial Competition in Matanzas Province in 1989, and earned First Place and Recognition for “Best Cuban Music Performance” at the Amadeo Roldán National Competition in Havana in 1994. He performed at the Markneukirchen International Competitions in Germany (2006) and Geneva Switzerland (2007).

Leonardo Pérez Baster

Violin

Leonardo Pérez Baster is a violinist and performs with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba among others.

Luis Alberto Mariño Fernández

Violin

[CUBA] started his studies as musician when he was 7 years old in the city of Cienfuegos. Then he graduated as a violinist player at Cuban National School of Arts in Havana City in 2005 and postgraduates as a music composer at the High Institute of Art (ISA) in 2008. He has been working in many Chamber Orchestras (first violin in La Habana Chamber Orchestra and in La Habana Soloist Chamber Orchestra) and composed: “La niña” for steel and metal instruments, Navidad for organ, violin and guitar, “Preámbulo y toque de campanas” for bells, “Pieza para un piano”  for piano,  “TerjeVigen” and “Era el círculo en nieve que se abría” for strings orchestra, etc.

He is influenced by different art fields and has been working with painters, theatre directors, choreographers and film makers: experimental poetry Farewell, life goes on in my dim saying with Etien Díaz, the Woycek opera, the theatre production: Variaciones Estátitcas, Solnes el constructor, R/T Poetry 4 – Decoction moment in a Havana Church. What he likes, working together with them, is to invent new creative spaces. He is recently involved in the dialogue between different possibilities of formalist music construction, just as a kind of “building” inhabited by many forms of times.

Yamed Aguillón Santa Cruz

Viola

Yamed Aguillón Santa Cruz is a viola player and performs with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba among others.

Lester Monier Serrano

Viola

Lester Monier Serrano is a cellist and performs with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba among others.

Enrique Pérez Mesa

Conductor

Enrique Pérez Mesa (n Matanzas, Cuba,. 1960) is one of the most internationally renowned Cuban orchestra directors. He graduated from the Higher Institute of Art of Cuba under the tutelage of Cuban Maestro Guido Lopez Gavilan in 1993. He is currently chief conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra (Cuba).

María Teresa Chenlo

Harpsichord

María Teresa Chenlo, an internationally known Uruguayan-Spanish harpsichordist, came to Europe under scholarship in order to perfect her harpsichord studies with Genoveva Galvez in Spain and in Paris with the renowned Rafael Puyana. After permanently settling in Spain she acquired Spanish citizenship and engaged in an intense program of concerts throughout Europe and the Americas.

Her extensive musical focus is a formidable exercise in stylistic variety which is evident in her concerts and recordings that encompass the great music of the Baroque, works for fortepiano from the18th and 19th centuries, harpsichord repertoire of the Americas, as well as contemporary works, among which she has premiered over 50 new works and many of them were dedicated to her. Chenlo has also been engaged in important studies involving the transcription and research of various 18th and 19th century keyboard works, and has taught courses in the aesthetics and interpretation of music from these periods at festivals and conservatories in Spain and the Americas.

Collaborations with prestigious conductors are numerous and include Howard Mitchell, Stanislav Wislocki, Héctor Tosar, Arturo Tamayo, Pierre Colombo, Antal Dorati, Kiril Kondrashin, José Luis Temes, Antonio Ros Marba, Miguel Patron Marchand, Jordi Bernàcer; and she has worked with recognized performing artists such as Enrico Gatti, John Halloway, Sharon Gould, Christian Baude, Paul Esswood and Claire Powel among others. As a renowned soloist, Chenlo has performed in international music festivals such as Prague Spring, the Festivals of Navarra, Autumn Festival of Paris, the Contemporary Music Festivals of Alicante, Music of the 20th Century of Bilbao, International Festival of Segovia, Festival Bach, Claremont-Ferrand Festival and others. She has often collaborated with the Orquesta Camerata Española directed by Victor Martin, with the group LIM of Jesús Villa Rojo, and was a founding member of the Madrid Camerata conducted by Luis Remartínez.

Her career is marked by numerous awards and recognitions such as the Jacques Antoine Prize of the Monte Carlo Festival, three-time winner of the Premio Nacional de Disco in Spain, and honorable distinction at the TRIMALACA 2000 of UNESCO. She has recorded for ETNOS, TIC-TAC, DIAL DISCOS, VIENNA MODERN MASTERS, URTEXT, VERSO, FACTORIA AUTOR, RADIO NACIONAL and TELEVISION ESPANOLA, TELEVISION de EE.UU. and the BBC in London. Her latest recording is for NIBIUS of the excellent score, Las Indias Olvidadas-The Forgotten Indies, by Sergio Cervetti. This concerto is dedicated to her which she plays with the instrumental ensemble of the National Youth Orchestra of Spain (JONDE) conducted by Jordi Bernácer.

As an example of what critics have written about her interpretative playing, the reviewer of the Czech newspaper Lidova Demokracie wrote the following about her performance at the Spring Festival of Prague: “María Teresa Chenlo is an artist who is a skillful interpreter. Her recital was an exposition of virtuoso technique and rhythmical precision along with a beautiful phrasing and musical elegance…It was a concert of total, genuine emotion.”

www.mariateresachenlo.com

Dominika Mozikova

Viola

Dominika Mozikova is a viola player and performs with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra among others.

Marek Vorlicek

Conductor

After high school and a private study choral conducting and (Zdenek Vimr, Václav Cibulka) graduated from the Prague Conservatory (professors Hynek Farkač, Miroslav Košler and Miriam Nemcova) and subsequently the Prague Academy of Performing Arts. He graduated also choirmaster courses Winfried Toll.

Notes

SUNSET AT NOON remembers the untimely or tragic passing of individuals who lost their lives to terminal illness, or were the victims of mankind’s indifference, prejudice and neglect. Six works spanning two decades from 1995 to 2015 are as diverse by genre as the men, women and children to whom the works are dedicated. Some were personal acquaintances. Many are nameless and unknown.

Some Realms I Owned for piano is inspired by Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, One Art, and was written in memory of a friend lost to cancer. It heralds the album’s shared theme of reflection yet celebration in the shadow of lives passed, here to a cherished wife and mother.

Some Realms I Owned was commissioned in 2010 by the Allen Wilkinson Greer family in memory of Nancy Carroll Greer (1929-2009), a mother, wife, and also a very dear friend of mine for many years. We first met while registering voters in front of Starbucks one Saturday. Nancy admired Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry in particular the poem, One Art, which is the inspiration behind this work. The first movement takes its title from the line “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.” The title of the second movement in French is borrowed from Baudelaire’s poem, Le Cygne, and translates to English as “to those who have lost what will never be found.” The final movement “Even losing you…” is again titled after the poem, One Art, and it musically quotes one of my previous works, The Triumph of Death, also about love and loss. Some Realms I Owned was given its first performance by me privately for the family on the first anniversary of Nancy’s passing in 2010. The premiere was beautifully given by Chiharu Naruse at the PARMA Music Festival in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on August 14, 2014.

— Sergio Cervetti, July 2014

The title And the Huddled Masses naturally brings to mind the indelible image of 19th century immigrants greeted by the Statue of Liberty’s silent promise for a brighter future. Then there are today’s unwelcome migrants and refugees fleeing war-torn homelands to be confronted by closed borders.

Two years ago a clarinetist friend of mine suggested that I write a clarinet quintet since the literature of this genre is rather limited. It was an appealing challenge. Added impetus came when I read the tragic story of a young Ecuadorian girl who made the desperate journey from her native country to join her parents, illegal immigrants living in New York, and then committed suicide at the Mexican border when her entry was thwarted by immigration authorities. Because I was an immigrant to the U.S., under kinder, different circumstances in 1962, and because of today’s plight of Middle Eastern immigrants in Europe, I felt the need to express my thoughts and feelings in this work for clarinet and string quartet.

The elusive and introspective melodies, wavering harmonies, and disciplined elegance in the first and third movements that bracket the second movement’s ostinato 7/8 rhythm, reverently celebrate surely cherished but often unfinished lives. The final movement is an elegy for this young girl lost in the struggle faced by illegal immigrants today. A quote from Mozart’s canon, Ach, zu kurz ist unsers Leben Lauf, appears in order to reflect on the brevity of life and how suddenly it can be extinguished.

With no geography of discrimination that can originate due to nationality, creed, race or the state of one’s heart, mind, body and soul, there is some measure of comfort that music abolishes borders. Significantly this work was recorded in Havana in 2016 at a moment in U.S. and Cuban history when borders are opening up following restoration of diplomatic relations in 2014 after a long period of acrimonious isolation.

— Sergio Cervetti, May 2016

Ofrenda para Guyunusa is an offering to a 19th century Charrúa Indian who was captured in Uruguay and exhibited in a Paris carnival. The harpsichord’s crystalline sound suggests the look of a music box figurine who, in cruel contrast, is captive because she is an exotic heathen.

Ofrenda para Guyunusa for harpsichord is interpreted by María Teresa Chenlo who has premiered and performed Cervetti’s works for harpsichord world-wide, including Candombe and the harpsichord concerto Las Indias Olvidadas-The Forgotten Indies which was commissioned by and premiered at the Alicante Festival in 1992. Spain’s music magazine, RITMO published an interview in April 2016 (No. 895) and asked her about their artistic relationship and collaborations. An excerpt is translated below.

RITMO, April 2016, No. 895, Madrid, Spain, María Teresa Chenlo Interview

The Uruguayan-Spanish harpsichordist, who in her art encompasses the world-wide tradition of music written for the instrument from the baroque to the present, speaks with us about her recent recording of works by Sergio Cervetti with two dedicated to her: Las Indias Olvidadas-The Forgotten Indies (a concerto for harpsichord in four movements that reminds us of the existence of the tribes and indigenous inhabitants of South America, mainly forgotten today) and Candombe (a national dance of Uruguay with African origins).

The contemporary harpsichord literature is being enriched by these works by Cervetti that are conceived with you in mind. Do you feel like a model posing for a painter?

I do not know if I am a model; sometimes he calls me his muse, I am a professional with the tremendous responsibility to faithfully interpret what the composer has written and transmit everything he wants to express. Our relationship and friendship have motivated him to write not only two works for harpsichord (Las Indias Olvidadas and Candombe) but five more, all of them quite beautifully and well-written, very idiomatic for the instrument, capturing all of its peculiarities.

Sunset at Noon, four epitaphs for violin and viola, is a neo-romantic-minimalistic glimpse of the gifted personalities of Cervetti’s New York University students who died during the early days of the AIDS epidemic. After witnessing the premature passing of several of his talented students, one response came as a work in memory of these men who died young. Sunset at Noon was premiered by Israel Chorberg, violin, and Harold Coletta, viola, on June 27, 1996 at the Landon Gallery in New York City. The Music Connoisseur (Vol.4, No.3, Fall 1996) wrote the following.

The Cervetti work stood head and shoulders above all else—life-affirming, muscular and alive, a ‘rage against the dying of the light’ fine-tuned and heightened to a kind of Olympian protest. The choice of violin and viola struck me (Marlene Harding) as a metaphor for the teacher-student relationship.

I Can’t Breathe for piano and percussion, which palpitates to raise the dead and rally the living, is dedicated to the memory of a victim of police brutality who uttered those words in 2014 before dying. “I can’t breathe” is the plea that Eric Garner uttered before his death while being subdued by police in Staten Island, New York in July 2014, another victim of senseless, deadly physical force, and an all too frequent occurrence in recent years.

Lux Lucet in Tenebris (Light Shineth in Darkness) closes the album “in memory of” with a benediction. It is the motto of the Waldensian Church where Cervetti was baptized. The text is the Gospel of St. John 1:1-7. This a cappella motet, after the preceding secular works, comes as refuge and meditation in a sacred realm, and affirms that the way to light is through darkness as music offers a benevolent beacon in these pieces bound by genesis and commemoration.

Lux Lucet in Tenebris is my second setting of this beloved text from the Gospel of St. John 1:1- 7. The first was written in 1969 while living in Berlin and later performed at the Gaudeamus Music Week in Holland in 1970. At that time I was exploring new vocal techniques and modular forms of music writing. It was also dedicated to my mother who was a Waldensian, or more properly a Vaudois since she was of French extraction. Upon hearing it my mother was taken aback and sweetly asked me to write another one with some glimmer of melody. I was not ready then to acquiesce, perhaps being too busy becoming an avant-garde composer. But after thirteen years after her passing in 1989, I decided that it was time to revisit the motto of the Waldensian Church in which I was baptized and write the motet that my mother wanted. It was premiered on March 25, 2006, as part of the Centennial Celebration of the American Waldensian Society, at Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York City and sung by the Rutgers Presbyterian Church Choir.

— Sergio Cervetti, September 2013.

Scores

Some Realms I Owned: I. The Art of Losing Isn’t Hard to Master

Sergio Cervetti

View Score

Some Realms I Owned: II. … a ceux qui ont perdu ce qui ne se retrouve jamais …

Sergio Cervetti

View Score

Some Realms I Owned: III. Even Losing You …

Sergio Cervetti

View Score

And the Huddled Masses: I. The Tired, the Poor, and the Huddled Masses (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

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And the Huddled Masses: II. Hâves, Déguenillés (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

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And the Huddled Masses: III. Noemí Alvarez Quillay (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

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Ofrenda para Guyunusa

Sergio Cervetti

View Score

Sunset at Noon: I. In memoriam Jon Mensinger

Sergio Cervetti

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Sunset at Noon: II. In memoriam Michael Aiken

Sergio Cervetti

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Sunset at Noon: III. In memoriam Patrick Kelly

Sergio Cervetti

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Sunset at Noon: IV. Hymn: In memoriam Drew Dreeland

Sergio Cervetti

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I Can’t Breathe (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

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Lux Lucet in Tenebris (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

View Score