Release Date: June 9, 2017
Catalog #: NV6099
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Concertos
Orchestral
Electronic
Orchestra
Trumpet

Triptych Revelation

Sergio Cervetti composer

TRIPTYCH REVELATION, composer Sergio Cervetti’s seventh album with Navona, presents works from across four decades of his extensive career. Though a fair bit of time separates these pieces, the album’s three works all feature unique explorations of apocalyptic themes, inspired by themes drawn from the New Testament, nineteenth century French literature, and Flemish art of the sixteenth century.

Inspired by portentous images from the Book of Revelation, Concerto for Trumpet, Strings, and Timpani (1973) pays specific homage to the passage, “And the seventh angel sounded the trumpet” (XI:15). Cervetti created the work as a trumpet aria, with three sections that unfold in a faceted continuum. Opening with a foreboding and menacing trumpet solo, the piece launches into full swing with tumultuous interplay between the brass and timpani. The final section’s viola and celli parts recall the Voices of Heaven, joined later by timpani and trumpet for an apocalyptic crescendo and finale.

Written in memory of the composer’s sister, Piano Quintet “Toward the Abyss” (2015) is molded from Charles Baudelaire’s poem Le Voyage and contemplates mortality and the voyage toward the afterlife. The work’s post-minimalist tendencies exhibit a mature dexterity, using salient aesthetic means such as scattered 12-tone rows, minimalism, glimmers of melody, and the synthesis of suspense in tone and material. A meditative sequence of ascending piano and string lines conjures imagery of a flame extinguished and fused with eternity, with the smoke fading into eternal resplendence in the last movement’s quotation of J.S. Bach’s chorale Before thy Throne I Now Appear.

The Hay Wain (1987), an electroacoustic tone poem, was inspired by the medieval triptych of the same name by painter Hieronymus Bosch. Cervetti uses a virtual orchestra redolent of the painter’s brush to create colorful, grotesque responses to Bosch’s horrifying representations of the world and its ultimate fate. In traversing this narrative, the composer draws inspiration for four movements from the painting, evoking imagery such as angels as insects falling to earth like confetti; a wagon laden with hay drawn by semi-human, semi-animal monsters; a tower of human pride constructed by sinners; and lovers sitting and playing the lute in bliss, oblivious of the abyss towards which they are being driven.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Concerto for Trumpet, Strings & Timpani "Septim Tubae" Sergio Cervetti Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Petr Vronsky, conductor; Ondřej Jurčeka, trumpet 15:24
02 Piano Quintet "Toward the Abyss": I. Toward the Abyss Sergio Cervetti Karolina Rojahn, piano; Omar Chen Guey, violin I; Rohan Gregory, violin II; Peter Sulski, viola; Jacques Lee Wood, cello 7:30
03 Piano Quintet "Toward the Abyss": II. Hell or Heaven, What Does It Matter? Sergio Cervetti Karolina Rojahn, piano; Omar Chen Guey, violin I; Rohan Gregory, violin II; Peter Sulski, viola; Jacques Lee Wood, cello 7:00
04 Piano Quintet "Toward the Abyss": III. To Discover Something New in the Depths of the Unknown Sergio Cervetti Karolina Rojahn, piano; Omar Chen Guey, violin I; Rohan Gregory, violin II; Peter Sulski, viola; Jacques Lee Wood, cello 10:10
05 The Hay Wain: I. Fall of the Rebel Angels Sergio Cervetti Created, engineered, and performed by Sergio Cervetti 6:31
06 The Hay Wain: II. The Lovers Sergio Cervetti Created, engineered, and performed by Sergio Cervetti 6:02
07 The Hay Wain: III. Demons Construct the Tower Sergio Cervetti Created, engineered, and performed by Sergio Cervetti 6:05
08 The Hay Wain: IV. The Procession Sergio Cervetti Created, engineered, and performed by Sergio Cervetti 8:13

Concerto for Trumpet, Strings and Timpani, In Memoriam Amadeo Guigou Malan, 1871-1951.

Piano Quintet-Toward the Abyss, In Memoriam Sofía Cervetti, 1935-2016.

Concerto for Trumpet, Strings and Timpani was awarded Second Prize at the Primer Festival Latinoamericano de Música Contemporánea de la Ciudad Maracaibo in Venezuela in 1977.

The Hay Wain was originally released in 1987 on a Periodic Music CD, PE-1631. Equipment List for The Hay Wain: Yamaha DX-7, Yamaha FB-01, Ensoniq Mirage, Casio CZ-101, ARP Quadra, IBM PC running Personal Composer and Vision Software, Roland DEP Digital Processor, Alesis Midiverb, Yamaha DSP-1 Digital Processor.

The composer wishes to thank all the generous contributors who have supported his work and this project; to all the musicians, engineers, and the PARMA Team for their collaboration in producing this album; and to Ron Goldberg who originally produced The Hay Wain.

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.

Cover art detail of The Haywain by Hieronymus Bosch.
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
Engineer Manager Lucas Paquette

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

Artist Information

Sergio Cervetti

Composer

Sergio Cervetti, a Uruguayan-born American composer, came to the United States in 1962 to study composition. By 1966 he attracted international attention by winning the chamber music prize at the Caracas Venezuela Music Festival.

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Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra

Orchestra

The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the foremost and oldest symphony orchestras in the Czech Republic. It is based in the historical capital of Moravia, the city of Olomouc, and has been a leader of music activities in the region for the past 70 years. Its artistic development was directly influenced by distinguished figures from the Czech and international music scene.

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Karolina Rojahn

Pianist

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.

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Rohan Gregory

Violin

Rohan Gregory, violin, a native of Keene, New Hampshire, and a longtime participant at Apple Hill, is a founding member of the internationally renowned Arden String Quartet, praised in the New York Times as “vivid, strong and colorful.” When not in the Boston area to perform with the Boston Lyric Opera, the New England String Ensemble, or the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Rohan may be found on tour in Europe with The Klezmatics, in Thailand with flute player Abbie Rabinowitz, or in India with the Indo Jazz Fusion group Natraj.

Omar Chen Guey

Violin

Brazilian violinist Omar Guey has performed internationally as a soloist with orchestras, in recitals and chamber music concerts throughout Brazil as well as the United States, Europe, Taiwan, Kenya, and the Seychelles. He has been a featured soloist with the Brazilian, Campinas, Goiania, Minas Gerais, Claudio Santoro National Theater, Sao Paulo University, Sao Paulo Municipal, and the State of Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Amazonas Philharmonic, Petrobras Pro-Musica, Experimental Repertoire, Manhattan School of Music, Stony Brook University Symphony, Maidstone Symphony and the Seychelles International Music Festival Orchestras. Following a recital in Oslo, Norway, he had the honor of performing for the King of Norway, Harald V. He is a prize winner at both Tibor Varga and Lipizer International Violin Competitions in Switzerland and Italy, respectively.

Ondřej Jurčeka

Trumpet

Ondřej Jurčeka is a trumpet player and performs with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra among others.

John Page

Conductor

John Page began his career with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland in 2000. Prior to this he studied at King’s College London, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and Harvard University. In Ireland, his 2002 performances of Viktor Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis with Opera Theatre Company garnered the prestigious Irish Times Opera of the Year award. He was subsequently invited to give a Lyric FM broadcast concert with the NSOI. He is also the Music Director of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra.

Peter Sulski

Viola

Peter Sulski was a member of the London Symphony Orchestra for seven years. While in England he served on the faculty of the Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music and Drama, as well as being Artistic Director of Chapel Royal Concerts, which he founded in 1993. For seven years he gave the annual Viola Masterclass, along with many solo recitals and chamber music concerts at the Dartington International Summer School. He gave his Carnegie Hall debut in 1999, and his first London South Bank appearance in 2001.

After a brief stint in the Middle East as Head of Strings of the National Palestinian Conservatory, Bicommunal Coordinator for chamber music for the Cyprus Fulbright Commission and Principal Violist of the Cyprus Chamber orchestra, Peter returned in 2002 with his wife Anita to his native Worcester. He is currently on the faculty as teacher of violin/viola/chamber music at Clark University and College of the Holy Cross. He is a member of QX and Mistral. Peter is also Artistic Director of the Thayer Festival in Lancaster, Massachusetts, and records for Centaur Records.

Petr Vronsky

Conductor

Petr Vronsky is a Czech conductor. From 1983-1991 he conducted the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra. He currently conducts the Moravian Philharmonic.

Jacques Lee Wood

Cello

Noted for his expressive warmth, sensitivity, and technical ease, cellist Jacques Lee Wood enjoys an active and varied musical career. His interest in teaching and research complements a performance career that covers a broad range of repertoire and interests: from historically informed performance on baroque cello, commissioning and performing new works on modern cello, to playing bluegrass banjo, mandolin, and cello with his NYC-based group Cathedral Parkway.

A top prizewinner at the ARTS Competition and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Wood has performed extensively across the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Deeply committed to seeking out new areas in music to explore, Wood is a founding member and co-artistic director of the Boston-based Antico Moderno, a period chamber ensemble that commissions new works for period instruments, as well as co-founder of StringLab, a multi-disciplined cello/guitar duo with Simon Powis that produces original arrangements/compositions and commissions new works for the ensemble. Wood is currently the Artistic Director of Music at Eden’s Edge, a nonprofit chamber music organization based on Boston’s North Shore, and is a principal player with the Grammy-nominated Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Bachsolisten Seoul, Yale Schola Cantorum, and the American Baroque Orchestra. He is a frequent guest artist with A Far Cry, Bach Collegium Japan, Firebird Ensemble, and Handel and Haydn Society. Since 2014, Wood has been a visiting artist at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and is a frequent guest artist at the Bari International Music Festival, International Musical Arts Institute, and the Manchester Summer Chamber Music Festival. Currently a Doctoral Candidate at Yale University, Mr. Wood received his BM at the New England Conservatory of Music and his MM at Yale University under Laurence Lesser and Aldo Parisot, respectively. Wood is an artist with the Swiss Global Foundation.

Notes

Septem Tubae
In Memoriam Amadeo Guigou Malan, 1871-1951

When I was a little boy, six or seven perhaps, my French Waldensian grandfather, Amadeo, used to sit me on his lap and read to me in French portions of the Book of Revelation. These images terrified me. At the same time they fascinated me. My grandfather died peacefully in his sleep in 1951 when I was ten years old. Since then those stories of angels and dragons causing mayhem and destruction left an everlasting and profound impression on me.

So it was many years later in 1973 that I decided to write a work for trumpet and revisit those cherished moments with my beloved grandfather. In particular Apocalypse XI:15 Le septième ange sonna de la trompette (The seventh angel sounded the trumpet) was in mind. This Concerto for Trumpet, Strings and Timpani composed in memory of my grandfather won the second prize in 1977 in a competition during the Maracaibo Music Festival in Venezuela. I consider this my second and most important work produced after embracing the effervescent minimalist movement in New York City during that decade. The first among my minimalistic works was …from the earth… composed in 1972 for an improvisatory chamber ensemble. A live recording of the performance of April 24, 1975 at the Kitchen in New York City with an ensemble I conduct can be heard on the Navona album UNBRIDLED.

During the late 1970’s I was overly engaged teaching at New York University and renovating a brownstone in Brooklyn. There was unfortunately little time to produce a set of parts for the thirty string players. As a result the Concerto was not performed at the Maracaibo Festival. Fast forward to 2015. While cataloguing my works I looked over the score and decided to transcribe it to Finale which, in under ten minutes, produced a set of strings and timpani parts that were unattainable, as such, four decades earlier back in 1977. Hence this superb performance by Ondřej Jurčeka on trumpet with Petr Vronsky conducting the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra strings and timpani was recorded in 2016.

This Concerto, which I regard as an aria for trumpet that holds sovereign sway over the strings and timpani, lasts fifteen minutes and has three sections. They unfold however in a faceted continuum. At the time as I recall, I envisioned a vast canvas with streaks of vibrant hues. The first section, introduced by a menacing trumpet solo, is foreboding and violent. The second is a tumultuous duet between the timpani and the trumpet. The final section recalls the Voices of Heaven in the violas and celli, later in company with the timpani and trumpet which leads to an apocalyptic crescendo.

— Sergio Cervetti

After Le Voyage from Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
In Memoriam Sofía Cervetti, 1935-2016

The primary motivation and initial inspiration behind this Piano Quintet-Toward the Abyss come from my favorite collection of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal written by Charles Baudelaire, specifically the seventh poem Le Voyage. The Quintet’s subtitle, au fond du gouffre, from that poem, translates dive into the abyss. The poem continues …hell or heaven, what does it matter? So as to discover something new in the depths of the unknown. When I was tackling the completion of the third movement my beloved sister, Sofia who lived thousands of miles away in Uruguay, was suddenly taken ill and eventually passed away unexpectedly. It gave a somber meaning to this yet unfinished final movement.

The Quintet is in three keen movements in which the piano is almost constantly placed in the foreground. The piano has been my instrument since boyhood. Although the entire work is strongly anchored by my post-minimalist esthetics, there are various passages which are undeniably lyrical and expressive, at times mysteriously mournful. The mischievous first movement begins with a scattered twelve-tone row spread among the instruments and then gradually focuses on a repetitious rhythmic pattern punctuated by a hint of melody taken by the piano and first violin. The second movement is structured around a driving four-note pattern that is subjected to several mutations to finish in a major mode fortissimo. The final movement has a wistful tone that progressively becomes austere and introspective. It leads to a quote from J. S. Bach’s chorale Vor deinem Thron tret ich hiermit. Before thy Throne I now appear is Bach’s final chorale and perhaps his contemplation of mortality. After a shimmering transition, the work reflectively draws to a close with a meditative sequence of ascending lines on the strings which is followed and radiantly capped by the piano as if a flame extinguished and fused with eternity.

– Sergio Cervetti

Four Movements after The Haywain by Hieronymus Bosch

During my first visit to Madrid in 1967 in order to attend the European premiere of my Five Episodes for Piano Trio, I became fascinated by the mystical paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. I studied the collection at the Prado Museum innumerable times. The Haywain soon became my favorite, and I then decided to write music celebrating it. Inspired by the universality of this triptych, I composed my first rendition on the subject in 1967, The Hay Wagon, Six Fragments of Hieronymus Bosch for full orchestra and speaking chorus. To date it has not been performed.

Twenty years later I decided to revisit The Haywain and mine its wealth of grotesque and often comic imagery, and give Bosch’s fantastic subject another try by utilizing the electronic medium. Technology by 1987 had become fairly sophisticated beyond the primitive days of manual cut and splice. MIDI and sampling were readily available, and I had several MIDI-fitted synthesizers which allowed me to create and program what was called at the time a “Virtual Orchestra.”

Coincidentally Ron Goldberg had launched Periodic Music which was a new CD label dedicated exclusively to electronic music. By then this genre had become an integral part of my work that began with sessions in the early 1970’s at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Studio in New York. Ron produced this electronic tone-poem I set in four movements, and The Hay Wain was released in 1987 paired with another of my electronic pieces, Transatlantic Light. Option Magazine gave the disc a thumbs up. In early 1994 Oliver Stone approached us to incorporate portions of The Hay Wain, Fall of the Rebel Angels, in the new film he directed, Natural Born Killers, which was released in August of that year.

In The Hay Wain I have attempted to render the symbolic aspects of Bosch’s mystical representation of temptation and perdition. The accumulation of riches to which Man sacrifices his spiritual well-being, and the fleeting pleasures of the flesh are masterfully emblazoned by Bosch on The Haywain’s three panels. Art historians have observed that they reveal “the mad progress of Mankind from the Garden of Eden to Hell.” Nothing short of that cataclysmic assessment could be more appropriate for Bosch’s artistic observation of 16th century life in his Haywain that parallels the lunacy of these troubling times of the early 21st Century.

The Hay Wain was originally released in 1987 on a Periodic Music CD, PE-1631.

— Sergio Cervetti

Scores

Concerto for Trumpet, Strings & Timpani “Septim Tubae” (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

View Score

Piano Quintet “Toward the Abyss”: I. Toward the Abyss (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

View Score

Piano Quintet “Toward the Abyss”: II. Hell or Heaven, What Does It Matter? (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

View Score

Piano Quintet “Toward the Abyss”: III. To Discover Something New in the Depths of the Unknown (excerpt)

Sergio Cervetti

View Score