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Release Date: January 24, 2020
Catalog #: NV6266
Format: Digital & Physical

Moto Celeste

Diane Jones composer
Edna Alejandra Longoria composer
Ovidiu Marinescu composer
Christina Rusnak composer
Chad Robinson composer
Clive Muncaster composer
Joanna Estelle composer
Eliane Aberdam composer

Trio Casals
Sylvia Ahramjian violin
Ovidiu Marinescu cello
Anna Kislitsyna piano

In MOTO CELESTE, the fifth installment in Navona Records’ MOTO series, the internationally-acclaimed Trio Casals takes on eight new works by eight preeminent composers. It is an electrifying collection, full of drama and adventure. The compositions borrow from an eclectic array of musical traditions, including rhumba and flamenco music. MOTO CELESTE is forged into a cohesive work by the trio’s sensitive and highly-organic performances.

Earth Rise by composer Diane Jones kicks off the recording. This piece is inspired by the cosmic dance between the sun, moon, and Earth, and features lively dances and ethereal strains. Next comes Edna Longoria’s Los Ritmos Para Tres, which translates to “rhythms for three.” It is a mischievous and thrilling piece, rife with shadow and mystery. Ovidiu Marinescu, Trio Casals’ cellist, composed I’m All Ears, which is inspired in part by the musical gestures of a flamenco guitar and features a muscular performance by Marinescu. Next comes Christina Rusnak’s Glacier Blue, in which the trio reflects on the fundamental physical elements of “Mountain,” “Sky,” and “Water” over the course of three movements. Darkbloom by Chad Robinson follows, exploring the full range of the cello with boisterous interjections and tentative replies. After that comes Clive Muncaster’s Palette No. 2, a grand, sweeping piece seasoned with cross rhythms and even rhumba-inspired passages. The penultimate track is Joanna Estelle’s Faraway Star, which includes songful themes that passionately recount the story of two (literally) star-crossed lovers. Finally, Eliane Aberdam’s Grisailles Vaporeuses or “misty grayness” is a three-movement work inspired by nature in New England, with all its joy and drama. The piece ends without a firm musical resolution, leaving the listener already longing for the next album in the MOTO series.

Classical music aficionados and casual listeners alike will find themselves drawn in by the Trio Casal’s powerhouse performances in MOTO CELESTE. With precision and grace, these three artists, fueled by the collective genius of eight individual composers, offer a musical experience to be relived again and again.

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"Each work is a masterpiece."

The WholeNote

An Inside Look

PARMA Recordings Presents - MOTO CELESTE

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Earth Rise Diane Jones Trio Casals 9:54
02 Los ritmos para tres Edna Alejandra Longoria Trio Casals 5:54
03 Sunt Numai Urechi Ovidiu Marinescu Trio Casals 7:17
04 Glacier Blue: I. Mountain Christina Rusnak Trio Casals 4:07
05 Glacier Blue: II. Sky Christina Rusnak Trio Casals 5:28
06 Glacier Blue: III. Water Christina Rusnak Trio Casals 4:36
07 Darkbloom Chad Robinson Trio Casals 9:08
08 Palette No. 2 Clive Muncaster Trio Casals 7:42
09 Faraway Star Joanna Estelle Trio Casals 3:24
10 Grisailles vaporeuses: I. Pensive Eliane Aberdam Trio Casals 3:44
11 Grisailles vaporeuses: II. Lyrical Eliane Aberdam Trio Casals 2:44
12 Grisailles vaporeuses: III. Joyful Eliane Aberdam Trio Casals 2:17

Recorded May 11-12, 30-31, and June 1, 2019 at Futura Productions in Roslindale MA Recording Session Producer Brad Michel (tracks 1-2, 6-10)
Recording Session Producer John Weston (tracks 3-5)
Recording Session Engineer John Weston

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Lewis, Chris Robinson, Marina Altschiller

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director, Editing (Tracks 3-7) Lucas Paquette
Editing (Tracks 1, 2, 8-12), Mixing & Mastering Brad Michel
Recording Sessions Director, Editing (Tracks 4-6) Levi Brown
Recording Sessions Assistant Emma Terrell

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Diane Jones

Composer

Diane Jones’ music has been performed by The Relâche Ensemble, The Da Capo Chamber Players, Trio Casals, and Flautet. She has been commissioned by Mélomanie, the Society for New Music, and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, and she recently completed a commission from the Syracuse International Film Festival to score the 1919 silent film, “The Doll,” screened during the 2019 festival with a live ensemble.

Edna Alejandra Longoria

Composer

Edna Alejandra Longoria is a Mexican-American composer born in Mcallen TX and raised in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, México. Longoria obtained a master’s degree in Music Composition at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University in Long Beach, and a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Ovidiu Marinescu

Cellist, Composer

Ovidiu Marinescu, a native of Romania, is active as a cellist, conductor, composer, and educator. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Rachmaninov Hall, Holywell Room in Oxford, Oriental Art Center in Shanghai, and many other venues around the world. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Chamber Symphony, the National Radio Orchestra of Romania, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Helena and Newark Symphonies, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Philharmonic, Limeira Symphony in Brazil, Orquesta de Extremadura in Spain, and most orchestras in Romania.

Christina Rusnak

Christina Rusnak

Composer

Inspired by concepts of place and the human experience, composer Christina Rusnak works at the intersection of nature, culture, history, landscape, and art to integrate context into her music from the world around her. Rusnak composes for diverse instrumentations with lyrical lines, and organic rhythms and textures. Her pieces range from elementary to professional levels and includes chamber ensemble, orchestra, wind band, choral and solo works, as well as flex band pieces, jazz, electro-acoustic works, and film. 

Chad Robinson

Composer

Houston native Dr. Chad Robinson is the Artistic Director and founder of Texas New Music Ensemble, a Houston-based mixed chamber ensemble focused solely on the work of Texas composers. As a composer, he has worked with many other prestigious ensembles and soloists, such as Ethel, Lontano, The Jack Quartet, The Parker Quartet, Musiqa, George Vosburgh, Mary Dullea, and Emma Steele.

Clive Muncaster

Composer

Clive Muncaster was born on January 24, 1936. At the young age of 15, he was accepted into the Royal Academy of Music where he studied violin, piano, composition, and conducting, and earned his Royal Academy of Music Licentiate Diploma (LRAM). In the 1960s Chandos Music published some of his compositions, which received many broadcasts in England and Germany.

Joanna Estelle

Joanna Estelle

Composer

Joanna Estelle Storoschuk is a Ukrainian-Canadian composer, lyricist, and arranger whose music has won critical acclaim internationally, most recently at Carnegie Hall in May 2023 where Bobby’s Song was premiered by Trio Casals. She learned classical piano and theory with the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) as a young person, but was deterred from pursuing music as a career. Instead, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology (Brock, 1972), then studied management accounting while working in Canada’s federal public service.

Eliane Aberdam

Composer

Eliane Aberdam was born in Nancy, France. She studied piano and theory at the Conservatoire National de Region in Grenoble (1972-1981). She completed her undergraduate studies in composition at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem, Israel, where she studied with Mark Kopytman. In 1989, she entered the graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania where she studied with George Crumb, and obtained her master’s degree in 1992. She completed her Ph.D. in Composition at U.C. Berkeley.

Trio Casals

Ensemble

Since making a highly-praised debut at the 1996 edition of the Pablo Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Trio Casals has delighted audiences with spectacular virtuosity, engaging enthusiasm, and exquisite musical elegance. Consisting of pianist Anna Kislitsyna, violinist Alexandr Kislitsyn, cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, Trio Casals has released several commercial albums with PARMA Recordings and Navona Records to critical acclaim, from the beloved MOTO series to A GRAND JOURNEY and more.

Anna Kislitsyna

Pianist

Pianist and harpsichordist Anna Kislitsyna made her solo debut at age 10 with the Omsk Symphony Orchestra. She remains in high demand as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and educator. Recent season highlights include five new album productions with PARMA Recordings and two release concerts in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, performing Haydn and Shostakovich Piano Concertos with Helena Symphony and Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, and returning to the Omsk Philharmonic as a soloist to give the inaugural performance on the new harpsichord.

Notes

Though scored and performed as a single movement, Earth Rise is written in three distinct sections. The first section depicts the sunrise, that moment when the sun’s rays crest the horizon, sparkling on the dew-laden grass. I can imagine closing my eyes and feeling its gentle warmth on my face. The second section is moonrise, inspiring passion and dancing in its cool glow, and experiencing the night with a loving community of people. The final section is the Earth Rise, from the view of the Earth as photographed by the astronauts on Apollo 8. I am genuinely awed by that image and the way it changed my perspective. I no longer consider my place in the world, so much as our place in the cosmos.

Ironically, that photo from Apollo 8 was unplanned. NASA had scheduled and planned numerous photos of the moon as they circled it, but when the astronauts saw the earth rising over the moon, they knew they had to capture it.

— Diane Jones

Los Ritmos Para Tres (Rhythms For Three) was written as a commission for The Elixir Piano Trio. This piece was written using sets of pitches and modulating them throughout the composition.

- Edna Alejandra Longoria

Composed in five days, Sunt numai urechi (I’m all ears) is my first completed piece. For years I had been performing a lot of new music for cello that ranged between challenging, innovative, inspirational, and sometimes unidiomatic and uninspired. One summer day in 2015 it crossed my mind that rather than occasionally criticize other composers’ music I should just write a piece.

Sunt numai urechi (I’m all ears) aims to connect with an audience of any background. The artistic seed came from watching a video clip of a flamenco guitar player whose virtuosic technique blew my mind. In an instant, I picked up the cello and tried to emulate the musical gestures present in the flamenco piece. And for the first time, I sat down and wrote the musical ideas flowing out of my heart, through my fingers, onto the sound of the cello. The flamenco-inspired gestures became the second section of the piece, featuring mixed meters, dizzying passages, and percussive sounds, making this section exciting to play.

The work starts with a busy introduction built on a sinuous gesture along an open-string drone. In the middle, the piece relaxes into a lyrical, ethnically eclectic section that includes a quote from a traditional Romanian drinking song: “Bun îi Vinul Ghiurghiuliu” (Good is the Rosé Wine) made famous by mid-20th century Romanian singer Maria Tănase. The concluding part - using mixed meters — climbs into the stratosphere of the cello register and ends with technical pyrotechnics.

— Ovidiu Marinescu

Discovering a place as vast and richly diverse as Glacier National Park can be a lifelong endeavor. Each visit brings new vistas, or a variation on previous experiences; layers become evident by the  time of day, the change of the seasons — the light, the sounds, the colors — wet or dry. So in preparation for this piece, I deliberately chose my solo hikes both in spring and in fall, to broaden  my experiences. Broken into three movements, the piece concentrates on the physical elements that tie it together – the mountains, sky and water, and the color blue.

I. Mountain

II.Sky

III. Water

The mountains appear blue on the horizon; the blue sky morphs during the day and night; glacial  ice appears blue because the dense compacted ice of the glacier absorbs all colors except blue. The disparate elements are unified in an amazing landscape.

— Christina Rusnak

I began this work in the Summer of 2010 while living in Pittsburgh PA. I completed it in London, UK later that year — Europe was to be my new home from that point through the next three years. I was still quite young then and had never crossed the ocean before. I cannot say that this incredible change in my life had any conscious impact on the piece I was composing, but in the years that followed I realized that, at least subconsciously, it must have.

Darkbloom is a work built upon juxtapositions. From the fleeting lines in the cello’s highest register to the brooding depths below, a tumultuous journey unfolds. At times, the elements of the work seem to align, if only briefly, before being pulled back into the storm. It rages on and on, with only gasps of calm breath coming in from time to time. Perhaps there is some solace found in the final phrases, perhaps the gentle ending is only a prelude to the next inevitable storm.

— Chad Robinson

This short piece tells the story of two celestial sweethearts who meet on the earth plane as star-crossed lovers. The theme is a simple but poignant melody that symbolizes their heavenly love song. The violin expresses the female voice, whilst the cello speaks for the male. The piano serves as the narrator of this tale. The piece opens with a piano ostinato played in a high register that represents the lovers’ eternal home in the etheric realms. The piano sets the scene for their earthly meeting by stating the theme in the bass line, bringing the action down from celestial heights to earthly reality. We hear the female (violin) singing the song alone, with the male (cello) echoing it. When the two finally meet in the physical world and each recognizes the other as their anam cara, there is a shared moment of joy before the harsh reality of their situation dawns on them. Knowing that they cannot be together in this lifetime, they sing their love song together in unison, punctuated by accented notes. They then return to their respective lives, letting no one else know of their secret encounter and its deep meaning to them both. The piece ends with an ardent plea to Venus, Goddess of Love, to have mercy on them. Passion underscores this variation on the theme in which their hope of being reunited one day is tinged with angst that it may not happen. The piece ends with a reprise of the piano ostinato as Venus considers her decision in the heavenly realms.

— Joanna Estelle

The French title Grisailles Vaporeuses translates to "Misty Grayness." I wrote this trio – violin, cello, and piano – in 2006, shortly after moving to Westerly RI. It was the first of my works that was inspired by natural surrounds and special places that I cross every day on my way to work.

The work is in three movements: 1 Pensive, 2 Lyrical, and 3 Joyful. The title evokes the mini wriggling “fogglings” above ponds and rivers in New England, in the early mornings of fall. I would see these patches of mist when I crossed the Potter Hill Bridge almost every autumn day; these misty figures looked like dancing ghosts or spirits and made me reflect on the wonders of natural phenomena, thus the title of the first movement, Pensive. The second movement, Lyrical, is supposed to evoke the beauty of autumn changing colors and landscape, the trees turning red, yellow, orange, and brown, then the wind blowing the leaves away. The second movement also incorporates changing moods: from a slow dance in three with wide leaps, to express awe, followed by a leggiero passage of pizzicato ‘alla chitarra’ (like a guitar) to capture the feeling of a light wind filled with swirling leaves, and ending with a return to the calmer, slower lyrical dance. The Joyful third movement is a fast, fun interplay between the instruments, reminiscent of a game of hide-and-seek between autumn and winter, and the piece ends with a furious arpeggio passage, a warning from the nor’easter.

Each movement represents a different mood, but also makes use of different techniques, such as tremolando, arpeggios in pizzicato, and glissandi. The compositional emphasis is on the motives, the octatonic and pentatonic scales, and a rich texture relying on canonic imitations.

By contrast the third movement is based on accented rhythmic figures and angular motivic shapes, interrupted by lush piano passages throughout the movement.

— Eliane Aberdam

Scores

Sunt Numai Urechi (I’m All Ears)

Ovidiu Marinescu

Glacier Blue (excerpt)

Christina Rusnak

Darkbloom

Chad Robinson

Faraway Star

Joanna Estelle

Grisailles Vaporeuses (excerpt)

Eliane Aberdam