Share Album:

Release Date: February 14, 2020
Catalog #: NV6271
Format: Digital & Physical

Prisma Vol. 3

Contemporary Works For Orchestra

Ahmed Alabaca composer
Sarah Wallin Huff composer
Noam Faingold composer
Raisa Orshansky composer
Craig Morris composer
Scott Brickman composer
Aldun G. Vassdal composer

Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Robert Kružík conductor, Jiří Petrdlík conductor

Navona Records’ exhilarating PRISMA VOL. 3 unveils the diverse faces of contemporary orchestral music. Featuring the works of seven composers, PRISMA VOL. 3 follows up the success of the first two PRISMA installments with symphonic music that is both innovative and deeply alluring.

The album opens with Ascension for Solo Clarinet and String Orchestra by Ahmed Alabaca, which pairs tender yet excitable clarinet lines with the cinematic grandeur of a string orchestra. Next comes Dark Glass Sinfonia by Sarah Wallin Huff, in which crumpled dissonances flower into exuberant tonality, capitalizing on the full dynamic range of the orchestra. The Defiant Poet by Noam Faingold follows, which lovingly commemorates the outspoken Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Then, Raisa Orshansky’s Spring Fantasy explores themes of birth and renewal in nature, as inspired by another Russian poet— Alexander Blok. Next, Songs of the Seasons by Craig Morris utilizes chromaticism to evoke colorful images from nature, with all its hope and uncertainty. The second-to-last piece on the album is Restoration by Scott Brickman, which he describes as a “symphony in one movement”; the music, with its flirting allusions to Eastern European folk songs, celebrates Brickman’s Latvian and Polish heritage. Lastly, in Prelude & Fugue for Orchestra, Audun G. Vassdal takes liberties with classical forms to create music that is at once playful and intensely evocative.

The symphony orchestra is a powerful instrument; writing orchestral music presents significant obstacles and tantalizing opportunities for even the most skilled composer. In PRISMA VOL. 3, seven masters of this challenging artform rethink what a symphony orchestra is capable of, and in so doing, present their audience with a unique and gratifying musical experience.


Hear the full album on YouTube

"One of the finest classical music albums I've heard in a very long time"

Darren Rea

"Definitely worth exploring"

Gramophone Magazine

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Ascension for Solo Clarinet & String Orchestra Ahmed Alabaca Karel Dohnal, clarinet; Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Robert Kružík, conductor 7:52
02 The Dark Glass Sinfonia (We See Through a Glass Darkly) Sarah Wallin Huff Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík, conductor 7:38
03 The Defiant Poet (Elegy in Memory of Yevgeny Yevtushenko) Noam Faingold Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík, conductor 11:50
04 Spring Fantasy Raisa Orshansky Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík, conductor 5:13
05 Songs of the Seasons: No. 1, Winter Snowfall Craig Morris Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík, conductor 2:27
06 Songs of the Seasons: No. 2, Spring Raindrops Craig Morris Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík, conductor 2:28
07 Songs of the Seasons: No. 3, Summer Waves Craig Morris Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík, conductor 3:33
08 Songs of the Seasons: No. 4, Fall Colors Craig Morris Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík, conductor 3:37
09 Symphony No. 4 "Restoration" Scott Brickman Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík, conductor 10:54
10 Prelude & Fugue for Orchestra Audun G. Vassdal Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Robert Kružík, conductor 11:16

All tracks
Recorded at Dům kultury města Ostravy (The Ostrava House of Culture) in Ostrava, Czech Republic
Session Producer Jan Košulič
Session Engineer Aleš Dvořák
Assistant Engineer Maroš Hlatký

Tracks 1, 10
Recorded July 3-4, 2019
Sessions Producer Jan Košulič

Tracks 2-9
Recorded February 26-28, 2019
Co-producer Bob Lord

Jered Albertus copyist for Songs of the Seasons

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Lewis

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director, Editing & Mixing (tracks 2 - 8) Lucas Paquette
Editing & Mixing (tracks 1, 3, 10) Jan Košulič
Editing & Mixing (track 9), Mastering Shaun Michaud
Recording Sessions Director Levi Brown
International Recording Sessions Manager Jan Košulič
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

Ahmed Alabaca


Ahmed Alabaca is an African American composer, conductor, songwriter, pianist, and community facilitator creating power and possibility, through music, for himself and the diverse communities he is a part of. Raised in San Bernardino CA, in a low-income community, Alabaca knows the value of hard work and perseverance in the face of systemic and interpersonal challenges. Alabaca’s vision is “a new renaissance” for underrepresented composers, which centers on the works of people of color and creates opportunities for them to perform, record, and archive their work.

Sarah Wallin Huff

Sarah Wallin Huff


Sarah Wallin Huff is a music lecturer at California Polytechnic University of Pomona, teaching “History of Technology in Music,” for which she published an original textbook with Great River Learning in 2019. She received her M.A. in Music Composition at Claremont Graduate University in 2008, and was the Professor of Composition and Advanced Theory — as well as conductor of the Chamber Ensemble — at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita from 2012-2016.

Noam Faingold


Composer Noam Faingold’s music has been described as "...lyrical…," "...exhilarating…," and "...a tour-de-force of Jazz melded with Classical..." by sources as varied as The New York Times, The BBC, Downbeat Magazine, and The Tulsa World among others. His crossover ensemble Burning City Orchestra’s debut album was described as "21st century acoustic electric art music” (Rich Fisher, Public Radio Tulsa).

Raisa Orshansky


Raisa Orshansky commenced her formal musical training at Vitebsk College of Music, where she specialized in folk instruments. She went on to graduate studies at Minsk Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, where she studied orchestra conducting.

Craig Madden Morris


Craig Morris has been composing music since the age of 11. He studied composition with Shirley Bloom, Kevin Scott, and Joelle Wallach and also studied violin, piano, and voice. He played violin with the Bronx Symphony Orchestra for many years and presently plays with the Ridgewood Symphony. He has sung professionally as a cantor for over 40 years. His music has been performed by the Ridgewood Symphony, the Bronx Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic, the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fifth International Music Festival of Buenos Aires, and the Chamber Music Society of Formosa. His compositions include piano sonatas, orchestral suites, violin, cello and clarinet concerti, a concert duet for soprano and tenor, choral compositions, and a sacred service for the Sabbath. Arise My Love and The Rubaiyat were chosen as finalists in the 2010 Meistersingers Choral Competition.

Scott Brickman

Scott Brickman


Scott Brickman (b. 1963, Oak Park IL) is passionate about sport and his Baltic and Slavic ancestry and culture. A cancer survivor, he has run 5k and 10k races in both the United States and Canada and anticipates adding Europe to that list. Starting in 2018, he has attended summer school at the University of Latvia in Riga, studying Latvian Language and Culture.

Audun G. Vassdal


Audun G. Vassdal is a Norwegian composer currently located in Los Angeles. Vassdal started playing instruments at an early age, and his obsession with understanding how music and instruments works led him to pursue music further. He is primarily a pianist, and attended a high school with a music education. This is where he discovered his passion for composition, and decided that being a composer would be his life goal. Being fascinated by many forms of music, he has pursued an education in both classical music and film music, as well as other genres.

Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava


The Janáček Philharmonic is a world-class symphony orchestra based in Ostrava, Czech Republic and an emerging figure on the international performance scene. With over 100 top-level musicians, the orchestra aims to introduce unique, quality repertoire while showcasing their own recognizable sound.

Jiří Petrdlík


Jiří Petrdlík (b. 1977) is appreciated as one of the most respectable conductors of his generation. He studied piano, trombone, and conducting — 1995–2000 at Prague Conservatory, and 2000–2005 at Academy of Performing Arts Prague — with Hynek Farkač, Miroslav Košler, Miriam Němcová, Radomil Eliška, and Tomáš Koutník, and took part in the masterclasses of the New York Philharmonic Principal Conductor Kurt Masur and the BBC Philharmonic Principal Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek. Petrdlík also successfully took part in several competitions, including the Donatella Flick Conductor Competition in London.


This piece was composed in loving memory of Rex Aniciete, a Southern California native, clarinetist, and educator. Alabaca composed Ascension to keep his dear friend Rex’s memory alive. Rex had such an eloquent and delightful sense of musicality along with a loving and giving nature. Therefore, when Alabaca received word of Rex’s passing, he decided to honor him with a piece that would convey Rex’s high sense of musicality and exceptional character. The piece reflects Rex’s nature throughout, from the melancholic clarinet solo at the beginning, which evokes the warmth and depth of Rex’s spirit, to the fast arpeggios and bouncy nature of the music thereafter, which directly reflect who Rex was: cheerful, gentle, and sincere.

— Ahmed Alabaca

"We See Through A Glass Darkly..."

The Dark Glass Sinfonia for symphony orchestra was written in 2017. Built upon an integrated set of hexachordal formulae, it blends the concepts of free atonality with modal harmony. In doing so it is meant to represent the enigmatic and ongoing, emotional flux of the Soul.

— Sarah Wallin Huff

The Defiant Poet: Elegy in Memory of Yevgeny Yevtushenko was written to commemorate the life and passing of one of Tulsa OK's (and the world's) citizens. The piece was begun in the week after the Russian poet's death, in April 2017, and completed in July. Yevtushenko, our neighbor, artist, and historical figure, who used art to successfully shape the public conscience in the second half of the 20th Century, made Tulsa his final home. An artistic statement commemorating his presence and contributions demanded to reach out into the world from within our and his community.

In the Classical music tradition of writing pieces in the memory of great writers, thinkers, artists, musicians, and other public figures, The Defiant Poet: Elegy in Memory of Yevgeny Yevtushenko was written as a monument in sound to Yevtushenko's historical contributions and inspiration. His presence in Tulsa serves as a testament to who we can be, and brings our community into larger conversations with history and our neighbors around the world.

Beyond being a statement of participation in the international artistic culture and tradition, this elegy was conceived as a symphonic daydream commemorating the poet’s life and defining acts of defiance in his poetry: condemnation of genocide, violent politics, othering, and anti-semitism in poems like ‘Babi Yar,’ (forever enshrined in the first movement of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13) and the defiance of cynical inhumanity in his many love poems. Yevtushenko's voice can be found responding to many instances of injustice from World War II to the present. It is my hope that this elegy will inspire us to read his poems and articles, which are about humanity. Like Paul Revere, his writings sound the alarm that themes of injustice long associated with distant historical events, that seem to be about people other than us, can come at any time and demand a response.

This recording of The Defiant Poet is possible in part thanks to the support of Masha, Zhenya, and Dmitry Yevtushenko, as well as John Evans, Dennis Kim, Jane Mudgett, Jim and Kathy Gerety, Jeff and Robin Smith, Bruce Sorrell, Pam Carter, Phil Haney, Joseph Arndt, Scott Pitcock, and various other supporters, including Andrés Franco and the Tulsa Signature Symphony for premiering the piece at Signature Symphony’s Yevgeny Yevtushenko Memorial Concert, November 4th, 2017.

— Noam Faingold

From the dawn of time spring has been a symbol of birth and renewal. Warming sun rays, the songs of birds in the early morning, an encompassing scent of earthly aromas, and the rustle of young grass – these are the messengers of spring. All of Nature wakes up. I adore this time of the year!

Eastern wisdom says that Spring is not so much a season as a state of mind. This resonates with my way of thinking. My internal Spring, a new Me, can begin to flourish and unlock endless possibilities for true creative growth.

A few years ago I picked up Alexander Blok’s poetry book. Blok is a famous 20th-century Russian lyrical poet. It was his poem “Oh, spring without end” that inspired me to compose my Symphonic Poem Spring Fantasy.

— Raisa Orshansky

Oh, spring without end and without limit –

Without end and without limit a dream!

I discover you, life! I accept you!

And welcome you with a clang of the shield!

(A. Blok, 1907)

Songs of the Seasons is a musical tone poem that describes the varied changes in warmth and color that paint a picture for us of all the seasons of the year.

From the stillness and magic of a new snowfall as we walk along the path with the crystal white snowflakes covering our steps, to the constant patter of spring rainfall as it runs down our window panes and waters our new flowers; to the summer waves rising, falling, and then rhythmically curling up on the sand as we lie by the sea warming to the sun’s glow, to walking through the forest and seeing the varied, bright, vibrant colors of the fall as the trees turn color to yellow, orange, and red.

The music expresses the amazing and ever-changing diversity of nature that colors our lives and feelings as the seasons pass by.

— Craig Morris

My Restoration, (2018), is a Symphony in one movement. While not quoting any folksongs, the melodic material was inspired by Baltic and Slavic folksongs, music from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, all of whom celebrated the 100th anniversary of the restoration of their countries in 2018.

— Scott Brickman

Audun G. Vassdal’s Prelude & Fugue for Orchestra is a work created from pure inspiration, without any initial thoughts other than developing technical ideas, motives, and harmonic progressions. Yet the composer describes the piece as “a therapeutic journey through a hard time, leading to a resolution of psychological trauma.”

This piece is an example of the composer’s playful and free approach to the use of typical classical form principles. The atypical prelude is very slow paced and minimalistic, without much variation. It is only varied through a perpetual growth in orchestration, volume, and tempo. The composer describes it as “a bad feeling, growing in intensity. The minimalism represents the perpetual feeling that doesn’t go away. It only intensifies and cumulates into an angry and frustrated tutti.” As the piece progresses, a deep rumbling is heard throughout, representing the bad feeling continuously being there, affecting everything else that happens, like a depression.

The Fugue is also atypically written. The composer has chosen to leave out the “episodes” that usually separate the entries of the Fugue themes; rather, he varies the theme with orchestration and by slightly changing the melodic phrases. The fugue grows into a bizarre waltz-like part, which comes as a surprise and is highly unusual for the form. It is combined with the typical stretto, where the fugue intensifies. The main theme is presented more and more closely together, overlapping and creating a sense of chaos before it all comes together in a coda, more typical of a larger orchestral piece where the orchestra comes together in a tutti and ends with a reminder of the Prelude.

Contrasting to the Prelude, the Fugue is very active and always changing. In context, the Fugue represents dealing with the bad feelings, constantly working through them, and going back and forth in intensity. It becomes increasingly more intense and difficult, but finally there is a resolution where we find acceptance and happiness.

— Audun G. Vassdal

Explore more albums in this series