Legends and Light Vol. 2

New Works For Orchestra

Helen Mackinnon composer
Nan Avant composer
Richard E Brown composer
Deborah Kavasch composer
Anthony Wilson composer
Ben Marino composer
Kim Diehnelt composer

Release Date: January 14, 2022
Catalog #: NV6399
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Orchestral
Orchestra

LEGENDS AND LIGHT VOL. 2 from Navona Records leaves no stone unturned. From the vast expansiveness of the open sea to the microscopic particles of our world’s chemical makeup, this follow-up to 2018’s LEGENDS AND LIGHT is an ambitious collection of new works for large ensemble performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Filharmonie Brno. In this album, seven composers offer their insights into the components of our world through music, with works highlighting cultures, locations, forces of nature, and human life. While many of the pieces are arranged for orchestral ensembles, listeners will also find Scottish Great Highland bagpipes and Irish Uilleann pipes featured on the album, offering a deeply rewarding listening experience.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 The Rinns of Islay Helen MacKinnon Royal Scottish National Orchestra | David Watkin, conductor 21:14
02 Tributum: For Celtic Bagpipes and Orchestra Nan Avant Royal Scottish National Orchestra | David Watkin, conductor; Lorne MacDougall, Great Highland Bagpipes; Ryan Murphy, Uilleann Pipes 8:52
03 Voices of the Night: A Nocturnal Fantasy for Orchestra Richard E Brown Royal Scottish National Orchestra | David Watkin, conductor 9:52
04 Lost Voices Deborah Kavasch Royal Scottish National Orchestra | David Watkin, conductor 10:39
05 Manannán – Legend of the Sea Anthony Wilson Filharmonie Brno | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 11:38
06 Yrast 2.0 Ben Marino Filharmonie Brno | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 4:07
07 Striadica: A Symphonic Passage Kim Diehnelt Filharmonie Brno | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor 8:45

The Rinns of Islay
Recorded March 25, 2021 at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland
Session Producer Brad Michel
Session Engineer Hedd Morfett-Jones

Tributum, Voices of the Night
Recorded March 24, 2021 at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland
Session Producer Brad Michel
Session Engineer Hedd Morfett-Jones

Lost Voices
Recorded March 25, 2021 at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland
Session Producer Brad Michel
Session Engineer Hedd Morfett-Jones

Manannán – Legend of the Sea
Recorded April 8, 2021 at Besední dům in Brno, Czech Republic
Session Engineer & Producer Jaroslav Zouhar
Session Co-Producer Jan Košulič

Yrast 2.0
Recorded April 6, 2021 at Besední dům in Brno, Czech Republic
Session Engineer & ProducerJaroslav Zouhar
Session Co-Producer Jan Košulič

Striadica: A Symphonic Passage
Recorded April 9, 2021 at Besední dům in Brno, Czech Republic
Session Engineer & Producer Jaroslav Zouhar
Session Co-Producer Jan Košulič

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Ivana Hauser, Danielle Lewis, Morgan Santos

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Assistant Martina Watzková
Audio Director, Editing & Mixing (Tracks 5-7) Lucas Paquette
Editing & Mixing (Tracks 1-4) Brad Michel
Mastering Brad Michel

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

Artist Information

Helen MacKinnon

Composer

Scottish composer Helen MacKinnon studied music at The University of Glasgow, specializing in composition and graduating with a Bachelor of Music First Class Honours. Her most notable work of that period was Crossing the Domain, a setting of Scottish poet Edwin Morgan’s poem From the Domain of Arnheim for female voices and percussion. MacKinnon cites her compositional influences as being her Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, and cinematic music.

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Nan Avant

Nan Avant

Composer

Nan Avant, a native of the Pacific Northwest, was brought up in a peaceful pastoral setting amidst artists on her maternal side and the rich South American heritage of Peru on her father’s side. Music was constantly playing in the background of her early years. Symphonies, musicals, South American music, Tangos, and Peruvian waltzes all contributed to her love of music. At an early age, she began studying piano and continued through high school and college.

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Richard E Brown

Richard E Brown

Composer

Richard E Brown, a native of New York State, has been active as a composer-arranger and music educator for many years. His training includes M.M. and D.M. degrees in composition from Florida State University, as well as a B.A. in music education from Central College, which named him a Distinguished Alumnus in 1983. His principal composition studies were with Carlisle Floyd, John Boda, and Charles Carter. He is a member of ASCAP, and is represented in the catalogs of several trade publishers, as well as his personal imprint Dacker Music.

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Deborah Kavasch

Deborah Kavasch

Composer

Deborah Kavasch, internationally acclaimed composer, soprano, and specialist in extended vocal techniques, has received grants and residencies in composition and performance from: the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, The Barlow Endowment Lecture Series, the Ernest Bloch Music Festival and Composers Symposium, the Donne in Musica International Festival and Symposium, and the International Congress on Women in Music, and was a 1987 Fulbright Senior Scholar to Stockholm.

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Anthony Wilson

Composer

Anthony Wilson graduated from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia in 1985, studying music and pure mathematics. He has also successfully completed the A.Mus.A exam for piano and the 7th Grade AMEB theory exam. Wilson studied the piano with William Lowe, singing with Janet Dawson and Theory of Music with Aliki Katsikas. In 2001 he was given a theory award by the Victorian Music Teachers’ Association.

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Ben Marino

Ben Marino

Composer

Ben Marino (b. February 18, 1982) is a composer, producer, and pianist. Born and raised in Valencia CA, his education in music started early at the piano learning the Suzuki method. His private piano studies continued throughout high school where he was influenced by the solo piano compositions of Bela Bartok and Frederic Chopin. After graduating William S. Hart High School in Newhall CA in 2000, he was accepted to study Piano Performance and Music Composition at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA (2001-2002).

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Kim Diehnelt

Composer

Kim Diehnelt (b. 1963) is compelled to create beauty through her work as a conductor, composer, and artistic coach. Trained in the United States and Europe, Kim Diehnelt established her musical crafts in Finland and Switzerland, leading Baltic, Russian, and European ensembles. Trained in the United States and Europe, Kim Diehnelt established her musical crafts in Finland and Switzerland, leading Baltic, Russian, and European ensembles. She currently resides in Burlington VT. Diehnelt has been composing works for solo instruments, chamber, orchestral and choral ensembles since 2011 when, after decades on the conductor’s podium, she “suddenly had something to say.”

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Notes

The Rinns of Islay is a musical journey around the coastal shores of the Inner Hebridean island of Islay, home to my grandparents and generations before. Known for its rich terrain, complex climate, and peaty whisky, Islay’s natural environment served as the creative inspiration for the work.

Five short thematic movements adopt distinct characters as they take us on a tour of the island by day and night. The work centres around The Rinns – a beautiful peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The Rinns themes are introduced in the first movement, with shimmering strings, echoing and falling, against soaring melodies in the piccolo. Movement two, “Islay Sunrise,” brings a glorious dawn. Flute and cello interplay with a duet, as the morning light dances across the peninsula.

“Ninety Days of Rain” was inspired by documentation of nearly 90 continuous days of rain on the island in 1923. Beginning with pizzicato droplets, the movement builds up a rhythmic momentum of raindrops circling across the glockenspiel, woodwind, and strings. Amidst the intensifying rain shower comes further development of The Rinns themes by the woodwind. A solo trumpet call connects movements three and four. The call offers a pause for reflection in memory of the tragic loss of two American troop ships off the coast of Islay in 1918.

“Whisky Fancies” is a playful nod to Islay’s abundant whisky industry, as we stop by a watering hole for a dram. A spirited jig plays in canon to the backdrop of a dancing tambourine, before a boozy bass clarinet joins double-stopped violins. The jig fades out as our journey takes us sweeping past the celebrations and out into the stillness of The Rinns at night.

Facing the peninsula is a lighthouse, built on a small adjacent island in 1825. The violins and glockenspiel simulate the steady flash across the night-time sky. High upon a cliff on The Mull of Oa, looking out to sea, stands a memorial to commemorate the troop ships. A short horn melody introduces a moment of heroicness, representing the American monument. Tubular bells toll to recall the passing of those who lost their lives.
The final movement, “The Lighthouse,” exposes the volatility of the environment. Stormy seas and strong tides surround the island, with fortissimo brass, timpani and cymbal crescendos creating power and crashing waves. The relentless storm reigns, meeting the shimmering motifs heard earlier. The work closes with a solo horn and violin call, offering distant echoes of The Rinns of Islay themes.

— Helen MacKinnon

Tributum was composed for the Celebrate World Music concert, a Burmer Music LLC production and premiered in Seattle, 2013. Eight Seattle composers were selected to write an original work for chamber orchestra and soloists, the main parameter of this work being “world music” from a specific country with instruments representing that country of choice.

Tributum is written for both the Great Highland Bagpipes of Scotland and the Uilleann Pipes of Ireland. These two Celtic pipes are very different from one another. The Great Highland Bagpipe is a double reed instrument. It has a bag, a chanter, — which is similar to the recorder in appearance — a blowpipe, two tenor drones, and a bass drone. Sound is produced by continuously filling the bag with air and playing the chanter. It has a nine-note range, tuned to the B-flat mixolydian mode and is written in A mixolydian mode. The drone is a low A played continuously. It is not tuned to the traditional A440, and juxtaposed with a symphony orchestra, the tuning can be problematic. The instrument is very powerful, and bagpipers are able to play lyrical and technical music with precision.

The Uilleann Pipes — “pipes of the elbow” — have a bag inflated by a small set of bellows strapped around the waist and the right arm. It has a chanter, drones, and regulators and a two-octave range in D major/minor and can play related keys such as A minor. The Uilleann Pipes are distinguished by their tone and wide range of notes, the outcome being sweeter and quieter in tone quality in comparison to the Great Highland Pipes. The timbre of these two varied instruments coalesce with the symphony orchestra in one piece, Tributum.

Tributum has three distinct segments: Introduction to an Air, Air, and March. I chose the key of A minor for the Introduction and the Air played by the Uilleann Pipes, and the key of B-flat for the March performed by the Great Highland Pipes. These two keys are a semitone apart. The last note of the Air — played by the Uilleann Pipes — is an A. The timpani enters with a low F, a major 3rd down from the A. This F becomes the dominant of the new key of B-flat major. The timpani entrance is quiet, followed by snare rolls with a crescendo, leading up to the striking entrance of the low A drone of the Great Highland Pipes, thus creating a seamless transition from one idiom to the next. Each segment carries enveloping themes — a trademark of the composer — interlacing the thematic conversation with orchestra and soloists with a triumphant ending with orchestra and the Great Highland Bagpipes.

— Nan Avant

The title of this composition is taken from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The following excerpt serves as an epigraph to the score:

All forms of sorrow and delight, 
All solemn Voices of the Night, 
That can soothe thee, or affright… 

More descriptive of “affright” than “soothe,” Voices of the Night is in three connected parts:

Andante con moto – The opening section is rather slow and moody. The croaking of frogs and chirping of insects and other nocturnal creatures punctuates the gloom. Menacing shadows gradually grow and become more threatening.

Allegro moderato – After building to a nearly unbearable pitch of suspense, the tension breaks as ominous nocturnal fantasies appear out of the shadows and seem to dance to a lively but somewhat dark rhythmic section, which is built almost entirely on a single motif. After seeming to wind down, the dance suddenly rekindles and rushes to a feverish climax, which dissipates as the shadows give way to a glimmer of light.

Tempo I – The ominous fantasies scatter, and approaching dawn at last brings a “soothing” epilogue, based on the opening music.

Voices of the Night is scored for two flutes/piccolo, two oboes/English Horn, two clarinets/bass clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, two trombones, tuba, vibraphone, timpani, three percussion, and strings.

– Richard E Brown

Lost Voices (2009) for orchestra was written to honor all victims of natural or man-made acts of violence: those victims who have survived the trauma, are still traumatized, or who succumbed and are survived and remembered by loved ones.

The shape of the work loosely follows the stages that might be experienced in such traumatic episodes. The opening timpani rolls and dissonant chords followed by repeated brass figures suggest the onslaught, interspersed with a flute solo representing an attempt to escape the pain that still returns and peaks. The sustained string and wind sections mark the passage of grief, with the horn solo highlighting the move towards eventual acceptance, calm, and hope.

It is my hope that this work speaks for the voices of those who have lost their innocence, their way, or their lives.

— Deborah Kavasch

The Opening Scene – A huge, expansive Sea. It is absolutely still, with all of its incredible potential power lying dormant under the surface. It is awe-inspiring to witness a magical scene of nature. And now the story can begin…..

Scene 1 – “Movement of the Sea.” Gradually — little by little — the sea begins to move. This massive body of water is slowly coming to life. The movement begins very gently at first. It then turns into a gentle rocking movement, which turns into flowing currents, which become undulating waves. The different types of movement evolve — one turning into the next — but all the time gradually building. As I was writing this music, I became aware that the incredible powers within the Sea were actually symbols of something else — the amazing power that we have at our disposal as human beings, to experience all that life has to offer. The forces that we encounter can be daunting at times, but they are laden with incredibly potential power. I realised I needed a character to interact with the sea. This character does not master or control the sea, rather he is able to harness its incredible power to fulfil his own destiny in the most profound and meaningful way. I began to see that this character needed to be a legend of the sea – and so I went in search of a legend, and I discovered Manannán. Once the undulating waves reach their peak, Manannán rides the waves. While he is doing this, the sea continues to evolve, turning into a turbulent choppy sea. The climax of this scene is when Manannán rides the choppy sea.

Scene 2 – “Movement of Water.” The sea is made up of water; sometimes the water moves in independent currents, but it can also move as one large unified entity. At the beginning of this scene the water is moving independently – it is chaotic and totally disorganized. Then, the currents begin to come together and move as one. As this happens, the power begins to build, ultimately becoming a terrifying storm — a sign of the incredible power available when all components move as one. Manannán is able to harness the huge forces and then ultimately work in harmony with them. The climax of this scene is when Manannán is able to ride the huge waves at the peak of the storm.

All three of the preceding scenes are then repeated, but with significant changes. The changes are made mainly because the powerful elements of the sea have now been dealt with, which means they are no longer intimidating. The various elements of the sea can now be enjoyed without threat. The climax occurs with Manannán now able to fulfil his destiny by calling on the power of the Sea when needed. This is exemplified with one final majestic ride of the waves at the end of the piece.

— Anthony Wilson

Yrast 2.0 was composed to sonically represent the beautiful chaos of an unstable atomic nucleus emitting energy from larger than expected particle fragments. The piece is characterized by a revolving and evolving system of driving ostinato arpeggios, beginning at its most minimal point, and traveling through a harmonic vortex of high spinning states. In nuclear physics, Yrast is a technical term that refers to a state of a nucleus with a minimum amount of energy at its least excited point for a given rotational momentum. In Swedish, yr is an adjective that shares the same root as the English “whirl.” Yrast is the superlative of yr and can be translated as ”whirlingest,” although it literally means “dizziest”. In this composition, the instrumentation and articulations performed by the orchestra spin, collide, and react with calculated motion and force. The melodic and rhythmic journey of Yrast 2.0 musically illustrates the orchestra’s association with and potential for kinetic fury.

— Ben Marino

“The every-day, reshaped by contingencies. The time-bound path twists through certainty, bewilderment, and fragile reconstruction. Upon release, recognition arrives.”

— Kim Diehnelt