John Mitchell composer
Jakub Černohorský violin
Ondřej Pustějovský violin
Petr Benda viola
Tomáš Svozil cello
Just as each season brings its own sensations and expressions, so does composer John Mitchell’s SEASONS from Navona Records. Performed by the award winning Benda Quartet, the compositions envelop the various characteristics and hallmarks of each time of year, capturing both their beauty and the emotions they evoke. Autumn exudes the subtle warmth left from summer, Winter brings suspenseful chills and flurries of notes, Spring, a shedding of winter coats, and Summer, a regal and relaxing musical soundscape, all conjured from a dynamic and expressive string quartet performance.
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Track Listing & Credits
|01||Spring||John Mitchell||Benda Quartet | Jakub Černohorský, violin; Ondřej Pustějovský, violin; Petr Benda, viola; Tomáš Svozil, cello||7:58|
|02||Summer||John Mitchell||Benda Quartet | Jakub Černohorský, violin; Ondřej Pustějovský, violin; Petr Benda, viola; Tomáš Svozil, cello||8:17|
|03||Autumn||John Mitchell||Benda Quartet | Jakub Černohorský, violin; Ondřej Pustějovský, violin; Petr Benda, viola; Tomáš Svozil, cello||7:39|
|04||Winter||John Mitchell||Benda Quartet | Jakub Černohorský, violin; Ondřej Pustějovský, violin; Petr Benda, viola; Tomáš Svozil, cello||7:05|
Recorded July 12-14, 2021 at Dům Kultury města Ostravy (The Ostrava House of Culture) in Ostrava, Czech Republic
Session Producer Aleš Dvořák
Session Engineer Jan Košulič
Production Assistant Martina Watzková
Executive Producer Bob Lord
Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Ivana Hauser
VP of Production Jan Košulič
Production Director Levi Brown
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran
Content Manager Sara Warner
Born in Hollywood CA on April 26, 1941, American classical composer John Mitchell has written works for solo piano and organ, choral music, chamber music, operas, and more than 400 art songs over the course of his life. Mitchell comes from an artistic family, his father being pianist John Stewart Mitchell, and Canadian novelist W. O. Mitchell and Hungarian-born singer Teresa Hideg Mitchell, his cousins. Mitchell studied composition under the guidance of Dr. John Vincent, the successor of Arnold Schoenberg as professor of composition at the University of California, Los Angeles until 1965. From there, he went on to work as a church music director, organist, opera coach, and composer, all of which he continues.
Since the Benda Quartet began performing in 2012 they have achieved a wide variety of musical successes and established themselves among highly respected Czech ensembles. Their first significant landmark was the concert debut they performed at the 60th Jubilee of the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra in Ostrava in April 2014. The concert was recorded by Czech Radio and garnered a huge audience acclaim. Since then has the collaboration with the studio of Czech Radio continued on regular basis and resulted in a number of publicly appreciated recordings. The Benda Quartet have worked intensively together with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra and artist management agency Janáčkův Máj on numerous chamber music and educational projects.
Just as each season brings its own sensations and expressions, so does composer John Mitchell’s SEASONS. Performed by the Benda Quartet, these compositions envelop the various characteristics and hallmarks of each season, capturing both their beauty and the emotions they evoke.
Autumn is met with a grandiose opening, contrasted by short bursts of pizzicato passages, exuding the subtle warmth left from summer, wrapped in the chilling autumn air. The mood shifts through each passage, signifying the visual and emotional changes of this season, and ultimately delivering a strong, punchy cadence at the ending.
Winter opens with a swift snow flurry of notes before quickly dissolving into a lush interplay of different string parts. This composition is mysterious, suspenseful, thrilling, and at times ominous, like being immersed in the calm moments of winter on the brink of a snowstorm, and long build-ups in intensity are brought to abrupt stops, like entering the eye of a storm. Its ending — with a long sustained note and short plucks — conjures the image of snowflakes trickling down and coating the Earth.
Spring opens jubilantly, exiting the cold and effusing the excitement of spring; string passages show growth, like nature’s inhabitants and flowers sprouting from the Earth.
Spring is deeply dynamic and expressive, showing the dichotomy between the season’s rainy days and its bright ones. This piece feels like the first warm day of the year, walking across puddles formed from melted snow, shedding winter coats, and moving triumphantly.
Summer is a tonally warm composition joining the carefree nature of the season with excitement and opportunity for the growth it brings. It feels regal and luxurious, eased with a relaxed opening statement before quickly introducing the thrill of summertime ambience.