Sparks: Eye of London

Beth Mehocic composer
Gregory W. Brown composer
Ferdinando DeSena composer
Mark Dal Porto composer
Eric Klein composer
Don Bowyer composer
Sergio Cervetti composer
Daniel Perttu composer
Mark John McEncroe composer
Hans Bakker composer
Brian Wilbur Grundstrom composer

London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić conductor

Release Date: October 28, 2022
Catalog #: NV6454
Format: Digital
21st Century
Orchestral
Orchestra

Navona Records presents SPARKS: EYE OF LONDON, an assembly of original fanfares performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Drawing from the compositional strengths of today’s composers, the orchestra navigates chaos and order, isolation, and ascension towards triumph through passionate orchestral writing reminiscent of the fire that burns within us. A collection spanning thought-provoking narratives, scenic synesthesia, soothing passages, and the whimsically abstract, the London Symphony Orchestra explores a vast musical landscape of emotions, tackling each with precision and verve.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Fanfare for Jacob Grayson Beth Mehocic London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 4:22
02 (Of) Course Gregory W Brown London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 4:01
03 First of July Ferdinando DeSena London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 5:10
04 Bucolic Celebration Mark Dal Porto London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 4:21
05 New Day Fanfare Eric Klein London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 7:46
06 Lockdown Themes Don Bowyer London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 4:18
07 Gated Angel Sergio Cervetti London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 4:53
08 Phoenix Daniel Perttu London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 5:01
09 Time Heals & Reveals Mark John McEncroe London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 5:29
10 Ananke Hans Bakker London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 5:27
11 Overture for Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, A New Opera in Two Acts Brian Wilbur Grundstrom London Symphony Orchestra | Miran Vaupotić, conductor 5:00

Recorded February 25-26, 2022 at LSO St Lukes, London UK
Producer Brad Michel
Engineers Jonathan Stokes, Neil Hutchinson
Editing, Mixing & Mastering Brad Michel

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson, Danielle Sullivan

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Assistant Martina Watzková

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming, Morgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick Niland, Brett Iannucci

Artist Information

Beth Mehocic

Composer

Dr. Beth Mehocic was the Composer-in-Residence, Music Director, and Full-Professor for the Dance Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and wrote over 100 works for orchestra, concert band, chamber music, dance ensembles, theater, and film. Her works have been performed throughout the United States, Japan, China, Korea, and Europe, and she had works performed in several Las Vegas Hotels including The Mirage, Caesar’s Palace, and the Las Vegas Hilton. Several of her works have been recorded for PARMA Recordings.

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Gregory W Brown

Gregory W. Brown

Composer

Composer Gregory W. Brown’s works have been performed across the United States and Europe — most notably in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Cadogan Hall in London, and the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. His commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio; his Missa Charles Darwin received its European debut in March 2013 at the Dinosaur Hall of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde.

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Ferdinando DeSena

Composer

Ferdinando DeSena is a Miami composer born in Brooklyn NY. DeSena taught composition and electronic music at the New World School of the Arts from 2008 – 2020. He served on the faculty of the University of Miami from 1992 – 2009 and was Director of the Electronic Music Studio. His music has been performed throughout the continental United States and in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Argentina, Italy, Ireland, and Scotland. De Sena earned a B.A in Computer Music at Ithaca College, a Masters in Electronic Music, and a D.M.A. in Composition at the University of Miami. His principal teachers were Dennis Kam, Peter Rothbart, and Don Wilson. Ferdinando DeSena is a PARMA recording artist with several releases currently available.

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Mark Dal Porto

Composer

Mark Dal Porto has received numerous commissions with his works receiving hundreds of performances by many instrumental and vocal ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. In 2019, he released Peace, Nature & Renewal¸ a CD featuring some of his orchestral, choral, and chamber works. In the 2013 CODA (College Orchestra Directors Association) International Composition Contest, he was awarded first prize for his orchestral work Song of Eternity. He has also received certificates of excellence in band, choral, orchestral, and chamber music composition from The American Prize organization.

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Eric Klein

Composer

Based in New Jersey, Eric Klein is an internationally-performed composer of concert music with chamber, electroacoustic, and orchestral works performed in the United States and Europe. Klein studied classical guitar with Norbert Kraft and attended the University of Toronto and Royal Conservatory of Music. Equally versed in writing orchestral, chamber, and electronic music, he is a versatile composer for film and new media. In addition to scoring for independent feature film, his chamber music album The Myth of Tomorrow, performed by the New York contemporary music ensemble Contemporaneous, won the 2019 Independent Music Awards for Best Contemporary Classical Music Album.

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Don Bowyer

Composer

Since retiring from a full-time career in higher education in July 2021, Don Bowyer (b. 1958) continues to be active internationally, currently as a Visiting Professor in the College of Music at the University of the Philippines. Bowyer's pursuits include composing and performing, presenting master classes and recitals, and serving as a consultant on matters from accreditation to curricular development to higher ed administration. His last full-time position was as Professor of Music and Dean of the School of Arts at Sunway University (Malaysia), having previously served as Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Arkansas State University and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Bowyer has taught at every level from pre-kindergarten through doctoral programmes in the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sweden, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

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Sergio Cervetti

Composer

Sergio Cervetti left his native Uruguay in 1962 to study composition in the United States. In 1966 he attracted international attention when he won the chamber music prize at the Caracas, Venezuela Music Festival. After studying with Ernst Krenek and Stefan Grové and graduating from Peabody Conservatory, he was subsequently invited to be Composer-in-Residence in Berlin, Germany in 1969-70.

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Daniel Perttu

Composer

“Music has always been a kind of magic for me, a portal to other realms. When I was young, I was inspired by fantasy novels such as The Lord of the Rings, and I’m still drawn to myths and legends. I’ve written works on themes ranging from the sorcery of Merlin to the Callanish Stone Circle and the Torngat Mountains. My aim is to write music that invites audiences into other worlds, so they can re-discover their own sense of wonder." –Daniel Perttu

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Mark John McEncroe

Composer

Australian composer and classically trained pianist Mark John McEncroe writes for solo piano and orchestras of all sizes. His compositions have been performed throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States, with the biggest highlight to date being a concert at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in February 2020.

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Hans Bakker

Composer

After he finished his studies piano, church organ, and choral conducting at the Dutch Institute for Church Music in Utrecht, Hans Bakker (b. 1945) worked as a teacher at two music schools in the Netherlands. He also conducted two choirs and was active in the improvisational music scene. His career in music was followed by the study of Sanskrit. After obtaining his master's degree at the University of Amsterdam, he returned to music, becoming completely occupied by teaching at Globe Center for Art and Culture in the city of Hilversum.

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Brian Wilbur Grundstrom

Composer

A composer equally accustomed to writing for orchestra, opera, film, theater, chorus, piano, and chamber ensembles, Brian Wilbur Grundstrom’s voice includes a strong affinity for long melodic lines, distinctive tonal harmonic vocabulary, engaging rhythms, skillfully executed counterpoint, and dramatic imagery.

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London Symphony Orchestra

London Symphony Orchestra

Orchestra

Widely acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, The London Symphony Orchestra was named by Gramophone as one of the top five orchestras in the world. A world-leader in recording music for film, television, and events, it was the official orchestra of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games ceremonies, memorably performing Chariots of Fire on stage in the opening ceremony, conducted by Simon Rattle and with Rowan Atkinson.

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Miran Vaupotić

Conductor

Acclaimed as "dynamic and knowledgeable" by the Buenos Aires Herald, Croatian conductor Miran Vaupotić has worked with eminent orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV, Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Argentina and others, performing in major halls around the globe, such as Carnegie Hall, Wiener Musikverein, Berliner Philharmonie, Rudolfinum, Smetana Hall, Victoria Hall, Forbidden City Concert Hall, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Tchaikovsky Hall, International House of Music, CBC Glenn Gould Studio etc.

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Notes

This overture is a step in a different direction for me — a bit of whimsy and fun. The origins of this piece lay in a film-scoring project that I am working on. The main theme in the strings was a candidate for a theme in that film project, but was ultimately not used. Even though the musical idea was passed over in that project, I couldn’t get the melody out of my head and decided to develop it into its own standalone entity. I had originally pictured a bike ride along a pastoral stream in spring time and let my imagination take over from there, expanding outward to create an abstract narrative of sorts. Of Course begins with a series of percussive thumps… thunder? High up in the mountains, a stream coalesces and makes its way downhill. By turns boisterous and placid (though always driven), we wind our way through various landscapes: mills, rapids, meanders, and the like. This short fanfare/overture celebrates the natural and unstoppable thrust of water through the countryside, out to the sea.

– Gregory W. Brown

First of July was composed utilizing a 12 tone matrix, though it is not a serial composition in any way. It tends to be flexibly tonal, meaning that at any specific point it may establish a tonal center, but these tonal centers and their modalities are continually changing.

– Ferdinando De Sena

Bucolic Celebration depicts a commemoration and salutation on the joys of country life, particularly that which can be found in the panoramic and magnificent landscapes of the United Kingdom. It begins with several playful statements in the woodwinds meant to evoke pastoral images and feelings from the listener. It then gradually increases in volume, energy, and speed with more dynamic statements from the brass, strings, and percussion, ending in a virtuoso and whirlwind display of delight, pleasure, and exultation.

– Mark Dal Porto

In January 2021 during Malaysia’s third COVID-19 lockdown, I composed a short piece for solo trombone each day for 14 days, performing one each evening in an online stream from my apartment rooftop. This work fleshes out three of the themes found in these miniatures.

The first two themes, from Lockdown Miniature No. 1, reflect the angst and uncertainty of beginning yet another lockdown — with all businesses once again closed, police roadblocks preventing movement beyond the neighborhood, and most human contact reduced to a small screen.

The third theme, from Lockdown Miniature No. 4, is meant to express the raw emotion associated with losing loved ones over the previous 10 months.

– Don Bowyer

I state at the opening of my webpage that “music, in and of itself, is often incapable of depiction except by association. Words are sometimes needed for a composer to convey his feelings.” This was the case with Gated Angel. I wanted to express the frustration I felt back in my teenage years when I yearned to study composition and it was proposed that I analyze figured basses and harmonic and contrapuntal exercises. To me it was like doing crossword puzzles; I really felt then like a Gated Angel. I wanted to reflect that anger in my composition but without using too much percussion or too many complicated textures. My passion to compose was realized after Ernst Krenek and Stefan Grové took me under their tutelage. I will be eternally grateful to them.

– Sergio Cervetti

This piece is inspired by the legend of the Phoenix. As the bird reaches the end of one of its life cycles that lasts 1000 years, it flies from Paradise back to our “fallen” world where it lives until it is time for it to be reborn. The first part of this piece depicts a fallen world. When it is time for the bird to be reborn, it sings a most beautiful farewell song that causes even the Sun to pause and listen as it rises. After the song was finished, the Sun started again across the sky, emitting a spark — depicted in the music — that ignites the Phoenix in flames. After burning, a new Phoenix rises from these ashes and then returns to Paradise.

– Daniel Perttu

The title Ananke (2019) for orchestra is taken from the third movement of the same name of my violin concerto Kairos. The ancient Greeks thought that even their gods were subject to a mysterious principle in all becoming and decay: Ananke (Necessity). It was — for them — the highest spiritual ordering principle in man and life, comparable to the Cosmic Order (Rta) in Vedic mythology.

This fanfare music version starts off with a sort of canonical ballad (B), that represents harmony of the spheres, which then transitions into the fierce and lively Fanfare that culminates in F major, representing the permanent controversy in nature between chaos and order (entropy and energy). In the A-B-A version for orchestra as performed on the Navona Records Album SOURCE GROUND, this is even more compelling.

– Hans Bakker

Overture from a New Opera Based on Ernest Hemingway’s Novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Through his lyrical melody-driven music, Brian Wilbur Grundstrom brings new insight to this Hemingway classic with an exploration of the emotional depths of the characters who make up a small guerilla band pursuing a military objective during the Spanish Civil war. Using the full versatility of opera, David Dorsen’s libretto and Grundstrom’s music explore Hemingway’s themes of trust, loyalty, honor, love, betrayal, fear, pain, loss, and sacrifice.

In Hemingway’s popular novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, the larger-than-life personality of the author emerges in the character of Robert Jordan, an idealistic young American fighting against fascism in Spain during the 1930’s, who accepts a doomed military mission to blow up a bridge. While planning the mission, Robert Jordan falls in love with Maria, a young girl traumatized by war who was rescued by the guerilla band. In dealing with the harsh realities of war, Robert Jordan is forced to live only in the present moment, and confronts his own notions of masculinity, love, and honor in the short time that remains. The subject of an idealistic American going abroad to fight fascism is especially timely at this moment.

As a prelude, the overture from For Whom the Bell Tolls introduces six melodies which are developed thematically in the opera’s two acts. The overture begins with a quick ominous introduction of the ensuing story and continues with highlights from scenes of the opera: Pilar’s recounting of fascists atrocities in her hometown; Maria’s theme of lost innocence; Pablo’s desire for more horses to succeed in the mission; the band of guerilla fighters mocking the American; and ending with Robert Jordan meeting up with the guerilla band prior to the launch of the military objective – the destruction of the bridge.

– Brian Wilbur Grundstrom