Lock & Key Vol. III

New Chamber Works

Ray Fahrner composer
William Toutant composer
Malcolm Dedman composer
Michael Lee composer
Robyn Jacob composer
Timothy Kramer composer

Release Date: October 27, 2023
Catalog #: NV6561
Format: Digital
21st Century
String Quartet

The critically acclaimed LOCK & KEY series once again opens its doors in this third installment, featuring an all-new roster of contemporary composers with an emphasis on new music and its connection to our ever-evolving ethos. Clever arrangements and unique compositional personalities are met with impeccable performances in this release, touching on wide-ranging themes from turmoil to introspection, meditation, and ultimately, unity in the human experience. In an exhilarating burst of energy, LOCK & KEY VOL. III resonates with raw authenticity, a testament to the depth and complexity of our shared humanity.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Holckenhavn Quartet: I. Fanfare Ray Fahrner Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor; Lukáš Mik, first violin; Barbara Tolarová, second violin; Stanislav Vacek, viola; Katarína Madariová, cello 0:51
02 Holckenhavn Quartet: II. Drammatico Ray Fahrner Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor; Lukáš Mik, first violin; Barbara Tolarová, second violin; Stanislav Vacek, viola; Katarína Madariová, cello 5:58
03 Holckenhavn Quartet: III. Fugato Ray Fahrner Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor; Lukáš Mik, first violin; Barbara Tolarová, second violin; Stanislav Vacek, viola; Katarína Madariová, cello 3:43
04 Holckenhavn Quartet: IV. Exuberantly Ray Fahrner Brno Contemporary Orchestra | Pavel Šnajdr, conductor; Lukáš Mik, first violin; Barbara Tolarová, second violin; Stanislav Vacek, viola; Katarína Madariová, cello 2:31
05 Trolls: I. A Tipsy Troll William Toutant Rane Moore, clarinet; Mike Williams, marimba 3:30
06 Trolls: II. A Pensive Troll William Toutant Rane Moore, clarinet; Mike Williams, marimba 6:11
07 Trolls: III. A Capricious Troll William Toutant Rane Moore, clarinet; Mike Williams, marimba 4:34
08 Joy of Union Malcolm Dedman Rane Moore, clarinet 5:14
09 2020: Danse Macabre: I. Appearance of the Macabre Michael Lee Juventas New Music Ensemble | Oliver Caplan, artistic director; Ryan Shannon, violin; Lu Yu, viola; Timothy Paek, cello 5:40
10 2020: Danse Macabre: II. Nocturne Michael Lee Juventas New Music Ensemble | Oliver Caplan, artistic director; Ryan Shannon, violin; Lu Yu, viola; Timothy Paek, cello 2:45
11 2020: Danse Macabre: III. Shadow Dances Michael Lee Juventas New Music Ensemble | Oliver Caplan, artistic director; Ryan Shannon, violin; Lu Yu, viola; Timothy Paek, cello 2:47
12 2020: Danse Macabre: IV. Lullaby of Hope Michael Lee Juventas New Music Ensemble | Oliver Caplan, artistic director; Ryan Shannon, violin; Lu Yu, viola; Timothy Paek, cello 4:14
13 Fluctus Robyn Jacob Robyn Jacob, piano; Peggy Lee, cello; Francois Houle, clarinet 9:16
14 Key Fragments Timothy Kramer Rane Moore, clarinet 6:54

Holckenhavn Quartet
Recorded January 18-19, 2023 at the Orlí Street Theatre Studio in Brno, Czech Republic
Session Producer Jan Košulič
Session Engineer Jana Jelínková
Editing & Mixing Jan Košulič, Melanie Montgomery

Trolls, Joy of Union, Key Fragments
Recorded December 5-6, 2022 at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport MA
Session Producer, Editing & Mixing Lucas Paquette
Session Engineer Luke Damrosch

2020: Danse Macabre
Recorded March 9, 2023 at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport MA
Session Producer, Engineer, Editing & Mixing Brad Michel

Recorded December 2, 2022 at Monarch Studios in Vancouver BC, Canada
Session Engineer Dave Sikula
Mixing Joseph Hirabayashi

Mastering Melanie Montgomery

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 Manager Martina Watzková
Production Assistant Adam Lysák (tracks 1-4, 9-12)

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Aidan Curran

Artist Information

Ray Fahrner

Ray Fahrner


Ray Fahrner composes in eclectic styles and conducts all manner of music in Cambridge MA. Fahrner began his composition studies with Robert Wason and Arnold Franchetti at Hartt College of Music, University of Hartford, subsequently studying with Scott Huston and Norman Dinerstein at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, where he received his doctorate in 1980.

William Toutant


William Toutant was born in Worcester MA. He received his B.A. and M.A. from George Washington University and his Ph.D. in music theory and composition from Michigan State University. He joined the music faculty of California State University, Northridge in 1975. During the next 38 years he not only taught in the Department of Music, but he also served in a variety of administrative positions including Dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication.

Malcolm Dedman

Malcolm Dedman


Malcolm Dedman was born in London, England, on November 3, 1948. Fascinated at an early age by his mother’s piano playing, she taught him to play when he was around 5 years of age. Once Dedman had a basic understanding, he found himself improvising alongside his regular practice. By the age of 12, he realized that he wanted to write some of these ideas down, so this became the starting point to his career as a composer.

Michael Lee


Michael M. Lee is a composer and teacher with a background in composition, theory, post-tonal analysis, and musicianship, and is a graduate of the U.S.C. Thornton School of Music (D.M.A.), Juilliard (M.M.), and Eastman (B.M.). Born in Atlanta GA, and raised in Maryland, he was first introduced to classical music through the trumpet. He can play the piano and took several private lessons in classical guitar at the Peabody Institute in Maryland before starting his bachelor's degree in composition. His music can be heard on Spotify and Apple Music and purchased on iTunes, Naxos, or Amazon. He is currently residing and teaching in Southern California.

Robyn Jacob

Robyn Jacob

Composer, Pianist

Robyn Jacob is a pianist, singer, composer and educator who lives and works on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and Səl’il’wətaʔ Nations, also known as Vancouver. She has toured Canada and internationally with her avant-pop project Only A Visitor, who have released four albums to date, recently signing on with Mint Records. Her recent composition projects include commissions by Third Coast Percussion, So Percussion, Chor Leoni, Re:Naissance Opera, and Little Chamber Music. Her work often explores writing for unusual ensembles, as well as collaborations with visual artists and instrument makers.

Timothy Kramer


Timothy Kramer’s music reflects his fascination with motivic patterns, cyclical relationships, and musical gestures that unfold in a variety of changing speeds and textures. Originally from Washington State, Kramer (b. 1959) began playing the piano at an early age, and, although trained as a pianist, organist, and harpsichordist, he spent many years as a youth playing bass guitar in jazz and rock ensembles. His music reflects this influence, and he sometimes integrates various aspects of American popular music into his pieces.

Brno Contemporary Orchestra

Brno Contemporary Orchestra


The Brno Contemporary Orchestra (BCO) was founded in 2011 with the aim of performing the world’s contemporary music and selected 20th-century works in Czechia and Czech music throughout the world. The ensemble includes top-level professional musicians employed in the leading Czech orchestras. It draws on a large pool of permanent collaborators who perform in various lineups according to the needs of each project.

Pavel Šnajdr


Pavel Šnajdr is a Czech conductor and composer. He is a graduate of the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU), Brno in composition (which he studied with Alois Piňos) and conducting (with Emil Skoták). Beyond working with symphony orchestras, he has been engaged by music theatres including the J.K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, the Prague State Opera and the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, and currently conducts opera at the National Theatre in Brno.

Rane Moore


Clarinetist Rane Moore is well-regarded for her thoughtful, provocative interpretations of standard and contemporary repertoire. Fiercely devoted to the new music communities of the East Coast and beyond, Moore is a founding member of the New York based Talea Ensemble which regularly gives premieres of new works at major venues and festivals around the world. Moore has recently joined the award winning wind quintet, The City of Tomorrow, and is also a member of Boston’s Callithumpian Consort and Sound Icon.

Juventas New Music Ensemble


Juventas New Music Ensemble is a contemporary chamber group with a special focus on emerging voices. Juventas shares classical music as a vibrant, living art form. They bring audiences music from a diverse array of composers that live in today’s world and respond to our time. Since its founding in 2005, Juventas has performed the music of more than 300 living composers. The ensemble has earned a reputation as a curator with a keen eye for new talent. It opens doors for composers with top-notch professional performances that present their work in the best possible light.


The seed of the Holckenhavn Quartet (pronounced “HOL-kun-HOWN”) was a brief “Fanfare” I wrote in 2014 for the wedding of Susanne Rasmussen and Gert Haar-Jorgensen at the Holckenhavn Castle in Nyborg, Denmark. The “Fanfare” is only 50 seconds long. It pits the upper strings against the cello in a close call and response dialogue. The cello’s rhythms joyously carry the day!

While I had no intentions of writing a longer work, the “Fanfare” had its own thoughts, suggesting to me that it was a celebratory introduction to a modestly proportioned, four-movement work. It haunted me for seven years, recommending an abrupt modulation and introspective, brooding music. Thus emerged the second movement, “Drammatico,” in 2021. In the opening section of this movement, the viola searches questioningly through a quiet, arhythmic accompaniment. The movement then settles down to the rhythmic business at hand with two divergent sections that are alternately juxtaposed three times: dark, angry counterpoint, followed by calm, melodic, meditative homophony.

The third movement, “Fugato” — a little fugue — is marked “with matter-of-fact humor,” and is a whimsical and welcome contrast to the mood swings of the previous movement. The subject of the fugue is colored with accented off-beats. Unusually, it has an echoing pizzicato accompaniment. Subsequent statements of the subject are brought into relief by virtue — a relative term here — of the accompanying instruments, which offer close canons (aka stretto), a playful countersubject, and guitar-like strumming by the viola, marked in the score, “A joyful noise!” The movement winds down with fragments of the subject mirroring each other. But the quiet closing is interrupted by…

Movement IV, designated “Exuberantly.” These colorful, energetic rondo-variations — AABCBAB(A) — feature a bouncy tripartite theme that playfully morphs from one ascending scale to another, only to turn around and come back down again, then conclude with dissonant, insistent leaps. The theme is disassembled lightheartedly, flattened, and run through the contrapuntal mill, if there is such a thing. The descending and leapy motives finally overlap and repeat insistently, concluding the fun.

— Ray Fahrner

In Fall 2019, my wife and I traveled to Scandinavia. We spent the majority of the trip in Norway, where trolls are ubiquitous. Every part of Norway that we visited had images of trolls, stories about trolls, and every sort of troll souvenir imaginable. We particularly enjoyed traveling the Trollstigen or “Trolls Highway.” Although trolls are supposed to be unfriendly to humans, all of the images of trolls we encountered depicted them as rather impish. This piece is a rather lighthearted depiction of three of these mischievous creatures.

For some time, I have wanted to write a piece based on the famous 24th Caprice for Solo Violin. The third troll is “capricious” not only because of the origin of the theme for the variations, but also because the theme itself is “capriciously” shortened in keeping with the mischievous nature of trolls.

— William Toutant

Much of the music by Malcolm Dedman takes religious faith, or rather the spiritual aspects of faith, as a starting point. This solo for clarinet is no exception as it expresses one of the fundamental principles in the Bahá’í Faith, that of the joy of people uniting with one another. The following quote prefaces the score:

The followers of sincerity and faithfulness must consort with all the people of the world with joy and fragrance; for association is always conducive to union and harmony, and union and harmony are the cause of the order of the world and the life of nations.
(Compilations, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 168)

This implies that people from all backgrounds — all the people of the world — should seek to live in union and harmony.
Joy of Union was written in 2013 and lasts around 5 minutes. It begins with a rhythmically pulsating note from which a melodic phrase evolves. This phrase is developed in different tempi, fast representing joy and slow representing contemplation. It ends with a joyful recapitulation of the opening idea.

2020: Danse Macabre is galvanized by recent experiences, one of which includes my adapting to a new life in a wheelchair due to an SCI accident during the early Fall of 2021; however, the title and ideas, especially in the first three movements, are very much influenced by the recent pandemic, various social issues, the political turmoil of 2020 and 2021 (including the January 6th uprising), the rise of authoritarianism, among others. However, the 1st movement — an introduction to the more experimental sound and rhythmic techniques — sets the tone for the more contrasting and similar music to follow. From an abstract perspective, this trio also aims to further develop and experiment with my growing and maturing style and expanding pitch language.

2020: Danse Macabre is my first string trio. A second multi-movement part going along with the first part (the four movements in this recording) is currently being composed.

— Michael Lee

Fluctus is a meditation on the subtle shifts between ecological micro-climates that can be found in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, in south-western British Columbia. Among the lush and dripping greenery, coming around the corner of a 500 year old fir tree may reveal a completely different community of flora and fauna, from the microscopic bacteria and fungi to the gently waving ferns. It is a celebration of the art of observing, and the importance of witnessing and respecting the natural world which holds us all. The piece premiered at Sonic Boom Festival in Vancouver, BC in 2017.

— Robyn Jacob

Key Fragments was written for and dedicated to clarinetist Stephanie Key in 2008. I composed a work for her ensemble, SOLI, in 1996 and have relied on her advice throughout the years on a number of pieces of mine. Embedded in this work are some key fragments from my many discussions with her. The principal motive heard at the beginning of this piece, however, is a new fragment: one that cements itself in our memory at different levels of perception, including a reference to a musical key. Broadly cast in three sections — slow, fast, slow — this piece takes us through a landscape where the concept of “key” is pushed to its limit.

— Timothy Kramer

Explore more albums in this series