Belshazzar's Feast, Op. 51, is incidental music by Jean Sibelius to a play of the same name by the journalist, poet and playwright Hjalmar Fredrik Eugen Procopé. Sibelius composed in 1906 eight movements, scored for orchestra, with singers also being required in some numbers.
The Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 52, by Jean Sibelius is a symphony in three movements composed in 1907. Coming between the romantic intensity of Sibelius's first two symphonies and the more austere complexity of his later symphonies, it is a good-natured, triumphal, and deceptively simple-sounding piece. The symphony's first performance was given by the Helsinki Philharmonic Society, conducted by the composer, on 25 September 1907. In the same concert, his suite from the incidental music to Belshazzar's Feast, Op. 51, was also performed for the first time.
Conducted by Dominique Beaulieu
CMD Paris Philharmonic in Orleans
40 YEARS OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
Alicia Terzian, conductor
Since composer, conductor and musicologist Alicia Terzian founded Grupos Encuentros in 1978, the six-person group has garnered international acclaim for its success at bringing the music of avant-garde Argentinian and Latin American composers to the world. On 40 YEARS OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, their debut recording for RAVELLO RECORDS, the group combines compositions from such well-known Latin American composers as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Alberto Ginaslera, and Terzian herself with works by an international array of composers that ranges from Anton Webern (Germany) to Luciano Berio (Italy) to Franz Schreker (Austria) to Pierre Boulez (France).
Grupo Encuentos consists of mezzo soprano Marta Blanco, pianist Claudio Espector, flutist Fabio Mazzitelli, clarinetist Matias Tchicourel, violinist Sergio Polizzi and violoncellist Carlos Nozzi. In this CD, saxophonist Maria Noel Luzzardo, oboist Ruben Albornoz, bassoonist Ernesto Imsand and percussionist Arauco Yepes join Encuentros Group. The program presented on 40 YEARS OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC originally premiered at the annual Encuentros International Festivas in Buenos Aires and truly highlights the brilliance of these award-winning musicians, who have earned high praise from such media outlets as the Los Angeles Times, where they were lauded as “deeply serious and challenging.” Over their 40 year-long career, the group has performed in more than 300 concert halls and festivals of the main cities of five continents including London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York City’s Merkin Auditorium.
40 YEARS OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC transcends cultural boundaries with such selections as Villa-Lobos’ Choro No 7, which unites the sounds of Amerindian primitivism with the polkas and waltzes of suburban dance halls in Brazil. Emphasizing her status as a renowned ethnomusicologist, Terzian dedicates her composition Yagua Ya Yuca to the Chiriguano and Chanel peoples, who belong to a lost indigenous northwestern Argentinian culture O King was composed the same year as the assassination of Martin Luthor King, a tragedy which deeply affected its Italian composer Luciano Berio.
Grupo Esncuentros founder Alicia Terzian has composed over 80 compositions for orchestras, orchestra with soloist, and chamber orchestras with and without soloists, musical theater, dance, and multimedia. She travels the world giving seminars on composition and contemporary chamber music at European and American universities and is often invited to participate on juries at international compositions.
Dominika Zamara was born 11 August 1981 in Wrocław. In 2007 she had honours degree on Karol Lipinski Musical Academy in Wroclaw (vocal faculty). Her professor was Barbara Ewa Werner. She received the one year lasting scholarship in the Italian Musical Conservatory in Verona, She educated her voice in Italy at masters of bel-canto art such as: Bruno Pola, Alida Ferrarini, Enrico De Mori, Mario Melani, Alessandra Althoff-Pugliese, Danile Anselmi. She works with numerous artistic agencies in the whole Europe and the United States.
CUATROGATO (FOUR CATS)
A warm, tropical breeze blows across the palm trees while you stroll Havana’s famous Malecón. There’s a good chance you hear the music from DASH – the latest release from Ansonica Records.
Recorded in Cuba, DASH was born from the vision of jazz and with the intent of fusing it with traditional rock, Cuban folk, and music from other traditions.
For Dash opens the album with propulsive drums and hook heavy Hammond B3 before igniting a propulsive jam that sets the tone for the rest of the recording.
Contrary to its title, Inertia moves between Andy Garcia Palacios’ laid back electric piano groove and Dayron Ortiz Jiménez’s ferocious electric guitar.
Drume Negrita and Cuando Ya No Estas layer Cuban flair over a slow jam. With exceptionally fluid guitar and drums sitting deep in the pocket, this is what sunset in Cuba sounds like.
DASH concludes with the rollicking melody of Easy Blues. Saloon style piano over Hernán Cortes Vilches’ funk heavy drums effortlessly bends genres while still sounding distinctly Cuban.
THE GORGEOUS NOTHINGS
THE GORGEOUS NOTHINGS is composer Ingrid Stölzel’s first recording on Navona Records, although she has also been featured on three compilation albums released by the label. Haunting and lyrical throughout, the album explores themes of beauty, being, journey and transformation. The album’s eleven tracks, some inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman and some created by Stölzel’s own native curiosity, engage the listener intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
The album’s title composition takes as its inspiration Emily Dickinson’s envelope writings and weaves together five paper fragments into a beautiful song cycle. Soprano Sarah Tannehill Anderson performs against a backdrop of flute, oboe and piano, evoking a sense of both the poet’s and the composer’s creative spirits.
In here there, performed by Navona violinist Véronique Mathieu and pianist Ellen Sommer, Stölzel plays with the subtlety of perspective. The interplay between piano and violin creates a sense of the instruments both attracting and resisting each other, much like the emotion one feels when torn between two places.
In Soul Journey – Three Whitman Songs, Stölzel brings together three poems by Walt Whitman into a song cycle, which creates a journey of the soul from awakening to awareness to transcendence. These striking lyrical interpretations from Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” are soulfully interpreted by mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella and Ellen Sommer on piano.
With Eyes Open takes as its source material Stölzel’s earlier composition, “with both eyes.” Here, allowing herself to fully open to the idea of possibility, Stölzel takes the 2008 composition, originally written for flute, guitar, vibraphone and piano, and transforms it into a subtle and serene piece written for alto saxophone and piano.
The album concludes with The Road is All, which takes as its inspiration a quote from a 19th century historian which translates to “The end is nothing; the road is all.” Each instrument – violin, cello and piano – travels on its own journey throughout the piece, sometimes solo and at other times converging, embracing the twists and turns, the unpredictability that is life, and the simple enjoyment of a moment in passing time.
Ingrid Stölzel has been hailed as “a composer of considerable gifts” who is “musically confident and bold” by NPR’s classical music critic. Her music has been described as “tender and beautiful” and as creating a “haunting feeling of lyrical reflection and suspension in time memory.” Stölzel’s compositions have been performed in concert halls and at festivals worldwide including the Kennedy Center, Seoul Arts Center, Thailand International Composition Festival and the Festival of New American Music, among others. Her music has been awarded and recognized in numerous national and international competitions.
Otmar Mácha, composer
JITRO Czech Girls Choir | Jiří Skopal, conductor
On HYMNUS, the world renowned Jitro Czech Girls Choir under the direction of Jiří Skopal once again delivers refined, dazzling interpretations of the music that is so much a part of Czech culture. The album, which is the Choir’s third release on Navona Records, includes 24 selections that range from Moravian and Silesian folk songs on which the Choir interprets the subtle call and response between bucolic lovers, to a series of compositions inspired by Latin proverbs on which intricate, multidimensional vocals underscore the significance of a simple word or phrase.
While the album’s tracks are assembled under specific groupings – Silesian Yodel Songs, The Replies of Silesian Songs, Moravian Folk Songs, and Proverbia – this merely delineates the source material. The unifying impact of the Choir’s exquisitely crafted vocals elevates this album far above what might otherwise be an ethnomusicological exercise.
For the most part, the choir performs without any instrumental accompaniment, save for several Moravian folk songs, on which a solo piano provides an additional layer of intricacy, and for the album’s closing track, Hymnus. Combining the stirring instrumentation of kettledrum and organ with the Choir’s uplifting vocals, Hymnus translates the positive, humanistic vision of John Amos Comenius, the 17th century educator, philosopher and theologian, into what serves as a superb melodious conclusion of this impressive recording.
Conductor and educator Jiří Skopal has managed the Jitro Czech Girls Choir since 1977. Over the ensuing years, he has achieved major international success at concerts in Europe, Asia, and the United States. In total, Skopal has recorded 43 albums with his choirs and conducted more than 3500 concerts.
The Jitro Czech Girls Choir is a complex institution with a membership of around 350 young singers ranging between five and 19 years of age. Since being founded 35 years ago, the Choir has been lauded internationally for its tonal brilliance, superb intonation, and distinctive rich blend of sound and energetic vitality. It is considered as one of the best children’s choirs anywhere in the world, receiving multiple awards and medals.
With TROVAS MODERNAS, the members of Bello Son have curated the latest edition of the Great Cuban Songbook. This group of free format musicians emerged in the summer of 2014, from an experimental project developed over six years by Professor Jesús Bello at the Samuel Feijóo Art School in Villa Clara Cuba.
Since May 2015 Bello Son has worked and performed consistently including presentations and performances in Trinidad, in Havana with the Association "José Martí,” and on television broadcasts across Cuba.
From the timeless salsa of Luis “Tata” Guerra’s “Son Matamoros” to Ñico Saquito’s “Amarro Con P,” the music on this album represents a deep dive into the music that defines a country and its people.
Tony Smith’s “Dile Que Por Mi No Tema” is a passionate salsa featuring a spurned lover who informs a former flame to “tell your new lover there is nothing to fear / it has been a long time since I erased you from my mind.” “Los Celos De Mi Compay” (My Friend’s Jealousy) rounds the story out with surprisingly upbeat music contrasting a less than joyful circumstance.
Alongside Cuban icons Pepe Sanchez, Rosendo Ruiz, and Manuel Corona, Sindo Garay is considered one of the four greats of the trova – poetic songwriters who accompanied themselves on guitar. Indeed, these trovadors were the folk musicians of Cuba, and Bello Son’s take on Garay’s “Retorna” carries on the tradition proudly.
“El Reto” (The Challenge) features a rollicking piano line and birdlike flute that dances around the lyrics.
As a gateway into understanding a people and culture, music has no equal. Listening to TROVAS MODERNAS provides an unparalleled look into the hearts and minds the Cuban people.
Bruckner's most passionate and best orchestrated symphony. Even Gustav Mahler wrote of the Adagio movement of this symphony, "The Adagio achieves a level of composition that I have yet to achieve."
Only the 2nd and 3rd movements of this symphony were performed in Bruckner's lifetime.
Sylvia Wagner, conductor
CMD German Opera Company of Berlin
THE BROKEN VESSEL
With THE BROKEN VESSEL, Andreas Barth, Geir Hjorthol and Magnar Åm take the concept of “industrial music” to a whole new level. The recording took place in an abandoned Norwegian factory, “The Propeller Hall,” utilizing everything from the acoustics in the building to the muffled sounds of traffic outside its walls. In this way the building became a partner in a concrete as well as a metaphorical way in creating the music of this ten-track album.
Let us quote the composing musicians: “Metaphorically the building with all its scars could be seen as a broken vessel, left alone and non-productive. And this broken vessel even became the reflection of how our minds had to willingly enter into the nothingness of the creative moment, where we are left with nothing but what we are and what is around us, trying constantly to find a meaningful way into the next moment. This is true both as far as composition and improvisation concerns, maybe even living in general…”
The notion of THE BROKEN VESSEL is borrowed from German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin. Benjamin argued against the idea that any original work could be translated into another language while still retaining its original meaning. Thus any translation would be a “broken vessel”.
“We chose this title,” the composing musicians say, “because we acknowledge the impossible challenge in translating what our hearts feel into a musical language. But music was the most direct language we could find.”
From this double inspiration, the three composers/musicians created their sonic interpretations of a factory, now abandoned, as an image of the relation between past and present, but also between the materiality of industrial production and the spirituality of music.
They created this project using instruments such as a glass harp, grand piano, trumpet, the human voice and various percussion instruments including tools and materials found within the factory. They manipulated their sonic output to simulate the industrial sounds of production in an attempt to musically translate the labours, but also the hopes and longings of the workers of the past. The outcome of this was a series of musical images filled with contrasts between darkness and light, drama and peaceful meditations.
Though the past cannot be fully translated, Barth, Hjorthol and Åm reimagine the factory in its working condition, bringing the building to life in an attempt to retell its story to a new audience.