In ECM's Ars Poetica, Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian pays tribute to poet Yeghishe Charents, a major Armenian versifier of the early twentieth century whose life was extinguished early in the "Great Terror" under Stalin. The ECM disc of Ars Poetica makes an even better case for Charents as poet than one is likely to find in an English-language bookstore; the notes contain texts in English for the 10 poems included in Mansurian's vocal concerto in addition to a concise, but appreciative biographical sketch for the poet – none is provided for the composer.
The Habsburg Imperial Court was a melting pot of many different cultures in which the zest for living of southerners, the Slav melancholy, French formalism, Spanish courtliness and the original German-speaking Alpine cultural region intermingled. Together with his Ars Antiqua Austria ensemble, Gunar Letzbor occupied himself over a ten year period to produce this 10CD ""Klang der Kulturen"" box, a musical tour of the individual countries that formed the roots of and influences on the music of baroque Vienna, documenting them in live recordings, with each CD representing one country.
The subtitle of "A Bridge of Dreams," a 2011 album with Ars Nova Copenhagen and Paul Hillier, is "a cappella Music from the Pacific Rim," and it includes the works of composers from Australia, New Zealand, California, and China, all of which draws in part, if not entirely, on non-Western musical traditions. Lou Harrison left the accompaniment for his Mass for Saint Cecilia's Day open-ended and here Andrew Lawrence-King provides a discreet undergirding using medieval harp, psaltery, and hurdy-gurdy. It bears a strong resemblance to Medieval plainchant mass in its predominantly monophonic, melismatic writing, and its modal character. The modes, though, are Harrison's own, based on traditional Indonesian and Chinese scales. The mass is a beautifully expressive, immediately engaging piece that reveals a fresh facet of the composer's brilliantly expansive imagination.
Ars Nova: This female keyboard trio started in the next line-up: Keiko Kumagai (keyboards), Kyoko Kanazawa (bass) and Akiko Takahashi (drums). In '92 ARS NOVA released their promising debut-album "Fear & Anxiety", a tribute to ELP with floods of powerful Hammond organ and flashing synthesizer solos, supported by a strong and adventurous rhythm-section…