Say you start a group called the Society for New Music, commission composer-stars-in-the-making and do it for thirty years straight, you might expect your scrapbooks to be quite interesting. What you might not realize is that your efforts now constitute a major segment of the backbone of contemporary American concert music and you have premiered a boatload of chamber works by composers who have gone on to distinguished careers. Such is the case with Syracuse’s Society for New Music founded by Neva Pilgrim, who opened their treasure chest of commissioned works from 1972 – 2002 and has put them together as the 5-CD set entitled “American Masters for the 21st Century.”
Conceived and recorded over the past 2.5 years by Sono Luminus, Imagine Christmas is the perfect album for your holiday celebrations, evoking a very deep sense of nostalgia while remaining wonderfully modern. Includes: Frosty the Snowman - Ensemble Galilei, December: Christmas - Bruce Levingston, White Christmas - Irina Muresanu & Matei Varga, Holly Jolly Christmas - Jasper String Quartet, Walking in the Air - Ronn McFarlane, Twas The Night Before Christmas - Cory Hills, Santa Claus Is Comin to Town - Kathryn Bates, Christmas Time Is Here - Caleb Nei, Joy to the World - Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Lydia Lewis, Good King Wenceslas - Stewart Goodyear, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Skylark Vocal Ensemble and Silent Night.
Four American composers, all pianists, all prizewinners at the height of their powers. It is not surprising that the works collected here are idiomatic to the instrument and gratify ing to play. Augusta Read Thomas explores the piano’s natural resonance and beauty. Wayne Peterson’s expressive, sweeping virtuosic lines reflect his past as a jazz pianist. Charles Wuorinen’s bracing rhythms leap across the instrument in a modernist romp that echoes the wit and humor of his opera. Eric Moe’s Afro-bebop encore rounds out the program.
For this from that will be filled is the debut album by Clarice Jensen, artistic director of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME). The album explores the variable differences between acoustic and electronic sound as well as depiction of the simulated and the unconscious. It was originally conceived as a collaboration between Jensen and the artist Jonathan Turner as an audio-visual work, but is here presented in it's pure audible form. Building on a long and romantic tradition of solo cello repertoire, Jensen expands and confuses the familiar sound of the cello through the use of effects pedals, multi-tracking, and tape loops recorded at variable speeds, presented in works she has written for herself as well as a piece she conceived together with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. Also featured is Michael Harrison's "Cello Constellations" for multi-tracked cello and sine tones, written for Jensen, which meditates on long, sustaining tones. With For This From That Will Be Filled, Jensen has made an incredibly strong first album that feels like a surreal and futuristic journey through an alternate timeline.