|About this Recording
8.559629 - Flute Recital (21st Century): Martin, Marya (Eight Visions - A New Anthology for Flute and Piano)
‘Eight Visions’ – A New Anthology for Flute and Piano
Kenji Bunch (b. 1972): Velocity
This recording represents one of the culminating elements of a multifaceted commissioning project I first embarked on in 2005. Motivated by my lifelong passion for contemporary music, along with a sense of frustration with the lack of engaging new repertoire for solo flute, I approached Meet the Composer with the idea to commission eight new works for solo flute, which I would premiere, record, and seek to have published.With MTC’s assistance and the support of a group of generous individual patrons, I was able to assemble a diverse group of composers whose work I admired and who enthusiastically agreed to participate.
The resulting compositions were completed by early 2007. On 20 March 2007, I performed all eight new works at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and made this recording a short time thereafter.The process of preparing these works for performance and recording was undoubtedly one of the most artistically rewarding experiences in my career—and one of the most challenging, given the range of technical and interpretive demands they place on the performer.As another important component of the project, Theodore Presser Company has published the works as an anthology.
While I have been fortunate to collaborate with many composers over the course of my career, most notably in my position as the founder and artistic director of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, which has commissioned numerous works since its first season in 1983, this project was unique in bringing so many works to life simultaneously.And although they were originally envisioned as completely independent pieces, I was thrilled to discover that they seemed to form a natural grouping and took on an added dimension when performed together. Collectively, they reflect the sense of limitless possibility that makes the 21st century compositional landscape so exhilarating. I hope they will bring as much inspiration and delight to you as they have to me.
Kenji Bunch (b. 1972): Velocity
Kenji Bunch has emerged as one of the most prominent, prolific, and versatile American composers of his generation.His unique blend of wit, exuberance, lyricism, unpredictable stylistic infusions, and craftsmanship has brought critical acclaim for his two symphonies, five concertos, chamber opera, numerous chamber works, and many non-classical and experimental compositions. His symphonic music has been performed by over thirty orchestras, and his chamber works have been performed in leading venues on six continents, are regularly broadcast on national radio, and have been recorded on many labels, including Sony / BMG and EMI Classics. Kenji Bunch maintains an active career as a violist, and is widely recognized for performing his own groundbreaking works for viola. A versatile musician, he is also a guest performer and string arranger with many prominent non-classical artists. A native of Portland, Oregon, he currently resides in Brooklyn and teaches at the Juilliard Pre-College.
Velocity was inspired by the “Mannheim Rocket”, a popular compositional technique in the mid-eighteenth century that uses propulsive, wide-ranging arpeggios to heighten the excitement of a work.With the goal of helping to propel virtuosic flute-writing into a new century, I wanted to suggest a contemporary treatment of this quirky, fun technique.To this end, my work is made up almost entirely of broken triads and arpeggios, often superimposed between the flute and piano parts, creating bi-tonal clashes. This arpeggio vocabulary shifts in texture from an opening quasi-minimalism to driving, rock-inspired rhythms and power chords, to a lyrical, falling arpeggio in canon that outlines poignant major seventh chord harmonies. A bebop-tinged coda leads to a last virtuoso presentation of the “Rocket”. As a young composer, I am deeply honored to have been invited to contribute to this project, and I am particularly excited to write for Marya Martin, who has been a dear friend and supporter of my work for nearly my entire composing career. Velocity is the third work that I have written for Marya Martin. It was commissioned for Marya Martin by Mary Rodgers and Henry Guettel and dedicated to Jamie and Claudia Davidson
Paul Moravec (b. 1957): Nancye's Song
Paul Moravec, recipient of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Music, is the composer of over a hundred works for the orchestral, chamber, choral, lyric, film, and operatic genres.His music has earned numerous other distinctions, including the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, as well as many prestigious commissions. His extensive catalog of recordings includes three other Naxos CDs: Tempest Fantasy (8.559323) with Trio Solisti and clarinetist David Krakauer; The Time Gallery (8.559267) with eighth blackbird, and Cool Fire (8.559393). A graduate of Harvard and Columbia universities, he has taught at Columbia, Dartmouth, and Hunter College and currently holds the special rank of University Professor at Adelphi University. In 2006–7, he was Composer-in-Residence at Mannes College of Music, and in 2007–8, he served as Artist-in-Residence with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.
Commissioned in 2004 by Marya Martin and her husband Ken Davidson for the Flutebook project, Nancye’s Song is dedicated to the memory of Marya’s mother, Nancye Martin.It is conceived as a kind of song without words, exploring the special lyric qualities of the flute throughout its extensive range, with the piano providing complementary accompaniment.
Chen Yi (b. 1953): Three Bagatelles from China West
Born in Guangzhou, China, Chen Yi is the Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company, commissioned and performed worldwide by such ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Singapore Symphony, recorded on BIS, New Albion, Teldec (with a Grammy Award sung by Chanticleer), New World, Albany, Koch & China Record Co. among others. Chen Yi has received bachelor and master degrees in music composition from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, China, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University in the City of New York. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and appointed Changjiang Scholar Visiting Professor at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in 2006.
Authentic folk-music from China West inspired the writing of Three Bagatelles from China West, which has folk-music elements drawn from the solo piece Shange Diao played on the wind instrument lerong, as well as the musical pattern played on the small mouth wind instrument kouxian of the Jingpo People; the solo piece Nai Guo Hou is played on the wind instrument bawu, with the pitch material sung in the folk-song Ashima of the Yi People; the folk-song Dou Duo, with the sound effect of the lusheng ensemble playing of the Miao People. The work was written for and given its première by flutist Marya Martin, and dedicated to Gilbert Kaplan, for his support for classical music.
Tania León (b. 1943): Alma
Tania León born in Cuba, a vital personality on today’s music scene, is a composer and conductor recognized for her accomplishments as an educator and advisor to arts organizations.She has been the subject of profiles on ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, Univision, Telemundo and independent films. Her honors include the New York Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fromm and Guggenheim Fellowship. A founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem,she instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series, was co-founder of the American Composers Orchestra “Sonidos de las Americas Festivals” and New Music Advisor to the New York Philharmonic. León has received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin and SUNY Purchase. In 2008 she served as US Artistic Ambassador of American Culture in Madrid, Spain. A Professor at Brooklyn College since 1985, she was named Distinguished Professor of the City University of New York in 2006.
Una flauta toca un crescendo que se va convirtiendo en aglegria (A flute plays a crescendo that starts transforming into joy), from Bailando con mi angel by Carmen A. Vega Schimmenti (Puerto Rico). This poem was the spark that ignited the creation of Alma. Ripples of pitches, a web of sonic impulses shimmering in the imagination. In Spanish, “alma” means soul or spirit; invisible forces, like the wind that caresses the chimes outside my window. The opening and closing of the piece evokes the sound of these chimes. The mood of the middle sections is propelled by the cascading of pitches that at times converge and diverge, a myriad of colors in playful conversation of bouncing gestures.
Eve Beglarian (b. 1958): I will not be sad in this world
According to the Los Angeles Times, Eve Beglarian “is a humane, idealistic rebel and a musical sensualist.” Her chamber, choral, and orchestral music has been commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the American Composers Orchestra, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the California EAR Unit, St Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, and the Paul Dresher Ensemble. She has also worked extensively in theater, with directors Lee Breuer (Mabou Mines) and Chen Shi Zheng; in dance, with Victoria Marks, Ann Carlson, Susan Marshall, and David Neumann, and with visual and video artists including Shirin Neshat, Cory Arcangel, Kevork Mourad, Vittoria Chierici, Barbara Hammer, and Judson Wright. Recordings of her music are available on Koch, New World, Cantaloupe, OO Discs, Open Space, Accurate Distortion, Atavistic, Innova, and Kill Rock Stars.
I will not be sad in this world is based on the song Ashkharumes Akh Chim Kashil, by the legendary eighteenth-century Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova. The pre-recorded track is an electronic transformation of my singing, recorded in a former tobacco barn in Umbria where I was working that summer, thanks to the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. This work was commissioned for and dedicated to Marya Martin by Annaliese Soros and Ernest Levenstein.
David Sanford (b. 1963): Klatka Still
David Sanford was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and received degrees in theory and composition from the University of Northern Colorado, New England Conservatory, and Princeton University. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rome Prize, and commissions from Chamber Music America and the Koussevitzky Foundation for performers such as Speculum Musicae, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, and cellist Matt Haimovitz. In addition, his works have been performed by groups such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center, jazz musicians Bob Mintzer, George Garzone, and the Corvini/Iodice Roma Jazz Ensemble, and recorded on CRI, Channel Classics, and Oxingale Records.He is the leader and founder of the big band the Pittsburgh Collective and currently lives with his wife, architect Mary Yun, and their two children in Northampton, MA where he is Associate Professor of Music at Mount Holyoke College.
The title Klatka Still title refers to two of the composition’s influences, the jazz trumpeter and composer/arranger Tony Klatka, and a particular cross-section of Polish fans at the 2006 World Cup in Berlin.The other primary inspiration was a memorably atmospheric outdoor concert in Rome by the jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko in 2002.Along with Marya Martin, and Ed Harsh of Meet the Composer, I am most grateful to musicologist Piotr Wilk with whom I attended the Stanko performance.
Melissa Hui (b. 1966): Trace
Melissa Hui was born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, Canada. She received an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts and a D.M.A. from Yale University. She has been mentored by Jacob Druckman, Earl Kim and Mel Powell. Her commissions include works for the Oregon, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and National Arts Centre orchestras; Ensemble Antipodes (Switzerland), New Millennium Ensemble (NYC), and the St. Lawrence String Quartet; a soundtrack for the Academy Award-nominated NFB film, Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square; and an opera, Pimooteewin (The Journey), based on a Cree myth and sung in the aboriginal language. Significant performances include the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, International Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), ISCM Festivals (Croatia, Switzerland), Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. She is a founding member of the Common Sense Composers Collective. Recordings of her works have been released on CRI, UMMUS, Santa Fe New Music, Nisapa and Centredisc. The recipient of awards from the Guggenheim and Fromm Foundations, she moved to Montreal in 2004 after ten years on the composition faculty of Stanford University.
Trace was commissioned by flutist Marya Martin as part of Eight Visions. The work traces the evolution of two musical materials in each of the instruments within a suspended space, or “ma”, the Japanese sense of space and silence that is as integral to the music as the events that envelope it.
Ned Rorem (b. 1923): Four Prayers
Words and music are inextricably linked for Ned Rorem. Time Magazine has called him “the world’s best composer of art songs,” yet his musical and literary ventures extend far beyond this specialized field. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy, Rorem has composed three symphonies, four piano concertos, and an array of other orchestral and chamber works, ten operas, ballets and other music for the theater, choral works, and over five hundred songs. He is also the author of sixteen books, including five volumes of diaries and collections of lectures and criticism. Ned Rorem is one of America’s most honored composers. From 2000 to 2003 he served as President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In January 2004 the French government named him Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. Among the distinguished conductors who have performed his music are Bernstein, Masur, Mehta, Mitropoulos, Ormandy, Previn, Reiner, Slatkin, Steinberg, and Stokowski.
Four Prayers is a work in four separate movements, the first two and last relatively moderate in tempo, and the third quite fast. It was composed between April and July 2006 in New York City and Nantucket. Four Prayers was commissioned by Frederick Peters in honor of his wife Alexandra. I am honored to be in the company of the other seven distinguished composers of Eight Visions and delighted to be able to write for the inspired flautist Marya Martin. My connection with Marya Martin and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, which she runs with such grace, goes back to twenty years ago when I wrote Bright Music for the Festival; in 2003 Unquestioned Answer was commissioned as a companion piece, and now Four Prayers.
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