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Four Orchestral Works by Burge

Based in Ottawa, Canada, the Thirteen String Chamber Orchestra is particularly devoted to the work of living composers, as exemplified by this new recording. The programme comprises four works by Canadian composer John Burge that were commissioned and premiered by the orchestra before receiving further performances across Canada and internationally. Conductor Kevin Mallon is a long-standing Naxos artist who adds to his 50-plus entries in the label's catalogue with this latest album.


John BURGE (b. 1961)
Sinfonia Antiqua
Forgotten Dreams 1 • One Sail 2
Upper Canada Fiddle Suite

Joanna G’froerer, Flute 1 • Rachel Mercer, Cello 2
Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra
Kevin Mallon

John Burge is a JUNO Award-winning composer and a passionate advocate for Canadian music who has a strong affinity with writing for string instruments. All of the works in this recording were commissioned and premiered by the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra. Opening with the joyous and celebratory Sinfonia Antiqua, the mood shifts to an evocative and impressionistic atmosphere in Forgotten Dreams, while One Sail captures the compelling power of poetic imagery. The Upper Canada Fiddle Suite blends tradition and nostalgia with entirely original inventiveness, and concludes an album that perfectly represents Burge’s eloquent and deeply expressive compositional style.

Listen to an extract from Sinfonia Antiqua:
II. Minuet
About the Artists

Joanna G’froerer enjoys a career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, soloist and educator. She has been principal flautist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) of Canada since 1992. She regularly performs as a soloist with the NACO, and has appeared with many of Canada’s other fine orchestras and ensembles. She has been featured in chamber music festivals across Canada and at Brazil’s Festival de Campos do Jordão.

Rachel Mercer is principal cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and artistic director of the 5 at the First Chamber Music Series in Hamilton. She plays with the Mercer-Park Duo, and was a member of JUNO-winning Ensemble Made In Canada (2008–20) and the Aviv Quartet (2002–10). An advocate for new Canadian music, Mercer has commissioned over 25 works for cello, including concertos, solo and chamber music.

Irish/Canadian conductor Kevin Mallon studied composition with Peter Maxwell Davies and conducting with John Eliot Gardiner, alongside singing and Baroque violin. He was concertmaster with Le Concert Spirituel and Les Arts Florissants in Paris before moving to Canada to take up posts with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the University of Toronto. In 1999 he founded the Aradia Ensemble, with whom he has made over 50 recordings for Naxos. Mallon is music director of the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra and has recently been appointed artistic director of Symphony in the Barn in Ontario.

Founded in 1976, Thirteen Strings is one of Canada’s leading chamber orchestras, consisting of thirteen professional string players currently directed by award-winning conductor, Kevin Mallon. The orchestra’s repertoire is diverse, covering music from the Baroque era to the 21st century. It maintains a strong focus on celebrating and promoting Canadian talent, having commissioned more than a hundred new works from Canadian composers. The Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra made its debut on Naxos in 2015 with a recording of Franz Beck’s Symphonies, Op. 2 (8.573323).

Albums from the Naxos Canadian Classics collection
‘This is a splendid release on all counts. The New Orford String Quartet and their colleagues strongly commit themselves to these often quite beautiful works. Their neatly prepared readings are all caught in excellent sound.’
MusicWeb International
‘The chamber choir sings with exceptional cohesion and true intonation, revelling in the outpouring of sacred emotions summoned by gifted compatriots.’
Fugitive Colours
The Linearity of Light • Equilateral

Gryphon Trio • Vancouver Symphony Orchestra • Tovey
‘This is some of the best new music I have reviewed in more than two decades. For the Vancouver Symphony, playing these pieces must have been rewarding. These are persuasive readings.’
American Record Guide
‘ … all these recordings are demonstration quality, making this CD one of the most spectacular to come along in some time.’
Classical Lost and Found
For more albums in the Canadian Classics series follow this link.

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