RED LILIES OF BELLS,

GOLDEN LILIES OF BELLS,

WHITE LILIES OF BELLS,

ALLA ELANA COHEN

 

 

OVERVIEW

 

Composer Alla Elana Cohen presents a full album of chamber works in her first Ravello Records release RED LILIES OF BELLS, GOLDEN LILIES OF BELLS, WHITE LILIES OF BELLS. Cohen is an extremely creative and evocative composer, her works are wildly imaginative. The album is rich with musical surprises that reward repeat listens.

 

The album begins with Inner Temple Vol. 2 Ser. 1 “Brachot” (“Blessings”), a dramatic string quartet in three movements. The first movement begins with gliding lead violin lines before turning more brooding and less fluid, with bursts of sliding chords countered interspersed. A steady pizzicato shapes the second movement, played in turns by two violins and by viola and cello throughout nearly the entire length of the piece.

 

The final movement is characterized by frenzied violin lines that positively soar. Cohen returns to the Inner Temple theme later in the album with Inner Temple Vol. 1 Ser. 12 “Brachot” and Inner Temple Vol. 1 Ser. 11 “Shabbat Nigunim,” both works for chamber orchestra which continue the spirit of the initial Inner Temple installment.

 

The mood shifts slightly with the next composition, a triptych for chamber orchestra entitled Homage to Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais. Tension defines the sprawling first movement – both in the notes played and rests. The group’s mallet percussion plays an especially important role in setting the mood, which is as uneasy as it is beautiful.

 

The second movement gives the listener a chance to catch their breath, featuring the same tense feeling albeit with more sustained chords than the first movement’s breakneck pace. The woodwinds take center stage on the third movement, giving an airy and lighter feel to the otherwise dense piece. Taken as a whole, Homage to Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais is a glorious journey and a true highlight of the entire album.

 

Next up is the title track suite, Red Lilies of Bells, Golden Lilies of Bells, White Lilies of Bells, presented as a trio for violin, cello and piano. The first movement and third movements are almost entirely spoken word with just the hint of a melody. The second movement of the Trio contains variety of bell-like sonorities, especially in the piano part, with spatters of chords and bursts of sound.

 

This trio is an outlier among the several larger personnel works on the album, as is the solo cello performance on Hoffmanniana and duet for soprano and viola on Inscriptions on a Bamboo Screen. The interplay between voice and strings on Inscriptions pushes both instruments to soar to higher and higher planes. The composer herself adds cup gong to the proceedings of the last movement, which compliments the percussive, steady plucking of the viola. And though the cello stands alone on Hoffmanniana, its collection of lively bowed and plucked techniques presents an intense display that matches the impact of its neighboring orchestral tracks.

 

Cohen is to be especially exalted for her work with tension, fluidity, and varying tempos among her dynamic group of compositions presented in this collection.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Cohen is a distinguished composer, pianist, music theorist and teacher who came to the United States in 1989 from Soviet Russia. She now lives in Boston and is an Professor at both Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music

 

Acclaimed performers and ensembles have performed Cohen’s works, including Sebastian Baverstam, Mickey Katz, Bianca Garcia, Moran Katz, the Ariel String Quartet, JACK Quartet, Xanthos Ensemble, and more

 

“Alla Cohen explores the new direction in classical music…all those who love Mozart and Beethoven will add to these names the name of Alla Cohen.” - Mikhail Kazinik, BFI Radio on 11/15/13

 

“The relentless intensity of Alla Cohen's music, its characteristic texture and powerful urgency, reveal a composer whose music emerges from the deepest sources of passion and engagement. Her expressive dynamic is matched by her technical mastery and by her high-minded aesthetic. There is no compromise here. This is music that simply must be.” -Yehudi Wyner

 

CREDITS

 

Tracks 1-6, 16-26

Recorded December 1, 2015

Old South Church, Boston MA

Recording Session Engineer John Weston

Mixing and Mastering Corey Schreppel

 

Tracks 7-15

Recorded December 1, 2014 in concert

Old South Church, Boston MA

Recording Engineer Edvard Lee

Editing, Mixing, Mastering Corey Schreppel

 

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Brandon MacNeil

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Mastering Shaun Michaud

Engineering Manager Lucas Paquette

Art & Production Director Brett Picknell

Graphic Design Ryan Harrison

Marketing Scott Murphy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release Date: April 21, 2017

Catalog #: RR7953

 

 

TRACK TITLES

 

“Inner Temple” volume 2 series 1 “Brachot” (“Blessings”) for string quartet in 3 movements

Marissa Licata violin I   Melissa Bull violin II

Alexander Vavilov viola   Sebastian Baverstam cello

01  I. 3:12

02  II. 3:20

03  III. 2:59

 

Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano “Red Lilies of Bells, Golden Lilies of Bells, White Lilies of Bells”

in 3 movements

Marissa Licata violin   Sebastian Baverstam cello

Alla Elana Cohen piano   Alla Elana Cohen recitation

04  I. Recitation of the poem in Russian  2:06

05  II. Trio  10:08

06  III. Recitation of the same poem in English translation  2:11

 

Triptych for Chamber Orchestra

“Homage to Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais”

Bianca Garcia flute   Izumi Sakamoto oboe

Todd Brunel clarinet   Timur Rubinshteyn timpani

William Manley vibraphone   Matt Sharrock marimba 

Marissa Licata violin I   Ethan Wood violin II

Alexander Vavilov viola   Sebastian Baverstam cello

Alla Elana Cohen piano

07  I.  5:38

08  II.  3:07

09  III.  3:45

 

“Inscriptions on a Bamboo Screen” series 4 for soprano

and viola in 6 movements (with addition of cup gong in

the last movement)

Alla Elana Cohen lyrics   Rachel Schmiege soprano 

Alexander Vavilov viola   Alla Elana Cohen cup gong

10  I.  1:19

11  II.  1:04

12  III.  1:27

13  IV.  0:50

14  V.  1:09

15  VI.  2:03

 

“Inner Temple” volume 1 series 12 “Brachot”

for Chamber Orchestra in 3 movements

Bianca Garcia flute   Izumi Sakamoto oboe   Todd Brunel clarinet

Timur Rubinshteyn timpani   Aaron Trant vibraphone

Matt Sharrock marimba   Marissa Licata violin I

Melissa Bull violin II   Alexander Vavilov viola

Sebastian Baverstam cello

16  I. 3:01

17  II.  2:10

18  III.  2:41

 

“Hoffmanniana” series 3 for solo Cello in 4 movements

Sebastian Baverstam cello

19  I.  1:49

20  II.  2:50

21  III.  1:33

22  IV.  2:25

 

“Inner Temple” volume 1 series 11

“Shabbat Nigunim” in 4 movements

Bianca Garcia flute   Izumi Sakamoto oboe

Alexis Lanz clarinet   Timur Rubinshteyn timpani

Aaron Trant vibraphone   Matt Sharrock marimba

Marissa Licata violin I   Melissa Bull violin II   Lauren Nelson viola   Sebastian Baverstam cello   Alla Elana Cohen piano

23  I. 3:28

24  II. 2:31

25  III. 3:03

26  IV. 4:05

 

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(RR7942)  EMBRACE THE WIND!

Robert J. Martin

 

 

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Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

 

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