Mezzo-soprano Elaine Huckle has received acclaim from an early age, lauded for childhood performances of well-known liturgical works and solo recitals through adulthood. Her passion for singing developed at an early age, but was nearly derailed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Determined to maintain her career, Huckle found an inner strength to recover—TOWARD THE LIGHT is her celebration of her
recovery, and a testament to her willpower to continue a vibrant singing career. With this album—featuring performances of works by masters including Handel, Brahms, and Schubert—Huckle hopes to inspire others to press on and follow their hearts. In her own words, “This is not my story. This is everybody’s story.”
Addressing the man who greatly contributed to the theory of our evolutionary ascent, DEAR DARWIN, the second release on Ravello Records by composer Scott Brickman, explores several themes relating to Charles Darwin's studies and interests including birds, love, world travel, and human boundaries. The song-cycle Dear Darwin is set to 26 poems by Kathleen Ellis and arranged as an abecedarium. Many of Ellis' poems discuss observations of nature and human behavior, some proposing questions and others suggesting answers, while Brickman's compositions consider different relationships between the piano and the soprano voice: he places the piano in three different roles in respect to the soprano - as an imitation, as a supplement, and as harmonic support.
This album features works by composer Michael Sidney Timpson that combine three different "spheres of influence:" European avant-garde, American jazz and pop, and various Asian musical traditions. These spheres "collide" with inventive friction, often fuse to "reinvent" convention, and merge to "fertilize" the mind with inspirational seeds for further hybrid creativity.
From the passion of a new romance to the devotion and deep affection of parents for their children, love can take many forms. On his Ravello Records release CIRCLE OF LOVE AND OTHER CHORAL OFFERINGS, composer Craig Madden Morris presents a song cycle for chorus and piano set to traditional texts from The Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, The Book of Ruth, Malachi, and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as well as original verse by the composer. This CIRCLE OF LOVE portrays the blossoming and growth of love, from the initial passion to the poignancy of later years.
Composers and longtime friends Joel Mandelbaum and Leonard J. Lehrman present their collaborative HARMONIZE YOUR SPIRIT WITH MY CALM. The two first met in 1976, and, since then, have carved out prestigious careers in New York. Both are prolific creators, respected academics/lecturers, and important institutional leaders, particularly in the world of American and Jewish music. Each composes somewhat traditional music infused with their own originality and sometimes unconventional influences.
First released in 2002 on Capstone Records, Phillip Schroeder’s TURNING TO THE CENTER is a subdued, atmospheric tour de force of songs written primarily for an ensemble of baritone voice, clarinet, and keyboards. Featuring texts by Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and Rumi, the three song cycles on this release offer atmospheric and varied writing for the expected baritone, clarinet, and keyboards with occasional forays into the unexpected sound worlds of synthesizer and added percussion.
On WITHIN MY SOUL, New York-based composer Akemi Naito’s debut release on Ravello Records, the composer’s intent was to create a collection of musical works inspired by words. The poetry and prose that inspired the album’s three pieces were crafted by a trio of writers who transcend the boundaries of time and place: 19th-century British poet and novelist Emily Brontë; 20th-century Japanese novelist Kobo Abe; and Japanese monk-poet Saigyo (1118 – 1190).
“A poet who composes,” Chinese artist Gordon Eagle presents cross-cultural sounds and styles in his music for soprano and piano. MELANCHOLY IS LIKE A PLUME OF SMOKE features a collection of five songs with music and lyrics penned by Eagle. This new Ravello Records album mingles ancient Chinese poetic traditions and Western sounds in one forward-thinking recording.
Ravello Records proudly presents THE TRAVELLED ROAD from operatic composer Evan Mack. The album is a bold and progressive work featuring compositions that are thoroughly grounded in the modern era. A Little More Perfect sets the text of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion on Obergefell v. Hodges, which made marriage equality the law of the land. Three Reflections of Sister Dorothy tells the story of martyred nun Sr. Dorothy Stang and her fight to save the rainforest. The Road and the End expresses the eponymous 1916 Carl Sandburg poem as a musical tour de force, performed by vocal powerhouse Megan Marino. Mack is a firm believer that opera should be theater grounded in climactic expression, delivering larger-than-life stories while harnessing the full athletic thrill of singing; THE TRAVELLED ROAD embodies this philosophy.
Composer Mark Edwards Wilson and Ravello Records present TIME VARIATIONS, a stirring journey through the dimensions of musical style. Wilson blends soprano vocals with piano and electroacoustic synthesizers, flute with electronic tape, and experiments with the stylistic boundaries of solo violin and chamber ensembles in works inspired by poetry, Greek mythology, and various musical expressions throughout time. By fusing the idioms of early music with contemporary compositional concepts, Wilson has created a modulating and continuously transforming stylistic synthesis that awaits listeners.
INTERSECTIONS from the dynamic chamber group Khemia Ensemble invites listeners to meditate on the confluence of beginnings, endings, and the hope and grief that can accompany those events. With intersections of acoustic chamber music, electronics, and multi-genre influences, the album features a stinging commentary on microagressions (Sink’s Bite!), a tumultuous mother/daughter relationship (Freund’s Song of Persephone), a tender lullaby dedicated to his newborn son, rooted in a family ritual of planting a cottonwood tree(Benavides’ Little Cloud), an exploration of memory inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms (Biedenbender’s in a field of stars), and an assertion of identity through Bollywood melodies and American pop sensibilities (Shekhar’s Don’t Beat a Word). By showcasing commissioned music by five living composers, Khemia Ensemble demonstrates their commitment to reflecting broader perspectives in contemporary classical chamber music.
WHAT SHE SAW features two epic, large-scale works from composer Douglas Anderson. These gripping vocal works focus on the lives of two archetypal women: Cassandra of ancient Greece and The Woman of modern times. The first work, Cassandra Songs, tells the story of a Trojan priestess gifted with the power of prophecy but cursed to never be believed. The 11 songs that comprise this first work depict the arc of her tragic struggle. THROUGH/IN, the second major work on the album, is a one-woman chamber opera in which the modern Woman confronts herself through the looking glass. With words by Andrew Joffe, WHAT SHE SAW is a dramatic tour-de-force.