Catalog #: RR8087
Release Date: April 28, 2023
At times meditative, at times sparklingly abstract, 5X4 is an album of contrasts. Composer Lawrence Axelrod offers a multi-faceted selection of original compositions which push the limits of musical craft – all contained within the quartet setup, but in varying instrumentations. The range begins with the eternal classic, the string quartet, progresses to a less-orthodox quartet of flute, clarinet, violoncello, and piano, escalates to an otherworldly ensemble of percussion, and finally culminates with a hypnotic double bass quartet. Axelrod's 5X4 is carefully conceptualized and altogether well-wrought; often contemplative, and always original.
Catalog #: RR8088
Release Date: April 14, 202321st CenturySolo InstrumentalElectroacousticPercussion
Martin Daigle skillfully unearths the melodic qualities of the drumset on DRUM MACHINES from Ravello Records, an album featuring the works of composers Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Sylvain Pohu. Daigle, the 2022 winner of Music NB’s “Innovator of the Year” award, performs two solo pieces that feature innovative applications of technology in this release, producing unique timbres through electronic augmentations of the drumset. These unique flavors paired with Daigle’s adept musicality and inventive grooves make for a one-of-a-kind listening experience that’s sure to stir the senses.
Catalog #: RR8089
Release Date: April 7, 202321st CenturyChamberExperimentalJazzPercussionPiano
Whim Ensemble musically explores Dutch painter Piet Mondrian’s artistic abstractions of nature on TREES from Ravello Records. Employing the skills of prepared-piano player Ofer Pelz, percussionist Preston Beebe, and double-bassist Stéphane Diamantakiou, the ensemble combines their years of experience as composers and performers to unearth new textures and timbres for their instruments. The resulting album effuses influences of free jazz, contemporary experimental music, and more to foster a unique take on Mondrian’s creative process and influential artistic output.
Catalog #: RR8086
Release Date: February 10, 202321st CenturyChamberCelloFlutePiano
Ravello Records is proud to present AMERICAN CARNAGE, an album of chamber music by composer Ken Walicki. Well traveled and well versed in an array of different genres, Walicki shares numerous personal experiences and influences in these pieces, from blissful moments of natural beauty to musical reflections on his formative years and beyond. Masterfully performed by members of the Los Angeles-based Divan Consort, AMERICAN CARNAGE offers exuberance and zest from start to finish, a satisfying and equally authentic listening experience.
Catalog #: RR8085
Release Date: February 10, 202321st CenturySolo InstrumentalPiano
Pianist Anne Goldberg and Ravello Records are proud to present PERMUTATIONS, an album highlighting Goldbergs qualities as an interdisciplinary artist. An educator, composer, and cross-disciplinary researcher, Goldberg’s artistry crosses boundaries and permeates her work as a musician with a deep-seated passion for promoting, premiering, and interpreting new music by living composers. Each piece on PERMUTATIONS was written by dear friends of the composer who explore different facets of the human experience. From deeply meditative music to tonally and rhythmically complex miniatures, each piece offers a new realm in which to get lost.
Catalog #: RR8084
Release Date: January 13, 202321st CenturyChamberGuitarString Quartet
MISSOURI BREAKS from composer and guitarist Stuart Weber is a musical meditation on the tension between natural history and modernity. In collaboration with the Sirius Quartet, Weber’s work is largely set in the untamed American West. Night Scribe considers the periodic appearance of Halley’s Comet and wonders where humanity might find itself when the comet next appears in the year 2062. Missouri Breaks takes its musical cues from the Missouri River as it flows through north-central Montana; the tempo is set by the river’s current, the glittering sunlight reflecting off the water inspires Weber’s guitar technique. Weber is deeply familiar with his subject matter, as he credits his upbringing in the Northern Rocky Mountains for giving him the time and space to develop as an artist.
Catalog #: RR8083
Release Date: January 13, 202321st CenturyChamberSolo InstrumentalPianoSaxophone
While it isn't entirely unusual for musicians to raise musical children, it is fairly rare for a composer to have not one, but two sons who also compose. This is the case for composition professor Alan Schmitz, who, together with his sons Christopher and Eric, presents of ACE COMPOSERS II, a curated selection of contemporary chamber music which proves that the apple sometimes does fall further from the tree, at least in some regards. It would be impossible to mistake either one's works for that of any of the others: too distinct are the individual idiosyncrasies – the swooping, late-Romantic phrases, the sober, experimental minimalism, and the jazzy groove. Nevertheless, they are all united by one commonality – aesthetic appeal seems to run in the family.
Catalog #: RR8082
Release Date: December 9, 202221st CenturyChamberFluteGuitarSaxophone
On CENTER CHAMBER, wind, string, and keyboard instrumentalists come together to perform a collection of original and intimate compositions that include the saxophone — particularly Paul Cohen’s conn-o-sax, a rare and long forgotten instrument given new life in contemporary works. The conn-o-sax brings a dark, contemplative quality and infuses a unique tonal and musical spirit to these often lively, brooding, and captivating works. The engaging and brilliant intimacy of the playing eloquently reveals the unique emotional and musical bonds that tie together these exceptional artists. Listeners will undoubtedly agree: CENTER CHAMBER offers a listening experience as special and engaging as the instrument it features.
Catalog #: RR8081
Release Date: December 9, 202221st CenturyChamberVocal MusicPianoViolinVoice
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.
Catalog #: RR8079
Release Date: December 2, 202221st CenturyChamberFlutePiano
The outstanding vigor of flutist Sarah Waycott and pianist Yanna Zissiadou is on full display on ANIMO TWO, an arresting album of new music for the ANIMO flute and piano duo. The richness of musical color created here with two solo instruments is a mesmerizing testament to ANIMO's skill both as individual performers as well as their chemistry in dialogue. Zissiadou and Waycott truly have the Midas touch when it comes to commissioning new pieces for their rare setup, yielding an album that meanders between empathetic tenderness and unfettered exuberance. A delight.
Catalog #: RR8080
Release Date: November 11, 202221st CenturyChamberElectronicViolin
Avner Finberg’s album THE FOUR SEASONS OF ISOLATION is a moving meditation on the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns. Finding himself separated from his fellow musicians and beloved concert audiences, Finberg took the opportunity to focus on composition and began writing this large-scale work for solo violin and electronics. Freed from the need for an accompanist, he worked in solitude to develop this musical essay reflecting on his year in isolation. The result was a nod to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons called The Four Seasons of Isolation. Also included on the album is The Raven, which incorporates a dramatic reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s masterpiece accompanied by violin and looper. The music combines electronics and violin to create haunting, ever-expanding chords that illustrate the story.
Catalog #: RR8078
Release Date: November 4, 202221st CenturyAvant-GardeElectroacousticElectronic
Cultural pessimists might argue that we've never lived in an age as isolated and atomized as this one, and a certain recent pandemic certainly didn't help. Cultural optimists on the other hand might quote German poet Hölderlin: "But where the danger is, also grows the saving power." Whatever the truth may be, the collective minds behind THE QUARANTINE AT THE CORE OF OUR HEARTS elegantly disregarded rumination, and instead chose to act.
Catalog #: RR8077
Release Date: November 4, 202221st CenturyChamberPercussionSaxophone
There are a number of established, conservative duo setups in Western music; but DRAX isn't one of them, and doesn't want to be. The saxophone-percussion duo, consisting of saxophonist Leo Saguiguit and percussionist Megan Arns, may be firmly rooted in contemporary American academia, but their music is one thing first and foremost: positively rebellious.
Catalog #: RR8076
Release Date: November 4, 202221st CenturyChamberSolo InstrumentalPercussionPiano
The piano is the powerhouse of musical instruments: with its vast tonal range and its ability to simultaneously supply chords and melodies, it generally takes the dominating place in virtually any setup. So what happens if you compose and play music for two of these behemoths? Pianists Sang-Hie Lee and Martha Thomas answer this question on their aptly-titled new album GLOBE, TRAVEL, HOMELAND.
Catalog #: RR8071
Release Date: October 28, 202221st CenturyChamberCelloPiano
TWO WORLDS CALLED HOME is inspired by composer Caleb Vaughn-Jones’s nine-year journey as an American living abroad in South Africa. In 2011, Vaughn-Jones was a gifted cellist from Baltimore who felt a calling toward the unknown. He abandoned the traditional path of an American musician building a career and instead moved to Port Elizabeth, South Africa to teach music. In this album, Vaughn-Jones employs his skill as a cellist to express the joys and sacrifices he encountered on this incredible adventure. Ava’s Lullaby, for example, was written for his daughter when pandemic restrictions kept him from returning to the United States. Lakutshon' ilanga (The Sun Never Sets), on the other hand, is an isiXhosa song written by Mackay Davashe during the Apartheid era that describes the endless search for a lost love. Joined by pianist Hsin-I Huang, Vaughn-Jones invites listeners on an unforgettable journey.
Catalog #: RR8073
Release Date: October 14, 202221st CenturyChamberElectroacousticElectronicPercussion
Deeply immersive electronic soundscapes and haunting harmonies stir the senses in THE BLEAK NIGHT from composer David Peoples. Featuring percussion, synthesizer, electronics, and electrophonic orchestra with narration and the manipulation thereof, Peoples captivates the ear and mind with suspenseful ostinatos that melt into entrancing waves of sound. A soothing beginning dissolves into hair raising junctures in Rock Me to Sleep, subtle grooves emerge amidst an ethereal atmosphere in Shinytastic, and tensions build to a boiling point before gently floating back down in The Bleak Night.
Catalog #: RR8075
Release Date: September 23, 202221st CenturyChamberSolo InstrumentalPianoVoice
Composer David Mastikosa’s ESCAPE is the work of an ambitious young composer whose skill belies his age. Born in 1992 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mastikosa is currently one of the most active contemporary classical music composers in his home country, and writes music for film and media. ESCAPE features works composed in a variety of styles and arrangements. Poslovice is a chamber piece inspired by old Serbian folk proverbs and suggests a hidden, tongue-in-cheek storyline. Detune was written specifically to encourage younger pianists to explore the vast soundscapes locked within the instrument. Trichord for Viola and Accordion is purposefully sparse; Mastikosa leaves free space for performers to exercise their own creativity. ESCAPE is both an artistic triumph in its own right and an early milestone in Mastikosa’s promising career.
Catalog #: RR8074
Release Date: September 23, 202221st CenturySolo InstrumentalPiano
Wide skies, whistling winds, and a love for the great outdoors take center stage on Karen Sunabacka’s CURLICUE, a collection of eight works for solo piano performed by Darryl Friesen. Each piece tells a story of Sunabacka’s wilderness adventures, from the titular Curlicue’s explorations of the twists, turns, and curls of a river, to Falling in the Water’s conjuration of girls jumping into water and sheets of rain pummeling tents, to Lost’s encapsulation of the fear and dread of losing one’s way. Friesen’s crisp performance brings each piece to life, transporting listeners to the Canadian woodlands and prairies for an adventure all their own.
Catalog #: RR8072
Release Date: September 9, 202221st CenturyAvant-GardeElectroacousticElectronic
NOWS from David Rosenboom and Sarah Belle Reid is a captivating expression of the radical challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The music examines the notion of “co-presence,” or togetherness, when experienced in isolation. This seemingly self-contradictory concept became an everyday occurrence as in-person gatherings became video conferences. Performer-composers Reid and Rosenboom spent this time passing fragmented musical ideas back and forth. In this organic way, a collection of “sound correspondences” accumulated between the two artists, made with instruments ranging from strings and horns to modular synthesizers, analog signal processors, urban and desert soundscapes, and much more. The resulting album, NOWS, is a post-genre masterpiece that speaks to our unique moment in history.
Catalog #: RR8070
Release Date: July 22, 202221st CenturyAvant-GardeClarinetElectroacousticElectronic
Lauded by critics as “interesting and captivating” (Cinemusical), the MIND & MACHINE series from Ravello Records returns in its fourth installment with a fresh roster of today's electro-acoustic composers. From the depths of the sea to the wildlife that populates our atmosphere and the breaths that form within us, a myriad of mystifying soundscapes await discovery. Innovatively-captured sound samples intertwine with contemporary social issues in this album, commenting on climate change, justice and inequality, and more. Our fragility and recovery are revealed in Gasp, human influence on the environment manifests in green line 2065 and Water Birds, and resilient voices respond in the face of oppression in Hanggang sa Takipsilim.