Ton Verhiel composer
Guy de Lioncourt composer
Augusta Read Thomas composer
Denis Bédard composer
Frederick Hemke composer
Eugène Bozza composer
Leonard Enns composer
Allen Harrington saxophone
Lottie Enns-Braun organ
Ravello Records presents VANISHING POINT, featuring saxophonist Allen Harrington and organist Lottie Enns-Braun in an unusual instrumental pairing not often heard in classical repertoire. “The saxophone and organ are wind instruments that rarely occupy the same space at the same time,” says Enns-Braun, “and it is our contention that this seemingly incongruous combination is actually quite perfect.”
The duo showcases this striking sonic blend with a vibrant collection of pieces, written mostly by living composers and those active in the 20th century. Guy de Lioncourt’s Kyrie setting Melodies Gregoriennes juxtaposes 10th century liturgical chant styles with a modern harmonic sensibility, and on the transcription of Eugène Bozza’s lullaby Chanson à bercer, the duo’s regular encore, the saxophone gently soars over the organ’s lush underpinnings.
Partita Breve by Ton Verhiel and Sonate I by Denis Bédard are both Baroque-inspired contemporary works that bring the era’s signature formal structures into a modern setting. Augusta Read Thomas provides two intensely expressive pieces, Angel Tears and Earth Prayers, that lay bare emotionally-driven material both personal and universal.
Frederick Hemke contributes two miniatures contemplative Norwegian folk song arrangements, Un Mi Gud et Lite Rom (“Grant me God a little room”) and Hus Gud Er Idel Glede (“In God is eternal joy”), which impart a different and distinct flavor to the album.
The collection draws to a close with the title track, Vanishing Point by Leonard Enns. Across its three movements, the piece moves from a frenzied and energetic opening to an ethereal and calm dissolve, blurring the divisions between beginning and end, conflict and resolution.
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Canadian musicians ALLEN HARRINGTON (saxophone) and LOTTIE ENNS-BRAUN (organ) began performing together in 2005. Since then, they have given many recitals and have been featured on Winnipeg’s Westminster Organ Series and at the 2016 Royal Canadian College of Organists’ National Convention. They are praised for their flexible programming, which frequently features living composers as well as encompassing music from as early as the Baroque era. Allen is an associate professor at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music, where he teaches saxophone, bassoon, and chamber music. Outside his university teaching career he maintains a busy schedule as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician, and adjudicator. He has recently released two CDs: Metropolis (2014) and The Postcard Sessions (2016), both on the Ravello Records label.
Lottie is the director of music and organist at Young United Church in Winnipeg, university organist for the University of Manitoba, and an active member of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. She is heard regularly as a solo recitalist and frequently collaborates as organist with choral and instrumental ensembles in Winnipeg and beyond.