Betty Wishart composer
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi piano
Betty Wishart and Ravello Records present her latest album: MOODS, featuring her compositions for solo piano as performed by Jeri-Mae Astolfi. These impressionistic pieces, sparked by a swath of concrete and abstract inspirations, explore the full range of timbral textures and colors the piano offers.
MOODS follows up Wishart’s 2016 premiere solo album, PIANO SONORITIES, which also featured the Canadian-born pianist Jeri-Mae Astolfi. This new album opens with an imaginative rumination on the sounds of rain and thunder. In Phantasmagoria, Wishart employs both atonality and tonality to depict anxious sleeplessness, which is eventually eased into peaceful repose as the storm subsides. Variations on Shenandoah, as the name suggests, explores a series of variations on the famous folk tune. We hear the melody reharmonized, reimagined, and even catch a retrograde variation.
Preludes: In Memoriam is another innovative piece; each prelude recalls a historic cultural or political figure and their characteristics. The music embodies the unique personalities of people like Audrey Hepburn, Amelia Earhart, Winston Churchill, and more. Vibes is a surreal and abstract piece. Broken into three movements, the composer borrows from jazz and other styles to recreate her observations of a peaceful day at New York’s Central Park. The album concludes with Illusions. This piece uses dynamics, phrasing, tone decay, pedal techniques, and more to conjure an array of strange and wonderful sonorities. Wishart recalls waking in the dead of night to scrawl down this composition from beginning to end without revision. This raw prolific power permeates MOODS.
MOODS offers listeners an opportunity to reconsider what is possible when it comes to solo piano music. Each piece simultaneously challenges the hearer while also inviting him or her to a higher perceptive plane—if they choose to accept the invitation, they are richly rewarded. Evocative and highly inventive, this latest release from Wishart makes a powerful artistic statement and will no doubt prefigure even more midnight compositions to come.
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Track Listing & Credits
|01||Phantasmagoria||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||6:10|
|02||Atmospheres: No. 1, Apprehensive||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:31|
|03||Atmospheres: No. 2, Frustrated||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:03|
|04||Atmospheres: No. 3, Self-Confident||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||0:37|
|05||Atmospheres: No. 4, Tranquil||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||0:58|
|06||Variations on Shenandoah||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||5:27|
|07||Preludes "In Memoriam": No. 1, Audrey Hepburn||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||2:49|
|08||Preludes "In Memoriam": No. 2, Amelia Earhart||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||2:06|
|09||Preludes "In Memoriam": No. 3, Winston Churchill||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:58|
|10||Preludes "In Memoriam": No. 4, Jane Austen||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:43|
|11||Preludes "In Memoriam": No. 5, Henry David Thoreau||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||2:13|
|12||Preludes "In Memoriam": No. 6, Lewis & Clark||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||2:53|
|13||Preludes "In Memoriam": No. 7, Sylvia Plath||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||2:02|
|14||Preludes "In Memoriam": No. 8, Anna Pavlova||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:36|
|15||Divertissement||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||4:06|
|16||Vibes: No. 1, Blue||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:24|
|17||Vibes: No. 2, Quiescent||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||2:02|
|18||Vibes: No. 3, Ebullient||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:06|
|19||Celebration Prelude||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||7:33|
|20||Illusions: No. 1, Clouded||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||0:42|
|21||Illusions: No. 2, Restless Time||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:08|
|22||Illusions: No. 3, Interplanetary Visit||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||0:41|
|23||Illusions: No. 4, Goodbye (À demain)||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||0:43|
|24||Illusions: No. 5, Dawn||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||1:23|
|25||Illusions: No. 6, The End||Betty R. Wishart||Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi, piano||0:48|
All tracks recorded April 18-19, 2020 at Piedmont College Conservatory of Music Concert Hall
Piano Steinway D
Recording Engineer Byargeon Media
Piano Technician Jonathan W. Edwards
This recording was made possible with a Regional Artist Project Support Grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County.
Executive Producer Bob Lord
Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Lewis
VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Shaun Michaud
VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner
Betty R. Wishart
Betty R. Wishart and music are synonymous. Her earliest memories involve singing in church choirs and playing the piano. She was introduced to contemporary music while studying with Richard Bunger at Queens University. At the end of her junior year, she wrote her first composition, submitted it to a music fraternity and was invited to perform a mini-recital of her music at their international conference. That event inspired her to continue composing while earning an M.M. degree in piano performance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While pursuing further study in piano and composition in New York City, she accepted and won a challenge from a writer to see who could get published first.
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi is a Canadian-born pianist whose playing has been lauded as “brilliant” (New Music Connoisseur), “persuasive” (Sequenza21), and “beautiful” (American Record Guide). Her repertoire, ranging from the Renaissance era through the present, clearly affirms her keen interest in new music, which has led her to commission and premiere many new solo and collaborative works—music that has been featured on live radio broadcasts and released by Albany Records, Innova Recordings, Ravello Records’ Capstone Collection, Ravello Records, as well as various recordings for the Society of Composers Inc. Performers Recording Series.