Friday, February 28, 2014

PARMA and the ArtPM challenge

The PARMA Art Department is very excited about our new album cover designs. So excited that we think they should be put up in a gallery. So this year we will be participating in the ArtPM Challenge, a challenge to start and finish a complete piece of art during the month of February. If you would like to support local art, spend time with some of the PARMA family, and check out some of our newest album covers there will be a reception and group showing at BUOY gallery in Kittery ME held on March 14 from 5-10 p.m. See you there!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February Releases on Navona and Ravello

This short month brings us five eclectic and interesting works from composers from Wales, Ireland, Australia, and the United States, that are inspired by Japanese instruments, English poet John Clare, the clarinet, and ancient texts. To find out more about our February releases (and take a listen!) on Navona and Ravello click "read more."

Friday, February 21, 2014


New on Navona Records next month, POLARITIES expresses the emotions and feelings associated with opposites. Captured at three different locations around the world, this robust compilation features modern works by PARMA composers Matthew Fuerst, Katherine Saxon, Chi-Hin Leung, and Alex Freeman.

With another awe-inspiring recording from Petr Vronsk√Ĺ and The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Matthew Fuerst’s “Symphony” is full of dynamic intricacies. Presented in three contrasting movements, “Symphony” is destined to keep listeners on the edge of their seats throughout its 19 minute duration.

“East of the Sun/West of the Moon” is rich in character and sophistication. The chamber music of Katherine Saxon paints a picture of arid deserts, birds in conversation, and a voyage into the unknown. Using text from The Song of Solomon, “Vox Dilecti Mei” is a melting pot of emotions.

Based on a Chinese tragic love story, “Aftermage: The Dreamy Butterfly” is a striking combination of eastern and western textures composed by Chi-Hin Leung. This experimental work was recorded by the Hong Kong Cantabile Winds in Tsuen Wan.

Alex Freeman’s “Blueshift” rounds out the compilation in a progressive and captivating way. Freeman’s introspective musical language will leave you feeling eager and more than willing to give the album another spin.

This highly-anticipated 2014 PARMA release features brilliantly captured recordings and a thought-provoking design. With tracks recorded in the United States, Czech Republic, and Hong Kong, POLARITIES portrays a wide range of musical colors and patterns.

Enjoy listening to the vibrant and wondrous POLARITIES this spring along with our diverse collection of March 2014 releases.

Also, be sure to check out the POLARITIES page on the Navona Records website for a description and sample clips from the album:

Release date: March 25th, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Scattering Light, Scattering Flowers

As a string player, an avid music fanatic, and an occasionally picky listener, it's a constant aspiration of mine to seek out experimental, outside-the-box, less-than-traditional styles, techniques, and timbres of stringed instruments from all around the globe.

But the concept of ‘tradition’ itself is relative to the people who practice it. Music that we consider to be traditional in the United States couldn't be further from what other cultures call traditional. This isn't news to Texas composer Marty Regan, who studied at the Tokyo College of Music from 2000 to 2002.

Regan specializes in writing music for traditional Japanese instruments for his series, Selected Works for Japanese Instruments. Of the variety of Japanese instruments Regan writes for, perhaps the most prominent voice is that of the koto, a Japanese zither that dates all the way back to the eighth century.

My first exposure to the family of Eastern stringed instruments was through a concert by the group Gorillaz, the cartoon fronted indie hip hop outfit conceived in the early 2000's by Blur's Damon Albarn. The first encore of the set was a tune called "Hong Kong", which featured a Chinese zither called a guzheng. I had never heard anything like it, and I was fascinated by its unique sound.

Seven years later, my initial wonder and curiosity over this Eastern zither came rushing back when I first heard Marty Regan's Selected Works albums. These pieces were written for a number of different Japanese instruments, including the koto – an ancestor to, but certainly not to be confused with, the Chinese guzheng. Both share similar (but not identical) construction and playing techniques. Sonically, however, the guzheng has a bright, metallic, harp-like sound, while the koto has a more earthy, nylon-string guitar timbre (then of course, there’s the fact that they’re from entirely different countries).

This Tuesday, February 25th, SCATTERING LIGHT, SCATTERING FLOWERS, will be released on PARMA’s Navona label. This third installment of Regan’s Selected Works for Japanese Instruments collection features music written for koto, female voice, shakuhachi, (a type of Japanese flute), and more.

I invite you to take a listen to SCATTERING LIGHT, SCATTERING FLOWERS, as well as Regan’s previous Selected Works releases, FOREST WHISPERS and MAGIC MIRROR. I hope you are as captivated and excited by their beautiful, exotic sound as I was.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Rose From Us To You

In the spirit of Valentines day, a day typically associated with gestures from the heart and the exchanging of roses, here is a rose from us to you:

Mark Vigil
THE PALEST ROSE (Ravello / Released 2012)

In this collection of works for solo piano, chamber ensemble, chorus, and orchestra, Oregon-based composer Mark Vigil strives to appeal to the listener’s heart, urging them to hear the music based on its beauty alone. This release serves as a retrospective of Vigil’s varied works for a variety of configurations, and serves as an
astute sampling of his compositional output as a whole.

Have a great holiday, and happy listening!

PARMA Featured in Portsmouth Herald

Last week, the Portsmouth Herald visited the PARMA headquarters on the seacoast of New Hampshire to get a glace of what goes into producing, releasing, and marketing the music that is released on PARMA's three label imprints.

Executive Editor, Howard Altschiller, was able to speak with the team about the mechanics of PARMA, the contemporary music industry, the various production services that PARMA offers, PARMA's Licensing program, and more.

Read the full article here and keep an eye out for this month's releases coming out on February 25th.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Looking Back: Paul Hindemith with Yehudi Wyner

Yehudi Wyner studies with Paul Hindemith
As part of support material creation for RESOLVE: HINDEMITH MASTERWORKS FOR CLARINET we conducted an interview with Richard Stoltzman and pianist/composer Yehudi Wyner, who accompanies Stoltzman on Hindemith's Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. During the interview Wyner drew our attention to this photo which hung in his study. I found this photo so fascinating and we were thrilled to be able include it in the booklet for the release. Wyner's first hand experience studying under Hindemith provided a unique opportunity to gain insight into what it was like to study under one of classical music's most compelling composers.

This image as well as excerpts from the sessions and interview can be found here within RESOLVE'S online Enhanced Content.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New PARMA Artist: Nicolas Kaviani

PARMA is pleased to announce Los Angeles based composer, Nicolas Kaviani, to our growing roster of talented artists.

As a composer, Mr. Kaviani is particularly interested in choral music.  He has composed a Te Deum, a 35 minute work for orchestra, choir, and vocal soloists, along with a Missa Solemnis, an epic-proportioned 2 hour long setting of the latin mass text for orchestra, choir and soloists.

Currently, Mr. Kaviani is working on a tetralogy entitled "Les Saisons" which explores the relation between the four temporal seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) and the four stages of the life cycle (Birth, Growth, Maturity, Death/Return), as well as an a'capella setting of original poetry

Mr. Kaviani has spent a large portion of his career as a composer in France, studying at the Conservatoire de Musique Olivier Messiaen in Avignon, France.  In the US, he studied at UC Santa Cruz under David Cope.

Mr. Kaviani will be recording his setting of the Te Deum and his a'capella setting in the Czech Republic with PARMA later this year.  Mr. Kaviani will be accompanied by a professional film crew during this project to make a DVD that will be included on his debut release with PARMA Recordings.  Listen to a recording of Movement I from Mr. Kaviani's "String Quartet #4" below.

06 Quartet #4 mvt 1 by Kaviani