Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New PARMA Artists: Joe Porter and Joel Goodfellow

Joe Porter
PARMA is excited to welcome percussionist Joe Porter and pianist Joel Goodfellow to our roster of artists.

Joe and Joel have been playing together for several years in Canada, performing an eclectic mix of popular film themes, classical repertoire, and jazz standards. The duo has earned acclaim for their tasteful and technical performances featuring piano and a variety of percussion instruments including marimba, vibraphone, and drum set.

Joel Goodfellow
Active in the classroom as well as on stage, Joe and Joel both serve as instructors at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. Joe recently released an instructional book and DVD set called "Six Mallet Technique Diversified" for marimba, which is available via his official website. 

Local listeners can catch Joe and Joel playing with drummer Paul Pangle this Friday for "Keys, Mallets, and Sticks" in downtown Lethbridge at 12:15 PM MST as part of the First Friday at U of L concert series.

Look for Joe and Joel's debut release on Big Round Records in early 2015. In the meantime, check out their rendition of Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" on the YouTube player below.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Know What I Like

 The voice and lyrics of the indomitable Huey Lewis have been something of a guiding light for me all throughout my life.  I’m at the end of my first week as a full time employee at PARMA Recordings, and just as “The Power of Love” still finds itself applicable in my more romantic moments, I’m stuck defining my time with another of Huey’s hits.  I’m slowly making my way through PARMA’s expansive back catalog of contemporary music, and as I’m still becoming acquainted with the music, there are pieces which are grabbing my interest for no obvious reason.  Why did I pick these songs?  Well to put it simply, as Huey says in his song of the same name, “I Know What I Like.”

From the lush vocal performance and lyricism of Sophie Duner and the Callino Quartet on “Ugly Beautiful” to the ferocious solo contrabass performance on Ryan Jesperson’s “BA(da)SS,” this collection has only a modicum of everything PARMA has to offer.  I encourage you to take a look through the catalogs of any of our 3 in-house labels and pick something adventurous for yourself to listen to.  You never know what will get stuck in your head or strike you in a way that you never expected. 

Enjoy the music!

New PARMA Artist: Trio Céleste

Trio Céleste
PARMA is proud to welcome Orange County, CA based Trio Céleste to our talented roster of composers and musicians. The trio will be entering the highly acclaimed Soka Performing Arts Center next year with Grammy award-winning recording engineer Jesse Lewis to record what will become their debut release.

With a highly active performance schedule reaching into 2016, landmark performances of Beethoven's Triple Concerto, and residences at the Grand Canyon and California State University, Trio Céleste is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important chamber music ensembles in the country.

Winners of the prestigious Beverly Hills Auditions in Los Angeles, the ensemble has performed extensively throughout North America and Asia and has appeared in collaboration with principal members of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Afiara String Quartet. Highlights of their 2014 / 2015 season include national and international recital tours in Bangkok, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto.

Trio Céleste consists of pianist Kevin Kwan Loucks, violinist Iryna Krechkovsky, and cellist Ross Gasworth.  You can read more about the trio at www.trioceleste.com and keep an eye out for release information at www.parmarecordings.com.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New PARMA Artists: La Mandragore

We are pleased to welcome new PARMA Artists La Mandragore, a Montreal-based ensemble of musicians focusing on medieval and traditional repertoire. La Mandragore have signed on to release an album of Viking-inspired music with PARMA; here is their description of their album’s concept:

How many of us are aware that the Vikings not only explored as far afield as Iran and Newfoundland, colonized Iceland and Greenland, invaded England and Normandy, but also carried out commerce and trade in Russia and served as mercenaries in Constantinople? We decided to imagine the music these tireless voyagers would have notated had they had the time and leisure. A melting pot of cultures from the Orient to the West: Scandinavian folklore; songs in Icelandic, Swedish, Norwegian and Old Norse... and even in French; our Mediterranean instruments; and finally several instruments exclusive to Nordic lands, such as the nyckelharpa (the Swedish keyed fiddle), and the sackpipa (the Scandinavian bagpipe).”

La Mandragore's previous album Convivencia similarly featured the inspiring multi-cultural influences in medieval Andalusia, between Arab, Jewish and European civilizations. It was nominated as Best world music album in 2011 by Quebec Show-business Producers Association (ADISQ). Their concert also received the Opus Award as “Concert of the Year – World Music” from the Quebec Council for Music.

Avid live performers, La Mandragore have played a lot around Quebec and in many medieval festivals in France. They have not previously performed in the USA, but they are very interested in doing so in the future. Check out this video of their music, and be sure to look for their next release, MIDGARD, sometime in early 2015.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September Releases on Navona and Ravello Records

Various Artist

LUMINESCENCE brings to light six works for small and large orchestra, showcasing the inspired directions and composers of contemporary orchestral music. Marvin Schluger's Manhattan Suite for full orchestra is being released 14 years after its recording. New York, 2013 by Raymond Bokhour is another piece alluding to the Big Apple, as experienced by the composer that year. Serenade for Strings by Robert Burrell captures the musicality of Australian avian species while Daniel Burwasser's piece Catching Fireflies reflects the innocence and playfulness of childhood pastimes. David Kirtley contemplates the life and mystical journey of the Oglala Sioux holy man, Nicholas Black Elk, in Leaves falling from the Holy Tree. In the tone poem, Within a Dance, Rain Worthington evokes the intimacy of a first invitation to dance, and the continuing dance of love. Read More

88 + 12
Scott Pender

With a distinctly contemporary compositional signature that draws on minimalism and popular music of the late 20th century, and also recalls the 19th-century Romantic tradition, composer and pianist Scott Pender explores the expressive natures of four instruments - piano, violin, viola, and cello - on his debut solo release on Navona Records, 88+12. 

Pender presents three piano and string duos: Rhapsody, Elegy, and Finale for Violin and Piano is a study in contrasting mood and texture, featuring virtuosic writing for the violin, while the deeply lyrical Sonata for Cello and Piano is a work of sweeping dramatic gesture. Sonata for Viola and Piano, subtitled "From Old Notebooks," uses material that Pender sketched while living in London during the mid-1980s to create a work of rhythmic pulse and intensity. The string trio Veil of Ignorance, which takes its title from the writing of the 20th-century philosopher John Rawls, provides three differing approaches to the same thematic material. Read More

Carol Barnett

TREASURES FROM THE ARCHIVES, composer Carol Barnett's debut solo release on Navona Records, presents shining choral arrangements and originals from the composer's diverse catalog as interpreted by several choral groups, which gives the pieces an added tonal quality and presence. 

Many of the featured works were arranged by Barnett for the Minnesota-based Dale Warland Singers during her nearly decade-long residency with the group. Among these pieces are the spirituals My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Wonder Where, and By and By, as well as Children of the Heavenly Father, a recasting of an old Swedish folk song with added hymn text by Carolina Sandell Berg. Original works include Veni Sancte Spiritus, a setting of the traditional 12th-century text, written for the Gordon College Choir. Remember the Ladies and the arrangement of the Greek folk song Dance of Zálongo respectively celebrate the lively correspondence of Abigail Adams and the heroism of the women of Souli. Read More

Yves Ramette

THE GOLDEN GALAXY, Navona Record's fourth release of works by the late French composer Yves Ramette (1921-2012), presents works for organ, an instrument which Ramette found to be expressive, dynamic, and warm in color, especially after his position as organist at Église Saint Ferdinand de Ternes in Paris, where he played the church's now replaced Cavaillé-Coll organ. This album is particularly significant in the catalog of this prolific composer since it is the first to feature Ramette both as the composer and the performer. As are the compositions on Ramette's other Navona releases, CASCADING INTO REVERIE, WITH PASSION, and AT THE PRECIPICE, the works on this album illustrate the composer's "motivation for writing music [which] comes from a desire to express and communicate, to connect with the audience's deepest emotions" (American Record Guide). Read More

Trio Verlaine

As leading instrumentalists of their generation, the musicians of Trio Verlaine, David Harding (viola), Lorna McGhee (flute), and Heidi Krutzen (harp), offer spellbinding interpretations, and a kaleidoscopic range of colors in their debut Ravello Records release SIX DEPARTURES, including both old and newly commissioned works. This combination of instruments was first dreamt of by Debussy who provided the inspiration for future composers. Arnold Bax's evocative, nostalgic, and celtic-inspired Elegiac Trio (1916) provides the first point of departure. André Jolivet's Petite Suite (1941) furthers the magical sound world, and is at once modern and primitive. Jeffery Cotton's Six Departures, written specifically for Trio Verlaine, incorporates the baroque passacaglia form as well as jazz influences and German expressionism. R. Murray Schafer's Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp, commissioned by Trio Verlaine, provides a wildly colorful and theatrical element, with a hymn-like, sacred slow movement and a fin-de-siècle yearning. With this album, the highly imaginative Trio Verlaine reflects back through the 20th century and beyond, while embracing the future with open arms. Read More