Miranda Cuckson’s Invisible Colors – Available Now!

Miranda Cuckson has emerged in recent years as America’s leading exponent of new music for the violin.

Invisible Colors, her fourth recordings for Urlicht AudioVisual, features five virtuoso works for solo violin by three highly individualistic composers.

American master Elliott Carter‘s Four Lauds are portraits in music; in the composer’s own words, the works “intend to express gratitude to some of the musicians whose friendship has meant so much to me: Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, Goffredo Petrassi, Robert Mann, Ole Bøhn and Rolf Schulte.”

Carter himself commemorated Stefan Wolpe upon his death in 1972 with these words: “Comet-like radiance, conviction, fervent intensity, penetrating thought on many levels of seriousness and humor, combined with breathtaking adventurousness and originality, marked the inner and outer life of Stefan Wolpe, as they do his compositions.” Miranda plays Wolpe’s complete unaccompanied violin music –  the Piece in Two Parts for Violin Solo and Second Piece for Violin Solo – on this recording.

Brian Ferneyhough is a founding father of what has come to be called the “New Complexity” – a style integrating extended techniques with elaborate and intricate pitch and polyrhythmic notation. The two works included in this recording, Unsichtbare Farben and Intermedio alla ciaccona, are among the most daunting and challenging works in the solo violin repertoire.

Miranda co-produced the recording with Urlicht AudioVisual’s founding director Gene Gaudette. The recording was made in the performance space of National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY,, one of the world’s leading venues for new music, jazz, and contemporary performance, and was recorded during April 2016 by audiophile engineer Sascha von Oertzen.

Invisible Colors is available March 31, 2017 in lossless download format (including high-definition FLAC and Apple Lossless packages with complete liner notes in .pdf format) exclusively from meyefi.com through May 15.

The CD will be officially released on April 5, 2017 through a limited number of outlets, and in general release in the US on May 26, 2017.

‘melting the darkness’

Now Available Directly From Urlicht AudioVisual

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This album ventures into regions of the art of violin-playing the significance of which is now becoming clear. Devoted entirely to microtonal compositions for violin and pieces for violin with electronics, this CD explores works of seven composers who have been challenged by these areas of discovery to create intriguingly fresh and surprising sound worlds.

Since turning much attention in recent years to the music being written in my own time, I have found it fascinating to explore certain areas of experimentation that have taken my instrument beyond the familiar glories of its heritage. One of these is the use of microtonality- a system of intervals involving distances smaller than the half-step (the keys on a piano). I have been intrigued by both the physical aspects of working with such intervals, and the idiosyncratic ways in which composers use such intervals for their own expressive aims. Another interest has been noise- that is, non-pitched sounds, often percussive or abrasive, produced by unusual techniques on the instrument. A third area I’ve been eager to explore has been music involving electronics. Since electronic music’s beginnings, using spliced reel-to-reel tapes decades ago, the possibilities of the technology have exploded so that there are numerous ways in which to create or generate sounds and to interact, as a live performer, with them. This has led to a palette of sound possibilities and a degree of agility of response often not offered by traditional instruments.

— Miranda Cuckson

Miranda Cuckson is the leading exponent of new music for the violin on this side of the Atlantic, and is beginning to make waves as well in Europe. Her two previous recordings for Urlicht AudioVisual, featuring some of the most demanding modern-era works for violin by Luigi Nono, Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, and Jason Eckardt, have met with unanimous critical acclaim from the music press.

Miranda herself selected the repertoire and produced “melting the darkness“, assembling a program of solo microtonal violin works and music for solo violin with electronics microtonal that showcases a wide range of styles and moods. The program begins with Xenakis‘ revolutionary Mikka S, a daunting microtonal masterpiece “duo” for solo violin, and the world premiere recording of Georg Friedrich Haas‘s “de terrae fine” in the version for solo violin. Five world premiere recordings round out the program: Oscar Bianchi‘s “Semplice“, Christopher Burns‘ “Come Ricordi Come Sogni Come Echi“, Alexander Sigman‘s “Vurtruvurt“, Ileana Perez-Velasquez‘s “un ser con unas alas enormes“, and Robert Rowe‘s “Melting the Darkness“. Recorded and mixed by her frequent artistic collaborator and electronic music wizard Richard Warp, each work is framed in a unique acoustic environment that brings each work into vivid relief.


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melting the darkness

Iannis Xenakis: Mikka S
Georg Friedrich Haas: de terrae fine
Oscar Bianchi: Semplice
Christopher Burns: Come Ricordi Come Sogni Come Echi
Alexander Sigman: VURTRUVURT
Ileana Perez-Velasquez: un ser con unas alas enormes
Robert Rowe: Melting the Darkness

Miranda Cuckson, violin

Produced by Miranda Cuckson
Engineered by Paul Geluso
Mixed and edited by Richard Warp
Recorded at James L. Dolan Recording Studio, New York University, New York City, 2011-2013

Urlicht AudioVisual UAV-CD-5998

CD release date: November 4, 2014
Blu-Ray Audio release in January 2015

“rigor and grace, violence and gentleness…”


Christian Carey
 reviews the newest CD from Miranda Cuckson and Blair McMillen:

Violinist Miranda Cuckson and pianist Blair McMillen have already proven themselves an estimable duo for works by American Modernists such as Shapey and Martino. Their latest outing features Elliott Carter’s Duo for Violin and Piano (1973)… a rendition that juxtaposes rigor and grace, violence and gentleness… Clocking in at over thirty minutes, [the Sessions Sonata for solo violin] is a bear of a piece, demanding both virtuosity and considerable thoughtfulness from the violinist to bring it off: Cuckson has both in spades. … [Eckardt’s Styrömkarl] is vividly characterful and a real workout for the performers; one they assay handily.


Elliott CarterDuo for violin and piano (1973) [21:56]
Roger SessionsSonata for solo violin (1953)
1. Tempo moderato, con ampiezza, e liberamente [10:53]
2. Molto vivo [6:57]
3. Adagio e dolcemente [10:22]
4. Alla Marcia vivace[4:53]
Jason EckardtStrömkarl [12:51]

Miranda Cuckson, violin
Blair McMillen, piano

Produced by Gene Gaudette
Engineered and edited by Ryan Streber, Oktaven Audio

CD Edition: Urlicht AudioVisual UAV-5989
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Audiophile Audition Praises Cuckson and Burns

 

Miranda Cuckson and Chris Burns garner a five-star review for their recording of Luigi Nono’s La lontananza from the Internet’s number one audiophile review site:

Just before she plays, Cuckson enters from the back of the stage, then pauses at each of six (out of nine) music stands to play from 7-12 minutes, and then moves along to the next, soundlessly, on bare feet. How does one reproduce such shifting dynamics on a CD? Simple. Issue the work on a five-channel surround-sound Blu-ray disc as well. With impressive and extreme dynamic range, the Blu-ray has little trouble presenting the full pallet of tones from the various channels.


Luigi Nono: La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura (1988-89)
Miranda Cuckson, violin / Christopher Burns, electronics

Produced by Christopher Burns and Richard Warp
Recording engineer: Richard Warp
Recorded at A Bloody Good Record Inc, Long Island City NY
Mixing engineer (stereo CD): Richard Warp
Mixing engineers (DTS 5.1 surround mix): Paul Special and Richard Warp
Assistant mixing engineer (DTS 5.1 surround mix): Dillon Pajunas
DTS 5.1 surround mix produced at Sonic Arts Center, CCNY, NYC
Produced for New Spectrum Recordings, NYC
Executive producer: Glenn Cornett

Urlicht AudioVisual UAD-5992

CD plus Blu-Ray Audio for home theater systems — available at Amazon.com.
CD plus DTS-CD for home theater systems — available here.
Lossless FLAC download — available here.
MP3 download — available here.

Miranda Cuckson Plays Luigi Nono: La lontananza

Luigi Nono‘s penultimate work was conceived as an immersive experience for listeners: a solo violinist accompanied by electronically transformed violin sounds emanating from speakers around the audience.

For the first time, Nono’s La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura is being released in a way that allows the home listener to experience the work as the composer intended, with violinist Miranda Cuckson accompanied by Luigi Nono’s original eight-channel tape, restored and mixed by Christopher Burns in high-definition 5.1 surround sound on Blu-Ray Audio disc, and in a stereophonic mix on compact disc.

Luigi Nono: La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura (1988-89)
Miranda Cuckson, violin / Christopher Burns, electronics

Produced by Christopher Burns and Richard Warp
Recording engineer: Richard Warp
Recorded at A Bloody Good Record Inc, Long Island City NY
Mixing engineer (stereo CD): Richard Warp
Mixing engineers (DTS 5.1 surround mix): Paul Special and Richard Warp
Assistant mixing engineer (DTS 5.1 surround mix): Dillon Pajunas
DTS 5.1 surround mix produced at Sonic Arts Center, CCNY, NYC
Produced for New Spectrum Recordings, NYC
Executive producer: Glenn Cornett

Urlicht AudioVisual UAD-5992-BR

Audio Blu-Ray + CD release date: February 12, 2013

 

One of “The Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012” (New York Times)

The New York Times praises the new recording of Luigi Nono’s La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura with violinist Miranda Cuckson and electronica master Richard Burns as “One of the Year’s Best New Classical Recordings”:

“Played with assured mystery by the accomplished Miranda Cuckson, Luigi Nono‘s 1988-89 work swerves from ethereal to violent and back again. The violinist interacts with previously taped material, including both her own playing and studio sounds, and wanders during a live performance, a spatial element captured in the surround-sound version on one of the discs in this set. At times Ms. Cuckson even sings, hauntingly — a part of the score seemingly ignored by previous interpreters.”
Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

Luigi Nono: La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura (1988-89)
Miranda Cuckson, violin / Christopher Burns, electronics

Produced by Christopher Burns and Richard Warp
Recording engineer: Richard Warp
Recorded at A Bloody Good Record Inc, Long Island City NY
Mixing engineer (stereo CD): Richard Warp
Mixing engineers (DTS 5.1 surround mix): Paul Special and Richard Warp
Assistant mixing engineer (DTS 5.1 surround mix): Dillon Pajunas
DTS 5.1 surround mix produced at Sonic Arts Center, CCNY, NYC
Produced for New Spectrum Recordings, NYC
Executive producer: Glenn Cornett

Urlicht AudioVisual UAD-5992

CD plus Blu-Ray Audio for home theater systems — available at Amazon.com.

CD plus DTS-CD for home theater systems — available here.

Lossless FLAC download — available here.

MP3 download — available here.