“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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Cuckson, McMillen Get “Expressionistic”

Ultra-eclectic new music blog Burning Ambulance raves about the newest CD from Miranda Cuckson and Blair McMillen:

Carter Sessions Eckardt, the new disc of American music for violin and piano or solo violin by Miranda Cuckson (with pianist Blair McMillen) should go a long way towards providing a corrective to [the] misunderstanding [of what “American Expressionism”  is]. … The highly charged phrases and structure of [Elliott Carter’s Duo] are clearly characterized by Ms. Cuckson and Mr. McMillen in a performance of power and charm. … I’ve heard some other pieces by Jason Eckardt, and I think he’s a composer worth keeping an eye on. … The real revelation of this disc (the high level of playing is not a revelation, because I’ve heard Cuckson and McMillen before, and they are always this good) is Roger Sessions‘ magisterial Sonata for Solo Violin, composed in 1953. … Cuckson’s performance is direct, authoritative, and probing. In her extremely well-written and informative notes, she tells us that it was this piece, along with the Carter Duo, that set her on her artistic path. We can all be grateful that she is following the path with such grace and artistry.

Read the full review here.


Elliott Carter: Duo for violin and piano (1973) [21:56]
Roger Sessions: Sonata 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 Eckardt: Strömkarl [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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* mp3-MAX uses mEyeFi Media’s cutting-edge variable bitrate .mp3 encoding, optimized for maximum fidelity and transparency

Available in Europe and Asia in May 2013

Miranda Cuckson and Blair McMillen Play Music of Carter, Sessions, and Eckardt

Urlicht’s newest release is a tour-de-force of modern American masterpieces for violin-piano duo and solo violin, including the  world premiere release  of Jason Eckardt‘s daunting “Strömkarl” for violin and piano – commissioned for this release – played by two of today’s most in-demand champions of new music, violinist Miranda Cuckson and pianist Blair McMillen.

Of “Strömkarl”, Miranda says:

Jason Eckardt is an artist whose music impresses with its combination of intellectual thoroughness, vigorous physicality and spontaneous volatility. His enthusiasm for complexities and his sincere assimilation of a variety of musical genres have given his music an individual and distinctly American cast. Collaborating with him and with Blair McMillen on his piece Strömkarl was a memorable experience, and I am delighted to add it to this strong chain, linking works of the past few decades to those of the present.

The recording includes Elliott Carter‘s Duo for violin and piano, and Roger SessionsSonata for violin solo.


Elliott Carter: Duo for violin and piano (1973) [21:56]
Roger Sessions: Sonata 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 Eckardt: Strömkarl [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

CD release date: March 4, 2014
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Download Apple Lossless CD-quality album from Payloadz.com ($9.99)
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* mp3-MAX uses mEyeFi Media’s cutting-edge variable bitrate .mp3 encoding, optimized for maximum fidelity and transparency

Available in Europe and Asia in May 2013