‘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

Poulenc | Pascal Rogé et ses amis

Pascal Rogé is today’s unrivaled master of French piano music. With a legacy of recordings spanning nearly four decades, many acknowledged as benchmarks, Rogé is one of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling pianists of all time.

Poulenc has figured in Pascal Rogé’s repertoire since his earliest years. His desire to revisit the chamber music of Poulenc has led to this unique collaboration with friends from the New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, MET Orchestra, and Orchestre National de France, along with his wife Ami Rogé. This cross-continental collaboration — recorded at the church in Paris where his mother was organist and at the acoustically superb Lawrenceville School chapel — brings together four of Poulenc’s sonatas for solo instruments and piano along with other chamber works. Audiophile engineers George Vasiliev and John C. Baker capture these performances in state-of-the-art sound, setting a new standard in this highly listenable and frequently played recital repertoire.

Poulenc | Pascal Rogé et ses amis

Sonata for flute and piano (1956) — Michel Moraguès, principal flute, Orchestre National de France
Sonata for oboe and piano (1962) — Liang Wang, principal oboe, New York Philharmonic
Élégie for horn and piano (1957) in memory of Dennis Brain — Howard Wall, horn, New York Philharmonic
Sonata for clarinet and piano (1962) — Pascal Moraguès, 2ème principal clarinet, Orchestre de Paris
Sonata for Piano Four Hands (1918, rev. 1939) — Ami Rogé, piano
Sonata for violin and piano (1942-3 rev. 1949) to the memory of Federico Garcia Lorca / Bagatelle for violin and piano (1932) — Elmira Darvarova, past concertmaster, MET Orchestra

Pascal Rogé, piano

Recorded 2013 in Paris and Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Engineered by George Vassilev and John C. Baker
Edited by George Vassilev and Gene Gaudette
Produced by Gene Gaudette

Urlicht AudioVisual UAV-5986

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Distributed in the US and Canada by Entertainment One
Distributed in the Europe and Asia by Also Distribution and its affiliates.

Octavio Brunetti 1975–2014

10413433_10204725545843939_2716420471224153886_nUrlicht AudioVisual is deeply saddened to learn of the death of pianist Octavio Brunetti, considered the leading tango pianist and arranger of his generation, at age 39, following a long hospitalization for an unexpected infectious illness.

The label was honored to record Octavio, a Grammy®-winning artist, last year with violinist Elmira Darvarova in a program of his original arrangements of music by Ástor Piazzolla, desde ESTUDIOS a TANGOS. The recording will be released on September 2.

Piazzolla – desde Estudios a Tangos

Over the last two decades, Ástor Piazzolla (1921-1992) has emerged as one of the twentieth century’s most popular composers. Piazzolla revitalized and reinvented Argentina’s tango, taking it from the dance floor onto the world’s concert stages and transforming it into tango nuevo (`new tango`). One of the most prolific composers ever, Piazzolla wrote over 3000 works and performed extensively around the globe, collaborating with musicians ranging from jazz god Dizzy Gillespie to legendary cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

Octavio Brunetti has been called `the inheritor of [Ástor] Piazzolla’s mantle` and today’s most prominent pianistic interpreter and arranger of Argentinian tango. `PIAZZOLLA — desde ESTUDIOS a TANGOS` teams Brunetti with violinist Elmira Darvarova — the first woman concertmaster of the MET Orchestra — in their second CD collaboration.

Included is the world premiere recording of Piazzolla’s six solo `Etudes tanguistiques` in new versions for violin accompanied by piano by Octavio Brunetti, along with his new, atmospheric and colorful arrangements of six of Piazzolla’s most popular tangos. The popularity of Piazzolla’s music continues to increase with each passing year, and this new release will bring the tuneful, dramatic Etudes Tanguistiques, previously seen as `serious` virtuoso solo studies, to a far broader audience.

desde Estusios a Tangos

Ástor Piazzolla
6 Études tanguistiquesIntroducción al ÁngelNight Club 1960Milonga del ÁngelVardaritoResurreccion del ÁngelRevolucionario

Elmira Darvarova, violin
Octavio Brunetti, piano

Recorded January 19, 2013 at Gill Chapel, Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ
Engineered and edited by John C. Baker
Produced by Gene Gaudette

Urlicht AudioVisual UAV-CD-5991

CD release date: September 9, 2014

Baltimore Sun: “Indispensable to Serious Mahler fans”

The Baltimore Sun‘s Tim Smith celebrates Gustav Mahler’s birthday by going “old school” with Urlicht AudioVisual’s acclaimed complete edition of issued prewar 78s:

“Mahler will always be a big deal to me, which means I never tire of learning more about him and hearing more interpretations of his work. And that is why I want to make sure you know about a collection from Urlicht AudioVisual — ‘The Music of Gustav Mahler: Issued 78s, 1903-1940′.

“This set of eight compact discs is indispensable to serious Mahler fans. Of course, the most serious will already have the Bruno Walter-conducted items and may have tracked down a lot of the more obscure material already. But a lot of us will find many a fresh treasure — or curio (the Fourth Symphony recorded by a Tokyo orchestra in 1930, for example).

“And, besides, it’s great to have everything gathered together in a neat package, all sensitively transferred (by Ward Marston, Mark Obert-Thorn and Charles Martin), with highly detailed and illuminating notes by Sybille Werner and the set’s producer Gene Gaudette. …

“There are marvels of interpretive nuance that emerge throughout the set, despite dated sound and some less-than-stellar orchestral playing here and there. Today’s performers could learn an awful lot from studying this music-making.

Now available in the US and most European and Asian territories.

  • The most comprehensive collection ever assembled of Mahler’s music as issued on 78s between 1903 and 1940 — every such recording listed in Péter Fülöp’s Mahler Discography
  • New transfers by Ward Marston and Mark Obert-Thorn
  • Detailed notes on the music, the recording artists, and revelatory information about performances of Mahler’s music prior to World War II by Sybille Werner
  • Full texts and translations
  • Super-value price

No longer available, limited to an edition of 1000 copies
Continue reading Baltimore Sun: “Indispensable to Serious Mahler fans”

“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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The Chamber Music of David Amram

“David Amram is arguably the most American of American composers. His music has drawn from a diversity of sources and styles: the American ‘classical’ style, theater and film music, the ‘great American songbook’, folk, jazz, blues, native American melodies and instruments, beat poetry, and many other influences. His music reflects America’s virtues of innovation, independence, and multiculturalism. And it’s a blast to listen to!”

– Gene Gaudette, Urlicht AudioVisual

David Amram — composer, conductor, multi-instrumental virtuoso, and author — is one of the most versatile, acclaimed, and truly unpredictable musicians America has produced. His surprising litany of achievements include the world’s record for number of performances of the Brahms Horn Trio (during his military service in the 1950s), musical collaborations with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg, numerous film scores including his acclaimed music for “The Manchurian Candidate”, pioneering work in promoting native American and world music, advocacy for music education and youth music programs, and a tour of Cuba in 1977 with Stan Getz and Earl “Fatha” Hines (the first visit by American musicians since the trade embargo of 1962). In 2012, the New York Chamber Music Festival presented an evening of Amram’s chamber music performed by acclaimed flutist Carol Wincenc, violin virtuoso Elmira Darvarova, New York Philharmonic hornist Howard Wall, the Face the Music Ensemble, the New York Piano Quartet, and the David Amram Quartet.


Program:

Sonata for Violin and Piano
Elmira Darvarova, violin • Tomoko Kanamaru, piano

Theme and Variations on “Red River Valley” for flute and strings
Carol Wincenc, flute • Face the Music Ensemble

Giants of the Night: A Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (version for flute and piano) – Andante
Carol Wincenc
, flute • Hsin-Chiao Liao, piano

Portraits for piano quartet
New York Piano Quartet with guest cellist Wendy Sutter

Blues and Variations for Monk for French horn
Howard Wall, horn

Five Readings from Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” for narrator(s) and jazz quartet
Ekayani ChamberlinAdira AmramDouglas Yeager, narrators • The David Amram Quartet

All works published by C.F. Peters Corporation

Recorded live September 7th, 2012 at Symphony Space, New York City

Engineered by Gene Gaudette and Howard Wall • Produced by Gene Gaudette

Total Playing Time 79:57

UAV-CD-5987

CD retail release date: July 22, 2014

Available NOW exclusively from Urlicht AudioVisual

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New York Times Praises Cuckson and McMillen’s New Urlicht CD

High praise from the newspaper of record:

The violinist Miranda Cuckson and the pianist Blair McMillen, who are individually brilliant and adventurous artists, bring out the best in each other in their frequent collaborations, including their latest recording of contemporary works. Their incisive, animated playing cuts through the density and complexity of Carter’s Duo for Violin and Piano to reveal the music’s wit and fancifulness. Jason Eckardt wrote his glistening, jittery and playfully frenetic “Strömkarl” last year as a companion piece for this recording. Ms. Cuckson is outstanding in Sessions’s magisterial, technically challenging Sonata for Solo Violin (1953).  — Anthony Tommasini


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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Available in Europe and Asia in May 2013

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.

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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Download Apple Lossless HD album from Payloadz.com ($10.99)
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Download Apple Lossless CD-quality album from Payloadz.com ($9.99)
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Download mp3-MAX* album from Payloadz.com ($9.99)
* 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