Violin Declamations from the Twilight of the Workers’ Paradise – Elmira Darvarova

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An empire in collapse. A daring escapee.
A deeply personal program of music from a time of turmoil — and hope.

Violinist Elmira Darvarova was communist Bulgaria’s worst-kept artistic secret. News of the young virtuoso’s talent had circulated in the West during the 1970s — even coming to the attention of Jascha Heifetz. An artistic collaboration with legendary cellist János Starker led to her daring escape from Bulgaria. She emigrated to the United States, where she eventually became the concertmaster of the MET Orchestra and founder of the New York Chamber Music Festival. Darvarova has extensively recorded both classical and world music, championing scandalously underexposed works by such composers as David Amram, Amanda Maier, Franco Alfano, and Joseph Marx.

Violin Declamations from the Twilight of the Workers’ Paradise is her most personal recording to date — a program of solo violin works from the waning years of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union by composers, including several that had been denounced as dissidents in their own countries, whose music was exposing the cracks in the “glorious workers’ revolution” — but also expressing glimmers of hope. The program includes four world premiere recordings. Darvarova also includes a detailed essay on the music and a first-hand account of artistic life behind the Iron Curtain.

Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978): Sonata-Monologue for solo violin (1975)
Sylvie Bodorova (b.1954):Dža More – Gypsy Ballad (1990)
Grigory Zaborov (1935-1985): Improvisation (1978)
Afrodita Kathmeridou (b. 1956): Two Miniatures for solo violin (1978) — World Premiere Recording
Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998): Praeludium in memoriam D. Shostakovich (1975)
Dmitri Smirnov (b. 1948): Two Fugues for solo violin, Op. 6 (1970)
Nikolai Badinski (b. 1937): Dialoghi per violino solo (1973) — World Premiere Recording
Elena Firsova (b. 1950): Fantasia for solo violin, Op. 32 (1985) — World Premiere Recording
Konstantin Soukhovetski (b. 1981): Postcard from the Edge (1990) — World Premiere Recording

Recorded on June 16 and 17, 2013 at Edith Chapel, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Recording Engineers: John C. Baker and Samuel Ward
Edited by John C. Baker
Mastered by Gene Gaudette
Produced by Elmira Darvarova and Gene Gaudette

Visit Elmira Darvarova’s Web site and Facebook page
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Urlicht AudioVisual UAV-5984 (783583260442)

Digital release date: Nov. 27, 2017

CD available in January 2018

“Songs for Mahler in the Absence of Words”

When I heard this program presented during the 2011 New York Chamber Music Festival, in honor of the centenary of Gustav Mahler‘s death, I knew it had to be recorded. The New York Piano Quartet brought the sort of urgency to Mahler’s earliest surviving work, the opening movement of what was to be a longer Quartet for Piano and Strings, that has eluded every other performance and recording of this work that I have heard. Three distinctly different realizations of Mahler’s sketches for what was to be the quartet’s second movement are also featured — a completion in the grand romantic style by Enguerrand-Friedrich Luhl, the angular, almost expressionist movement by Soviet master Alfred Schnittke, and Gernot Wolfgang‘s jazz-infused From Vienna With Love. The program also includes works commissioned for the concert in remarkably divergent styles by Wang Jie, Cristina Spinei, Barney Johnson, Noel Zahler, Patricia Leonard, and Nicolas Prada. The players and I have dedicated this recording to author and critic Norman Lebrecht, an indefatigable champion of Mahler’s music.

— Gene Gaudette, Managing Partner, Urlicht AudioVisual

Songs for Mahler in the Absence of Words

Gustav Mahler: Piano Quartet
Enguerrard Friedrich Luhl: Scherzo
Gernot Wolfgang: From Vienna with Love
Christina Spinei: Mahler Remixed
Barney Johnson: Mahler 99
Wang Jie: Songs for Mahler in the Absence of Words
Noel Zahler: Le miroir de l’ombre
Patricia Leonard: Strangely Close, Yet Distant
Alfred Schnittke: Piano Quartet
Nicolas Prada: Reflections on Mahler

New York Piano Quartet
Elmira Darvarova, violin / Ronald Carbone, viola / Samuel Magill, cello / Linda Hall, piano

Produced by Gene Gaudette
Engineered by John C. Baker
Recorded March 2012, Lawrenceville School Chapel, Lawrenceville, NJ

Urlicht AudioVisual UAV-5998

CD Release Date: September 25, 2012