Tuesday, June 9, 2009

'Ellington & The Modern Masters' (1999) Still Available from Detroit Symphony Orchestra

[Ellington & The Modern Masters; Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Neeme Järvi and Leslie B. Dunner, conductors; Ursula Oppens, piano; DSO-1003 (1999)]

Ellington & The Modern Masters was issued in 1999, “Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the DSO UNISYS African-American Composers Residency”. We contacted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and asked if the CD was still available. The Retail Sales Manager, Paul Yee, replied in an email: “The CD retails for $12.99 and we have plenty on hand. If you like, I can take your order over the phone and mail a copy to you. We accept all major credit cards for payment.” Mr. Yee's email address is
pyee@dso.org and his phone number is 313-576-5115.

Olly Wilson (b. 1937) was Unisys Composer-in-Residence for 1997-98. His work on the CD is Shango Memory (8:33). Michael Fleming says in the liner notes, “The composer provided the following note for the world premiere of Shango Memory, performed on February 5, 1995, by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Neeme Järvi: 'Shango Memory is inspired by the Yoruban deity Shango, the god of thunder and lightning...'” Anthony Davis (b. 1951) was Unisys Composer-in-Residence for 1995-96 and composed Notes From the Underground (9:11). He says in the liner notes that the work was commissioned by the American Composer's Orchestra and Francis Goelet, and was composed in 1988. Davis elaborates: “The work premiered in April of that year at Carnegie Hall, and is dedicated to Ralph Ellison (1913-94), the author of the landmark novel Invisible Man.”

Jonathan Holland (b. 1974) was Unisys Protégé Composer for 1995-96. Michael Fleming writes that Fanfares & Flourishes on An Ostinato (3:44) was commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Neeme Järvi in cooperation with the 1995 Unisys African-American Composers Residency. He adds that Martha's Waltz (5:20) was inspired by the two couples dancing at the start of Act II of the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, by Edward Albee.

Alvin Singleton (b. 1940), Unisys Composer-in-Residence for 1996-97, wrote BluesKonzert (14:37). In the liner notes, Michael Fleming says: “Alvin Singleton's BluesKonzert was a triple commission by the Detroit, Houston and Kansas City symphony orchestras, made possible by a grant from the Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.” The piano soloist is Ursula Oppens, while the conductor is Leslie B. Dunner, of whom the liner notes say: “Between 1988 and 1998, Dr. Leslie B. Dunner held the posts of assistant, associate and resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.” Michael Fleming and Tiffany Dziurman Stozicki provide an overview of the many compositions of Duke Ellington (1899-1974), whose work on the recording is Three Black Kings (17:55). Its movements are: I. King of Magi, II. King Solomon, and III. Martin Luther King.

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