Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Eternal Evolution: Music of Judith Lang Zaimont'; Harlem Quartet & Pianist Awadagin Pratt; Navona Records

[Eternal Evolution: Music of Judith Lang Zaimont; Harlem Quartet; Awadagin Pratt, pianist; Navona Records NV5846 (2011)]

The new CD Eternal Evolution: Music of Judith Lang Zaimont is the work of an exciting and influential contemporary composer of classical music. The performers, pianist Awadagin Pratt and the Harlem Quartet of the Sphinx Organization, are inspired interpreters of music of the past and present. Awadagin Pratt has a new CD on Telarc which pairs him with cellist Zuill Bailey, Johannes Brahms, Works for Cello and Piano. An earlier EMI disc of Awadagin Pratt, being released again next month, is: Awadagin Pratt: Beethoven Piano Sonatas 7, 9, 30 & 31.

Music critics have consistently lauded the fresh and masterful interpretations given to classical repertoire by the Harlem Quartet. White Pine Music, the innovative label of Central Michigan University, says of the ensemble's first CD, Take the 'A' Train: “The recording features the works of Wynton Marsalis, Billy Strayhorn, Joaquín Turina, and Guido Lópes-Gavilán. The Harlem Quartet, comprised of First Place Laureates of the Sphinx Competition, seeks to advance diversity in classical music while engaging young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire, highlighting works by minority composers. The project was created through the partnership of White Pine Music with the Sphinx Organization.”

The recording opens with STRING QUARTET, The Figure, whose two movements are: I. In Shadow, II. In Bright Light. Next on the program is ZONES – Piano Trio No. 2. Its movements are: I. Cold II. Warm, III. Temperate. The third work is ASTRAL ... a mirror life on the astral plane... The program concludes with SERENADE.

Dr. Chris Foley of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto writes the blog Collaborative Piano. He has posted this enthusiastic comment on Serenade (5:16):

Monday, May 23, 2011
“Judith Lang Zaimont Plays Her Serenade for Piano
What a truly lovely work. You can find the score here, and it is worth noting that Awadagin Pratt and members of the Harlem Quartet have just recorded a piano trio version on their Eternal Evolution CD. writes of the composer:
"Judith Lang Zaimont is an internationally-recognized composer with an impressive catalogue of some 100 works, many of which are prize-winning compositions. Her many composition awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship (1983-84); Maryland State Arts Council creative fellowship (1986-87); and commission grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1982) and Minnesota Composers Forum (1993).

"Her orchestral music has been repeatedly recognized through prizes and her works are frequently played in the United States (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center) and abroad; they are published (Galaxy/ ECS, Peters, Broude, Sounds Alive!, Vivace, Walton) and recorded (Arabesque, Leonarda, Northeastern). Her music is the subject of nine doctoral dissertations, and several of her works serve as repertoire for performance competitions."

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