On the Record rounds up details about new and pending recordings of interest to the new-music community: contemporary classical music and jazz, electronic and electroacoustic music, and idioms for which no clever genre name has been coined, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, digital-only formats… you name it.
This list of upcoming release dates is culled from press releases, Amazon and other online record stores, social-media posts, and similar resources. Dates cited correspond to U.S. release of physical recordings where applicable, and are subject to change. (Links to Amazon, where used, do not imply endorsement.)
These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Album of the week
Sarah Bob …nobody move…: Commissions and Premieres for the New Gallery Concert Series Compositions by Randall Woolf, Jonathan Bailey Holland, David Rakowski, Curtis K. Hughes, Lee Hyla, and Shaw Pong Liu Avie; CD, DL
Every city has at least one. Everybody knows at least one. They’re the dynamic players who bring your hometown scene to life and make it what it is—and you’re just certain that if everyone everywhere knew about them, they’d be world-famous.
World, meet Sarah Bob. Although she’s originally from Teaneck, NJ, for as long as anyone really cares to remember she’s been That Player in Boston. The one who not only advocates for new music, but also makes it happen. The one who plays the local composers not only because they’re local, but because they’re damn well worth playing.
Bob’s a busy, busy collaborator in Boston, working in key combos like Radius Ensemble and Firebird Ensemble – she was a founding member of both, BTW – and, farther afield, with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Ludovico Ensemble, and more I’m surely forgetting. She’s the founder of the New Gallery Concert Series, a hardy and supremely necessary Boston institution that focuses on newly made music and visual art. The series will kick off its 20th (!) season on Nov. 7 at Longy School of Music at Bard College, in Cambridge, where Bob is visiting faculty. And she’s also a founder of the Nasty Cooperative, an all-volunteer activist organization that regularly puts on cause-oriented conversations and fund-raising events.
Somehow, Bob also has found the time to participate in a healthy number of excellent recordings, a partial list of which includes Lee Hyla on Tzadik, Eric Moe and David Rakowski on BMOP/Sound, and Elena Ruehr on Albany and Avie. That last-mentioned record, Lift, a terrific 2015 sampling of Ruehr’s appealing chamber music disc, presumably paved the way for …nobody move…, Bob’s second solo album and the first that really shows off her range as a player and as an advocate.
Like the subtitle says, this impressive new album compiles key pieces Bob commissioned for the New Gallery Concert Series, along with her own deft extraction and arrangement of dizzying solo passages from My Life on the Plains, a 2010 chamber piece by Lee Hyla. Seeing as how Hyla – a composer long active and much loved in Boston – wrote the original piece to challenge the members of Firebird Ensemble, this, too, registers as music made expressly for Bob.
Unsurprisingly, even as she demonstrates her own prowess, Bob continues to celebrate the Boston composers with whom she’s worked so closely. Sure, there’s a ringer right up front: Randall Woolf, whose kinetic, hurtling …nobody move… lent the disc its name, is a New Yorker. (If you simply must have a Boston connection, you’ve got Woolf’s Harvard Ph.D., his studies with Joe Maneri, and his teaching at the New England Conservatory preparatory division to choose from, it turns out.)
The remaining cast, though, is solidly and proudly Bostonian. Jonathan Bailey Holland, whose The Intimacy of Harmony moves from cloudy ambiguity through melancholy ruminations to boldly struck proclamations, is chairman of the composition department at what’s now called Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Curtis K. Hughes, also on that school’s faculty, is represented by the unpredictable miniatures of his Suite No. 1 from “Vestibulations for Solo Piano,” and the more sustained tumult of his Avoidance Tactics No. 1, a quirky, visceral piece for live piano and recorded electronics.
David Rakowski, a composer of bracing originality and idiosyncrasy – and a Brandeis University faculty member – is well known for piano music of unusual richness and freshness, thanks in large part to the collections of his Études the pianist Amy Dissanayake recorded for the Bridge label some years ago. Here, Bob offers three of Rakowski’s equally characterful Préludes: the playfully swinging Mind the Gap, ethereal Wayo, and fidgety, obsessive Ghepardo. (Would a more complete survey of these works be too much to hope for?)
After the Hyla tour de force, Bob closes her album with Never Has Been Yet, a Langston Hughes setting for vocalizing pianist by Shaw Pong Liu. The composer – a violinist, erhu player, and multidisciplinary performer – is, like Bob, a community organizer and social activist. When the pianist first sings “Let America be America again,” you know instantly how timely this source material remains. Liu assigns the last five lines of Hughes’s poem to the audience (an effect replicated in the studio here), turning a personal declaration into a public call to action.
Notably, a piece that easily might have amounted to tuneful sloganeering provides something more stirring, thanks to Liu’s attentive setting and Bob’s considered delivery. On an album devoted to varying modes of artistry and advocacy, it’s a final flourish rendered unambiguously and emphatically.
Sarah Bob—she’s a superstar. Spread the word.
Sarah Bob opens the 20th season of the New Gallery Concert Series at Longy School of Music at Bard College on Nov. 7 at 7:30pm, and then repeats a David Rakowski world premiere from that program, also featuring pianists Donald Berman, Geoffrey Burleson, and Marilyn Nonken, at Frederick Loewe Theater, New York University, on Nov. 26 at 8pm; newgalleryconcertseries.org. …nobody move… is available now; avie-records.com.
New This Week
Timo Andres – Work Songs – performances by Becca Stevens, Gabriel Kahane, Ted Hearne, Nathan Koci, and Taylor Levine (New Amsterdam)
Sarah Bob – …nobody move…: Commissions and Premieres for the New Gallery Concert Series (Avie) Osvaldo Coluccino – Interni – Roberto Fabbriciani (Kairos) Clarice Jensen – Drone Studies (Geographic North) Toshio Hosokawa – gardens – Ukho Ensemble Kyiv/Luigi Gaggero (Kairos) Tristan Murail – Portulan – Ensemble CAIRN/Guillaume Bourgogne (Kairos) Alwynne Pritchard – Rockaby – performances by the Norwegian Naval Forces’ Band, ensemble recherche; SWR Experimentalstudio, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Kairos) Einojuhani Rautavaara – Vigilia – Helsinki Chamber Choir/Nils Schweckendiek (BIS) Enrico Rava/Joe Lovano – Roma (ECM) Kaija Saariaho – Graal Théâtre; Circle Map; Neiges; Vers toi qui es si loin – Peter Herresthal, Oslo Philharmonic/Clément Mao-Takacs (BIS)
(☆ – newly listed this week)
Philip Thomas – Morton Feldman Piano (Another Timbre; delayed temporarily, new date pending)
François J. Bonnet & Stephen O’Malley – Cylene (Editions Mego) ☆ Pascal Dusapin – Penthesilea – Natascha Petrinsky, Marisol Montalvo, Georg Nigl, Werner van Mechelen, Orchestre Symphonique et Chœurs de la Monnaie/Franck Ollu (Cypres) ☆ Hans Werner Henze – Das Floß der Medusa – Camilla Nylund, Peter Schöne, Peter Stein, Freiburg Cathedral Boys Choir, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, WDR Rundfunkchor Köln, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln/Peter Eötvös (SWR Classic) Jennifer Koh – Limitless – collaborations with Qasim Naqvi, Lisa Bielawa, Du Yun, Tyshawn Sorey, Nina C. Young, Wang Lu, Vijay Iyer, and Missy Mazzoli (Cedille) Ben Melsky – Ben Melsky/Ensemble Dal Niente – compositions by Tomás Gueglio, Alican Camçı, Frederick Gifford, Wang Lu, Igor Santos, and Eliza Brown (New Focus) ☆ Sirius Quartet – Playing on the Edge – compositions by Ian Erickson, Marga Richter, Jennifer Castellano, Brian Field, and Mari Tamaki (Navona) Various artists – Strain Crack & Break: Music From The Nurse With Wound List Volume One (France) (Finders Keepers)
☆ Carl Waters – Waker (Soap Library)
Taylor Ho Bynum 9-tette – The Ambiguity Manifesto (Firehouse 12)
Ethan Iverson Quartet with Tom Harrell – Common Practice (ECM)
Grey Mcmurray– Stay Up (figureight)
Louis Sclavis Quartet – Characters on a Wall (ECM)
John Zorn – The Hermetic Organ, Vol. 7: St. John the Divine (Tzadik)
andPlay – playlist – compositions by Ashkhan Behzadi, David Bird, and Clara Iannotta (New Focus) Ashley Bathgate – ASH – compositions by Andrew Norman, Christopher Cerrone, Timo Andres, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, and Robert Honstein (New Amsterdam) David Bowlin – Bird As Prophet – compositions by Mario Davidovsky, Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin, Martin Bresnick, George Walker, and Du Yun (New Focus) Caroline Davis & Rob Clearfield’s Persona – Anthems (Sunnyside) Pauline Kim Harris – Heroine – compositions by Harris and Spencer Topel (Sono Luminus) Sarah Hennies – Reservoir 1: Preservation – Phillip Bush, Meridian (Black Truffle) Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos – Cristal (Sunnyside) Éliane Radigue – Occam Ocean 2 – ONCEIM (Shiiin) San Francisco Girls Chorus, The Knights, Trinity Youth Chorus – My Outstretched Hand – compositions by Lisa Bielawa, Colin Jacobsen, and Aaron Jay Kernis (Supertrain) ☆ Tyshawn Sorey and Marilyn Crispell – The Adornment of Time (Pi Recordings)
Binary Canary – iterative systems (Carrier) Kris Davis – Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic) Minor Pieces – The Heavy Steps of Dreaming (Fatcat) J. Pavone String Ensemble – Brick and Mortar (Birdwatcher)
☆ Voxfire – Fontis (Orenda) Michael Vincent Waller – Moments – performances by R. Andrew Lee and William Winant (Unseen Worlds)
Ernest Hood – Neighborhoods (Freedom to Spend; reissue of 1975 Thistlefield release) Bill MacKay and Katinka Kleijn – STIR (Drag City; related article here)
Cassandra Miller – Bel Canto; Traveller Song; Tracery: Hardanger; Tracery: Lazy, Rocking – Juliet Fraser, Plus-Minus Ensemble (all that dust) Tim Parkinson – piano music 2015-16 – Mark Knoop (all that dust) Georgia Rodgers – A to B; Late lines – Serge Vuille, Séverine Ballon (all that dust) Karlheinz Stockhausen – Kontakte – George Barton, Siwan Rhys (all that dust)
☆ Jan Garbarek/Hilliard Ensemble – Remember me, my dear (ECM)
Jim James, Teddy Abrams, Louisville Orchestra – The Order of Nature (Decca Gold; related article here)
Per Störby Jutbring – The Thief Bunny Society (Hoob)
Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter 4: Memphis (Constellation) Saariselka – The Ground Our Sky (Temporary Residence)
☆ Ka Baird – Respires (RVNGIntl.)
Mary Halvorson & John Dieterich – a tangle of stars (New Amsterdam) Jenny Lin – The Études Project, Volume One: ICEBERG – compositions by Iceberg New Music and others (Sono Luminus)
This week in On the Record, The Necks defy expectation and categorization on 'Three,' their 21st album, new on Northern Spy. Plus dozens of listings for forthcoming releases.
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This week in On the Record: Bandcamp has responded to the current COVID-19 pandemic by waiving its fees for 24 hours, directing more money to artists and labels—here are some new and recent releases to buy today.