The ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory, Toronto) presents a handful of world premiere recordings on this 2016 release in Chandos' Music in Exile series, focusing on the neglected music of Polish-American composer Jerzy Fitelberg. Once praised by Aaron Copland and Arthur Rubinstein for his cosmopolitan music, and honored with prestigious awards from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation and the Koussevitsky Foundation, Fitelberg was all but forgotten after his death in 1951, due in part because his musical and cultural milieu had been left behind in Europe.
The Serenade No. 10 for winds in B-flat major, K. 361/370a, is a serenade by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart scored for thirteen instruments: twelve winds and string bass. The piece was probably composed in 1781 or 1782 and is often known by the subtitle "Gran Partita", though the title is a misspelling and not in Mozart's hand. It consists of seven movements.
This disc introduces Yo-Yo Ma's latest and most ambitious adventure, the Silk Road Project. It explores the cultures that flourished along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that for centuries connected Europe and the East. Founded by Ma in 1998, the project aims to create connections, mutual trust, and cultural interchange between people from different parts of the world through their only shared language: music. This recording includes music from Mongolia, China, Persia, Japan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and an improvisation on an Italian Renaissance street song, performed by musicians from all those countries, as well as America, on both Eastern and Western instruments. Ma, who participates in every piece either as soloist or part of the ensemble, plays cello and a Mongolian "horse-head fiddle." There is also a Mongolian soprano, who sings a traditional song native to her region.
Ensemble Avantgarde's 2013 release on MDG presents six pieces that sum up the ideas and techniques Giacinto Scelsi employed in his late semi-improvised works. Three are solos and three are duets, so the forces are small and limited in their potential for creating dense sonorities. Yet Scelsi's music wasn't always about microtonal drones played by large ensembles, or vast durations that made time seem irrelevant. Here, the strands of Scelsi's textures are exposed and clarified by isolating the instruments. Ko-Lho (1976) is transparent in its counterpoint, though the rapid changes between the flute and clarinet in register and gestures sometimes suggest the presence of a third unwritten part.