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Contemporary Music Recordings

Featured Recording

Judith Zaimont: Eternal Evolution (Navona Records 5846)
Judith Zaimont (1945-    )

String Quartet - 'The Figure' (2007); ZONES (Piano Trio No.2) (1994)
Astral...a Mirror Life on the Astral Plane (2004); Serenade (2006/2007)
Harlem Quartet: Ilmar Gavilán (violin), Melissa White (violin), Juan-Miguel Hernandez (viola), Paul Wiancko (cello)
Awadagin Pratt (piano)
Navona Records/NV 5846

Judith Lang Zaimont's String Quartet 'The Figure' is divided into two movements of equal length, 'In Shadow' and 'In Bright Light'. The subtitle refers to a three-part figure at the beginning of the work which gives rise to all the other material. The first movement is the more dramatic, the second the more lyrical, but otherwise both sections are fairly similar, by turn ruminative and vivacious, in both cases darker and less contrastive than the section titles indicate, but no less productive for it. No reason is given in the notes for the complete capitalisation of ZONES, the composer's second Piano Trio - the reference is to zones, with no acronym implicated. The three movements are entitled 'Cold', 'Warm' and 'Temperate', which Zaimont characterises respectively as "dark and tempestuous", "harmonically rich, layered and lyric" and "mordant, agitato, celebratory." This is, without question, a piano trio of the old school, and it is fair to say that Zaimont's music does seem to come from another time - the first half of the 20th century, in most cases. Though some critics, as in the link above, will consider it old hat for that reason, audiences are unlikely to agree, and these pieces may just as validly be thought of as original works in a mainly late-Romantic idiom that had hitherto stayed unwritten. Why not create them now, if there are audiences for them? Certainly ZONES is a fine work, containing much imaginative, stimulating, beautiful music, eventually coming to a very satisfying, appropriately warming conclusion. Serenade was originally written for solo piano "one rainy day in March 2006 as an offering to cheer up an ailing family member." The work is melodically and harmonically very straightforward, with the piano part in this arrangement for trio restricted to a recursive, gentle chordal accompaniment. Short and simple, but lyrical, restful and more wistful than might be supposed from the circumstances of its genesis. Astral...a Mirror Life on the Astral Plane is a peculiar title; according to Zaimont's description the piece "slowly tracks the spirit's elevation through eleven stages from expressive contemplation through unease and turbulence to final arrival and affirmation", with eleven having a numerological significance. If that sounds a bit airy, the music is not and will surely find wide approval, though there is a strange twist in store right at the end, as the soloist is required to sing or hum along, "drawing the entire musical journey inward to the same unison pitch as the starting note" - rather superfluously, it might be said. The composer describes this as an eight-minute piece, but Hernandez takes thirteen - a discrepancy presumably accounted for by the fact that some alterations were made to the original version for solo clarinet. The Harlem Quartet and Awadagin Pratt give expressive, meticulous readings of this music that draw upon their considerable
 chamber performance and recording experience.

Byzantion, MusicWeb International

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*** Click here to listen to excerpts from this Navona Records disc ***

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visit Judith Zaimont at Pytheas ...

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Here are some of the many record labels that feature contemporary art music.
Tell us about any others you know of - we'd love to add them to our growing list.

Contemporary Music Recordings

Albany Records
Bridge Records
Cedille Records - contemporary
Centrediscs (Canadian Music Centre)
Edition RZ
EMC (Experimental Music Catalog)
ERM Media
empreintes DIGITALes
Fleur de Son Classics
Innova Recordings (The Label of the American Composers Forum)
Métier Records
Mode Records
MSR Classics - contemporary
Musica Omnia - 20th century
Mythical Records
Novona Records
New Albion Records
New Amsterdam Records
New Focus Recordings
New Music from Indiana University: Volumes 1 and  2
New Tertian Recordings
New World Records
Nonesuch Records
Oxingale Records
Toccata Classics
Trace Label (Paris, France)
Vienna Modern Masters
Zimbel Records

. . .  other labels (thanks to Neue Musik @ University of Hamburg)

Check out the Pytheas Featured Recordings Archive

In addition to individual record labels, contemporary recordings can be searched
by the composer's name at such sites as:
CD Baby: Music Now
ClassicsOnline:  20th Century  or  Contemporary  or by Composer
e classical: Contemporary


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