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Contemporary Music Recordings

Featured Recording

Lee Actor:
            Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 3, Divertimento
Lee Actor (1945-    )

Concerto for Piano and Orch (2012); Symphony No. 3 (2013)

Divertimento for Small Orch (2011)
Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, Kirk Trevor conducting
Navona Records/NV 5986

Attractive, thoroughly approachable tonal works, finely crafted in traditional forms, with ample drama and direct emotional appeal. The Piano Concerto (2012), a dramatic virtuoso vehicle in the Romantic mold, seems indebted to Shostakovich and Prokofiev, and in Actor's predilection for ostinato-driven propulsive music, Martinu. When his fondness for ostinati goes a little further, Philip Glass seems to be fleetingly invoked. The composer is not averse to the grand romantic gesture; for instance, when the slow movement's uncertain opening finally manages to swell into a real climax, the result is pure Rachmaninov. The sprightly finale's rhythmic buoyancy has a slight flavor of Ravel or Milhaud, and the harmony follows suit with a suggestion of jazz.
Premonition, the first movement of the Symphony No. 3 (2013), begins in an atmosphere of foreboding, sounding for all the world like an orchestration of a hitherto unknown Shostakovich quartet. It continues very much in this vein, even after a brief climax ushers in a sense of greater rhythmic urgency. A scurrying, aggressive scherzo, first cousin to the one in Shostakovich 10, follows; then a grand and stately slow movement with something Sibelian about it. This develops a climax in a more martial mood, before returning to the reflective character of the opening, now with an oscillating, Glassian accompaniment. A second scherzo is more playful than the first, Prokofiev-like, then the finale, after a strident opening gesture, strives heroically for a positive outcome to the drama, finally achieving a triumphant conclusion. The Divertimento (2011) starts divertingly enough, but along the way develops unexpected emotional depth.

- Records International

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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

Ablaze Records
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)
Mtier Records
Mode Records
MSR Classics - contemporary
Musica Omnia - 20th century
Mythical Records
Novona Records
Neu 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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