Stereophile reviews Derek Bermel: Voices

Wonderful new music, all of it. Dust Dances is charming and jazzy, and reminiscent of Bernstein at his most relaxed. Thracian Echoes is exotic and atmostpheric, conjuring up visions of John Fowles’ The Magus. Elixir is a moving and soothing interlude with wonderful antiphonal effects. Voices, a conversational concerto, features a range of interchanges between the composer’s solo clarinet and the orchestra, with an almost raunchily bluesy conclusion. Performances are tip-top, and the sound clear and immediate.

Media Date 
July 1, 2010
Media Source 
Stereophile
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One of the most refreshing discs in a while.

A gift of song for the holidays

Given the large number of fine recordings released in the past year, a first-time visitor to Planet Earth would hardly suspect that the record industry is in the doldrums. Nor will the music lovers on your holiday gift list think anything is amiss, if you present them with one or more of the sonic goodies in the guide that follows.

Media Date 
November 30, 2009
Media Source 
San Francisco Classical Voice
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If Voices doesn’t have you jamming by its end, it may be time for a one-way ticket to Valhalla.

Media Contact Name 
Jason Victor Serinus

The New York Times 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

Eclecticism is everywhere now, but Derek Bermel makes his style-hopping colleagues seem lazy in this set, which includes works based on Ghanian xylophone figures (Dust Dances), Bulgarian folk music (Thracian Echoes) and an ear-catching blend of speech melodies, Irish tunes and contemporary jazz (Voices, a clarinet concerto with Mr. Bermel as the soloist).

Media Date 
November 23, 2009
Media Source 
The New York Times
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Eclecticism is everywhere now, but Derek Bermel makes his style-hopping colleagues seem lazy in this set.

Media Contact Name 
Allan Kozinn

Music Web International reviews Derek Bermel: Voices

As clarinetist and composer alike, Derek Bermel is a product of the contemporary accessibility of, and fascination with, the diverse musics of the world. Gone are the days when the Austro-Hungarian, or even the wider European, traditions could constitute any kind of workable definition of ‘serious’ music. Just as, once upon a time, European literature woke up to – and creatively embraced – literatures far beyond the previously monolithic Latin and Greek tradition, so Western music has widened its horizons enormously.

Media Date 
October 1, 2009
Media Source 
Music Web International
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Media Quote 

No one who hears this CD will be left in any doubt as regards either Bermel's consummate musicianship or the excellence of the work of BMOP under the baton of Gil Rose.

Media Contact Name 
Glyn Pursglove

ClassicalCDReview reviews Derek Bermel: Voices

The enterprising new label BMOP/sound has another winner in their disk of music of clarinetist, composer, and jazz/rock musician Derek Bermel. The four works show his interest in various folk influences (including Bulgarian folk music), jazz and depicting the human voice instrumentally. Dust Dances resulted from a 4-month visit to Northwest Ghana where Bermel learned to play the Dargara gyil, a 14-key xylophone related to the marimba; in this 9-minute work he attempts to turn the symphony orchestra into a gigantic gyil.

Media Date 
April 1, 2009
Media Source 
ClassicalCDReview
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The enterprising new label BMOP/sound has another winner in their disk of music of clarinetist, composer, and jazz/rock musician Derek Bermel.

Media Contact Name 
R.E.B.

AllMusic reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie

Lukas Foss’ 1944 oratorio The Prairie, based on a poem by Carl Sandburg, easily falls into the same category as extended American vernacular vocal works such as Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley (1948) and Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land (1954). However, unlike these other pieces, The Prairie – which went a large way toward making the reputation of its composer -- was forgotten.

Media Date 
March 1, 2009
Media Source 
AllMusic
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It is a very fine performance with a good front line of singers, with mezzo-soprano Gigi Mitchell-Velasco being a standout.

Media Contact Name 
Uncle Dave Lewis

MUSO reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie

The title itself, The Prairie, gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect. Copland-esque open harmonies abound, proto-Bernstein fugues wind their way in, and Carl Sandburg’s 1918 poem is very much a product of its time (although the notes make the point that its now toe-curling treatment of Native Americans was far in advance of Hollywood’s at the same time).

Media Date 
December 1, 2009
Media Source 
MUSO
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Media Quote 

Copland-esque open harmonies abound, proto-Bernstein fugues wind their way in, and Carl Sandburg's 1918 poem is very much a product of its time.

Media Contact Name 
Andy Gottlieb

Tempo reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie

Lukas Foss died aged 86 on 1 February 2009. His legacy as a composer is considerable and varied, and there were few areas of American musical life from the 1950s to the 1980s that did not feel his influence in some way. His important musical directorships, firstly at Buffalo and then at Brooklyn, Jerusalem, and Milwaukee, brought his controversial musical ideology into conflict with some of his audiences, performers and managers.

Media Date 
July 1, 2009
Media Source 
Tempo
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Media Quote 

Altogether it is a delightful work and this first recording in over 30 years, released just before Foss's death, is a poignant elegy and epitaph to a significant composer.

Media Contact Name 
Bret Johnson

Monotonous Forest reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie

And from conductor Andrew Clark and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project comes The Prairie (1943) by Lukas Foss, using Carl Sandburg’s poem from The Cornhuskers. This ambitious cantata includes four excellent soloists—Elizabeth Weigle, Gigi Mitchell-Velasco, Frank Kelley and Aaron Engebreth—and another chorus new to me, the Providence Singers (of which Clark is artistic director), all of whom make Foss’s spacious landscape spring to life.

Media Date 
December 20, 2008
Media Source 
Monotonous Forest
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Listeners who only know the composer's later work may be surprised by the unabashedly tonal colors here, written when the composer was just 21 years old.

ClassicalCDReview reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie

Lukas Foss based his 53-minute cantata The Prairie on Carl Sandburg’s poem of the same name from his collection of Americana called The Cornhuskers. Written in the summers of 1941 and 1942, music from The Prairie first was heard in an orchestral suite played by the Boston Symphony directed by Serge Koussevitzky Oct. 15, 1943, and May 15, 1944, Robert Shaw led the cantata’s premiere in New York’s Town Hall.

Media Date 
January 1, 2009
Media Source 
ClassicalCDReview
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Media Quote 

Highly recommended!

Media Contact Name 
R.E.B.

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