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PSNY Composers in Alex Ross' 2017 Top Ten Lists

As the year ends, critics are busy preparing their annual accountings of the very best music of 2017. Alex Ross, the classical music critic of The New Yorker, has deftly diversified his year-end top ten lists, counting his favorite notable performances and recordings from the year. At the top of these lists is Kate Soper'sIpsa Dixit, performed at Dixon Place on February 4th. Ross describes Soper as "one of the great originals of her generation—a maker of erudite entertainments that inhabit a self-invented realm halfway between opera and philosophy."

Next on Ross' list is Chaya Czernowin's opera, Infinite Now, which premiered on April 23rd at the Flemish Opera. Check out an interview with Czernowin about this work below. 

Annie Gosfield's new adaptation of War of the Worlds, presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and narrated by Sigourney Weaver, also made it to Ross' list of notable performances. Check back soon for the full score of Gosfield's War of the Worlds on PSNY. 

Ross has been a vocal proponent of the music of Scott Wollschleger, so it is no surprise that Wollschleger's recent album on New Focus Recordings, "Soft Aberration", made it to his top ten records of 2017. That album features many of Wollschleger's recent works, including Brontal Symmetry, Soft Aberration, Bring Something Incomprehensible Into This World, and String Quartet No. 2 "White Wall". Check out Brontal Symmetry below.

Last but not least on Ross' list of notable recordings is Gregory Spears'  "Fellow Travelers", the very first recording produced and performed by the Cincinnati Opera. Three pieces from this opera—"I worry, that's all"; "Last Night"; and "Our Very Own Home"—are available from PSNY. See a concert performance of this last piece below.

Pierre Jalbert's "Sonatine" Sees NYC Premiere

Whether he's writing for a full orchestra or a small chamber ensemble, Pierre Jalbert composes with a hallmark intensity of spirit, a forward-moving propulsion, and virtuosic precision. This trademark style is apparent in his Sonatine, for violin and guitar, which was originally composed for Duo 46, and which saw its New York City premiere on December 5th at Symphony Space, performed by guitarist David Leisner and violinist Jesse Mills.

This performance was part of a concert celebrating the tenth anniversary of Guitar Plus, for which Leisner serves as Artistic Director, and was co-sponsored by the New York City Classical Guitar Society.

For more on Jalbert's compositional style, check out his interview with NewMusicBox below. 

Momenta Quartet Champions Alvin Singleton's String Quartets

Alvin Singleton'sSomehow We Can was commissioned in 1994 by the Eastman School of Music in memory of the celebrated contralto Marian Anderson, and has been recorded and released by Tzadik Records on an eponymous album from 2002. Now, Somehow We Can has become recently celebrated as a repertoire staple by the Momenta Quartet, which has also performed Singleton's earlier quartet, Secret Desire to be Black. On November 19th, Somehow We Can saw its Philadelphia premiere, and as Momenta violinist Emile-Anne Gendron notes, Momenta is dedicated to incorporating this work as an "important addition to the string quartet canon."

The free improviser Eugene Chadbourne writes of Somehow We Can:  "The composer effectively uses the instruments to create an impression of the human voice, sometimes speaking alone, sometimes raised in a kind of aggressive rabble. Wonderful moments of melody float through, bringing to mind Duke Ellington's quote about grey skies being 'clouds passing over.'"

Singleton's work is also becoming a staple of cellist Seth Parker-Woods, who has incorporated Argoru II into his concert repertoire. Parker-Woods will perform the Seattle premiere Argoru II in an upcoming concert on December 9th.

Argoru II, as well as Secret Desire to be Black, will soon be published by PSNY, available as digital and hard-copy editions. Check out Momenta's performance of Secret Desire to be Black below. 

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