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Duo Montagnard | Interspheres

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Classical: New Music Ensemble Classical: Chamber Music Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Duo Montagnard

The fourth release by Duo Montagnard (Joseph Murphy, saxophone and Matthew Slotkin, guitar) contains both premieres of newly commissioned music as well as new recordings of works by Greg Caffrey and Caroline Charrière.
Genre: Classical: New Music Ensemble
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  Song Share Time Download
1. On the Edge: I
4:25 $0.99
2. On the Edge: II
4:55 $0.99
3. Interspheres: I
2:09 $0.99
4. Interspheres: II
1:03 $0.99
5. Interspheres: III
0:54 $0.99
6. Interspheres: IV
1:19 $0.99
7. Interspheres: V
1:35 $0.99
8. Deux Mouvements: I
2:43 $0.99
9. Deux Mouvements: II
1:48 $0.99
10. Breathing the Water: I. Mountain Lake
2:49 $0.99
11. Breathing the Water: II. Torrents
2:58 $0.99
12. Origin Unknown: A Pole Was Journeying
9:17 $0.99
13. Sejdefu Majka Budase
4:51 $0.99
14. Silver Wound
7:16 $0.99
15. Pluck, Blow
8:02 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Duo Montagnard (Joseph Murphy, saxophone and Matthew Slotkin, guitar) was formed in 2002 and has performed over 300 concerts in 49 states, eight Canadian provinces, and seventeen countries on six continents. Festival performances include the Chautauqua Institution, Scandinavian Saxophone Festival, Hartwick College Summer Music Festival, North-West University New Music Week (South Africa), UNC-Wilmington New Music for Guitar and Saxophone Festival, Radford University International Guitar Festival, and the Alexandria Guitar Festival. The duo has commissioned, premiered and recorded more than twenty works for guitar and saxophone by composers including James Crowley, Jonathan Elliott, Laura Kramer, John Anthony Lennon, John Orfe and Russell Peterson.

Laura Kramer: On the Edge

When standing “on the edge” of a cliff in the California mountains, it is possible to view a panorama of such a vast range of terrain. There is the melting snow on distant mountains at one angle, the seemingly endless, arid, plain of desert speckled with sage and chaparral at another, while a glimpse straight downward reveals greenery of sycamore and wild flowers sprouting between rugged rock formations. As this view is composed of so many different dimensions, “on the edge” similarly combines fragments and jagged melodies into one complete whole. Though the individual motives do not correspond to any particular elements of the landscape, I aimed to recreate the reflective, thought-laden nature that hiking can have. In this way, the recurring fragments constantly change and allow new themes to form. Taking such rejuvenating excursions periodically throughout my doctoral coursework has yielded the inspiration for “on the edge.”

Laura Kramer is a composer and saxophonist based in Los Angeles, where she is completing a DMA in Composition at the University of Southern California. She performs with the Noir Quartet, and her compositions have been performed around the world.

Thomas Schuttenhelm: Interspheres

Interspheres is dedicated to the Duo Montagnard. Although I suspect the Duo had the many hills and mountains of Pennsylvania in mind when they chose the name for the ensemble, I cannot help but think of Zarathustra who found his inspiration in a mythical landscape of ranges that must have been similar to the ones within their view. My composition studio is situated in a decidedly urban environment, but it is my imagination that dwells always in the “heights” and I can only hope that upon descent I was able to provide the Duo with a map for returning to that place so we can all enjoy its majesty, if only abstractly (interspherically!) and temporarily.

Interspheres is cast in five parts, and each movement exploits (and sometimes alternates) the contemplative and improvisatory archetypes that are deeply associated with their natures. The central movement—which always seems to occupy a special position in symmetrical designs—uses a tri-phonic counterpoint: a moto-mechanique ostinato in the guitar (left hand) that forms a static plane from which the saxophone and guitarists right hand move outward and in opposition. They eventually cadence together: a significant alliance that is a manifestation of the conceptual design.

Thomas Schuttenhelm is a composer, guitarist and scholar based in Washington, D.C. and Hartford, CT. He has composed for some of America’s top soloists and ensembles, and his publications include "The Selected Letters of Michael Tippett", published by Faber, and articles and reviews for Soundboard Magazine.

Caroline Charrière: Deux mouvements

Deux mouvements was written in 2008 for the saxophonist Laurent Estoppey and the guitarist Toni Albanese. The first movement is a meditation, trying to reconcile dissonances while the second movement is the opposite: constant action.

Caroline Charrière is a composer based in Fribourg, Switzerland. She studied flute, composition and conducting at the Lausanne Conservatory in Switzerland and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England.

Dana Wilson: Breathing the Water

Breathing the Water was originally written for flutist Kate Steinbeck and guitarist Amy Brucksch. The piece is intended to evoke the simplicity and sound world of much "mountain music," while also illuminating contrasting states of water: a mountain lake and river torrents. “Breathing the Water" is the title of a book of poetry by Denise Levertov, who was associated with the Black Mountain Poetry School, so named for its association with Black Mountain College (1933-1957) near Asheville, NC.

Dana Wilson is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Music at Ithaca College. His works have been commissioned and performed by numerous ensembles including the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and many others. He has authored several books, and has had fellowships at Yaddo, the Aspen Institute and Cornell University.

Kevin Cope: Origin Unknown: A Pole Was Journeying

Origin Unknown: A Pole Was Journeying was written to reflect my lack of connection with my Polish heritage yet my desire to learn more. The piece includes two Polish folk melodies, A Pole Was Journeying and Whirlwinds Raging in the Valley, which are used to tell a hypothetical version of the journey of my ancestors coming to America. The piece begins with a theme based upon Whirlwinds Raging in the Valley that is utilized to represent the common idea "wherever the winds take me." A last look at home follows that is both full of love and loss. The journey then begins across land and the tension builds until the longest leg of the journey is reached, across the Atlantic Ocean. As the ship sets out, thoughts turn to the new home ahead and then drift back to Poland. Slowly, the loneliness builds and the guitar allows the saxophone to wander through thoughts of home. Upon reaching the shores of the USA, a reserved excitement takes over until comfort and joy are discovered.

Kevin J. Cope is a composer, guitarist and educator based in Philadelphia, PA. He has received commissions from performers and ensembles ranging from solo guitarists to concert bands and was recently featured on the cover of Soundboard Magazine for its 75th anniversary "Composing for the Guitar" edition.

Michael Djupstrom: Sejdefu majka buđaše

This work is a free setting of a traditional sevdalinka folk song from the Balkan region. In creating this instrumental version of a vocal work, I tried to preserve the spirit of the original lyrics, which deal with universal themes of love and loss. These are the traditional themes of sevdalinka songs, a genre which originated through contact with the Turks, and fuses elements of European, Middle Eastern, and Sephardic music. The original song's structure was preserved in making this transcription, but I treated the harmony and the melodic line more freely, taking advantage of the extended range and agility of both instruments.

Michael Djupstrom is a composer and pianist based in Philadelphia, PA, where he is a member of the Musical Studies faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music. Recent commissions have come from the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program.

Piotr Grella-Możejko: Silver Wound

Silver Wound was written in 2009 for the Swiss duo Degré 21 (Laurent Estoppey, saxophone and Antonio Albanese, guitar) who premièred it in Vevey, Switzerland on 25 September of the same year. Based on a simple idea of presenting (almost) the same, nostalgically emotive/emotively nostalgic, material in a series of “distorted repetitions” based on time stretching and squeezing, the music assumed new, even deeper, even broader, dimensions.

Described by the German press as demonstrating "uncompromising honesty" (Neue Zeitschrift für Musik), Canadian-Polish composer, researcher and multimedia performer Piotr Grella-Możejko holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and a M.Mus. in Composition from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, as well as an M.A. in Political Sciences from the University of Silesia, Poland. His orchestral, chamber, electroacoustic and multimedia works have so far been presented in thirty-two countries.

Greg Caffrey: Pluck, Blow

I created this piece in 2002 and it reflects some of my compositional preoccupations of that time, namely a tunefulness (in the most traditional sense) and a desire to create work that was, mostly, fast-moving and charged with energy. The extremely focused thematic approach dictated that all the important motivic materials stem from just three sources within the piece. The piece explores some of the textural possibilities available when the guitar and soprano sax are combined and these varied sound worlds are juxtaposed in an episodic, but continuous formal structure.

Greg Caffrey is a composer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and is the Artistic Director of Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble. His music has been performed worldwide by numerous performers and ensembles including The Ulster Orchestra, Ensemble Bash, Craig Ogden, and many others. He is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin, and is a member of the Association of Irish Composers. His music is published by the Australian publisher Reed Music.

Production information:
Recorded 2012-2014 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Bloomsburg, PA
On the Edge recorded 2012 at Haas Center for the Arts, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA
Produced by Andrew Munsey and Matthew Slotkin
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Andrew Munsey
On the Edge engineered by Matt Leece
Edited by Andrew Munsey and Matthew Slotkin
Cover art and design by Matt Leece

Partial funding for this project was provided by a Faculty Enhancement grant from Bloomsburg University

Special thanks to Joel L. Zeiders at St. Matthew Lutheran Church



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