VIOLECTRICA – Music for Violin and Electronics

A compilation of music written for acoustic violin and pre-recorded electronic sounds by some of the world’s most innovative composers and improvisers. Merging genre lines with traditional forms, each track presents a bold and unique voice carving out a new niche for contemporary violin music. Compositions by Randall Woolf, Alexandra Gardner, Susie Ibarra, Annie Gosfield, Padma Newsome, and improvisations by Ikue Mori (laptop), and Jennifer Choi.

Classical Jam : ‘LIVE’

Classical Jam performs a wide range of repertoire from Renaissance dance music, traditional classic works, and original compositions and arrangements with a pure yet dynamic musical energy. Featured in this refreshing disc, works by Tielmann Susato, Ernő Dohnányi George Gershwin, Astor Piazzola, James Cohn, Payton Macdonald, and Justin Hines.

SONYC : First Takes

In this disc, winners of the 2005 Aaron Copland Music Recording Grant, The String Orchestra of New York City, masterfully plays compositions by Christopher Theofanides, Lisa Bielawa, Paul Moravec, and Michael Gatonska, all New York based composers that have lifted our spirits and aroused our curiosity for contemporary classical music.

Jennifer Choi on TZADIK (highlights)

John Zorn : From Silence to Sorcery

Three distinctive instrumental works touching upon themes of magic and mysticism. Goetia are spells and incantations for summoning demonic spirits and this colorful set of variations for solo violin draws upon the ancient alliance between the violin and the devil.

John Zorn :  Love, Madness and Mysticism

Definitive performances of three dynamic new chamber pieces pushing the boundaries of virtuosity and intensity. Le Mômo, for violin and piano is a work of extremes, a ritual about exorcism and possession inspired by the works of visionary 20th Century shaman Antonin Artaud. Untitled, dedicated to Joseph Cornell, the hermetic New York artist whose delirious box constructions mix innocent nostalgia with uncomfortable personal obsessions, is a tour de force for solo cello brilliantly performed by Erik Friedlander. The piano trio Amour Fou explores love—obsessive love, mad love, doomed love in a compendium of moods ranging from Buñuel to Bataille, Scriabin to Messiaen. A mysterious and romantic new direction from John Zorn.

John Zorn : Magick

Further explorations into the worlds of Magick and Alchemy, here featuring the long awaited premiere recording of Zorn’s new string quartet. Necronomicon is a transcendent five movement work of unparalleled ensemble virtuosity and formal beauty, brilliantly played by the Crowley Quartet. Also included is an astounding piece of witchcraft and sorcery for two bass clarinets, one of the most difficult yet written for the instrument, performed with passion and precision by two of the greatest players in the world.

John Zorn : Mysterium

Three new miniature masterpieces from the alchemical crucible of John Zorn. Orphée is a lush romantic work in the French tradition of Debussy, Boulez and Jean Cocteau. Drawing inspiration from both the ancient Greek legend of Orpheus, who ventured to the Underworld to recover his lost love and Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola and harp, this is one of Zorn’s most emotional and classical compositions, and features the Debussy trio instrumentation augmented by percussion, keyboards and the sparkling electronics of Ikue Mori. Frammenti del Sappho is a breathtakingly beautiful motet for five female voices, and speaks to and for the feminine through a language of Renaissance Minimalism. Ending the program is of course a piece touching on Witchcraft, and Zorn celebrates the Witches’ Sabbath through the dynamic medium of the string trio. Fifteen of the world’s best performers come together in this colorful and revelatory collection of Zorn compositions from 2004.

John Zorn : Chimeras

Composed throughout 2001 and previewed at the prestigious venue BargeMusic, Chimeras is a major new chamber work by John Zorn. Loosely inspired by Schoenberg’s masterwork Pierrot Lunaire, and scored for the same small ensemble (plus percussion), each of the twelve movements combine different permutations of the players, climaxing with a breathtaking tutti of all eight musicians.

John Zorn: Rituals

Owls, Windmachines, Gravedigging and Ritual Magick, Zorn’s strange and mystical monodrama for mezzo soprano and ten instruments is presented here in a beautiful new studio recording. Composed for the Bayreuth Opera Festival in 1998, the Rituals premiere was a bit of a scandal, with the audience split down the middle…half outraged detractors, stomping out, whistling and jeering and half cheering supporters. Performed here by a stellar group of Zorn regulars and some very special guests, Rituals is opera at its virtuosic and intimate best. Five movements of magic and alchemy from the crucible of an uncompromising and unpredictable musical maverick.

John Zorn :  Cobra

One of the most often performed compositions in new music, the Cobra phenomenon lives on into the 21st Century with continuous monthly performances in Japan, Europe, Australia and the United States. Under the direction of the composer himself this newest recording gives Zorn’s infamous game piece a startling new reading by some of downtown New York’s leading improvisers.

John Zorn : Femina

Structured as a colorful tribute to women in the Arts, Femina is a triumphant return to the file card technique that has produced some of Zorn’s most shockingly original compositions. Much like an aural film, the music jumps from scene to scene with breathtaking precision, following its own peculiar logic. Hildegard von Bingen, Meredith Monk, Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Madame Blavatsky, Isadora Duncan, Hélène Cixous, Gertrude Stein, Abe Sada, Sylvia Plath, Louise Bourgeois, Margaret Mead, Loie Fuller, Dorothy Parker, Yoko Ono and the moon goddess En Hedu’Anna are just a few of the figures who are referenced, reflected and summoned in this soulful and exhilarating tribute to some of the greatest hearts and minds that ever lived. Featuring an all-woman band of some of the downtown scene’s most creative and talented musicians, Femina is one of Zorn’s deepest and most profoundly beautiful creations. Unique packaging contains artwork and a booklet of images by Kiki Smith, one of the world’s greatest and most important art visionaries.

Susie Ibarra Trio : Songbird Suite

Born in California, raised in Texas and a New York resident since 1989, Susie Ibarra has become one of the most distinctive drummers in the world. Her latest project is a supergroup that crosses all borders. Driving rhythms and moody atmospheres are shaded with romance, lyricism and mystery. Featuring Susie’s exotic percussion, the classical violin of virtuoso Jennifer Choi, Craig Taborn’s angular pianistic fireworks and laptop electronics pioneer Ikue Mori, Songbird Suite is a delicate and complex recording that introduces an exciting new world of sound.

Susie Ibarra :  Folkloriko

Two exciting new pieces from composer/percussionist Susie Ibarra, whose dynamic drumming has driven the bands of William Parker, David S. Ware, Pauline Oliveros, Derek Bailey and Mephista. Written for her trio, featuring pianist Craig Taborn and violinist Jennifer Choi, the title track FOLKLORIKO is a musical portrait of a day in the life of a Filipino field worker—a kaleidoscopic suite that effortlessly moves from folk to classical, jazz and back again. Also included is a brilliant composition for percussion featuring Susie with her husband, percussionist Roberto Rodriguez.

Christian Wolff :  Burdocks

For half a century legendary scholar Christian Wolff has created a very personal musical response to John Cage’s challenging experiments and three of his most distinctive compositions receive inspiring performances here by a collection of San Francisco and New York’s best and most imaginative performers.

Wadada Leo Smith :  Lake Biwa

Four ambitious new orchestral pieces written expressly for this release by one of the legendary masters of creative music. Featuring an incredible all-star band that includes Marc Ribot, Craig Taborn, Susie Ibarra, John Zorn, Jennifer Choi, Anthony Coleman, John Lindberg and many others, Lake Biwa presents some of Leo’s most complex and stunningly original compositions. Lyrical and powerful orchestral colors, wild solos and, of course, plenty of searing trumpet work by one of the greatest players in the world. Still very much at the top of his form, this is one of Leo’s most thrilling recordings.