AR Thomas - Dream Catcher: Violin Concerto no.3, Works for Solo Violin | Nimbus NI8109

AR Thomas - Dream Catcher: Violin Concerto no.3, Works for Solo Violin


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Label: Nimbus

Cat No: NI8109

Barcode: 0710357810923

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 6th January 2023



‘Dear Listener,

‘Welcome to
Dream Catcher, an album that journeys through ten unique compositions, ten bewitching stories that lead us away from the constant Rush of everyday lives. Before you dive in, I just wanted to take a beat to tell you a little bit about how this CD came to life, and to properly introduce you to the creator of the music you are about to hear - the one and only Augusta Read Thomas.

‘When you dedicate your life to an instrument as challenging and versatile as the violin, there is no shortage of repertoire from which to choose from; and yet, the vast majority of albums out there cater to a very specific, restricted niche of composers and their most well-known works. This can often give our somehow a stagnant, old-fashioned art-form, when in reality it is a constantly evolving organism, driven by thousands of inspiring and innovative creators. As a new artist in the industry myself, I feel a certain calling to break this pattern by championing and performing works that reflect our present instead of our past, and by striving to surprise my audiences with music that they can discover and even relate to. This debut album is my first of hopefully many projects that strive to achieve this, and it is also my reply to all those people who believe classical music is a thing of the past.

‘I met Augusta by total surprise about five years ago in Chicago, where I was performing a recital that included her
“Capricious Toccata: Dandelion Sky”. It was the first time that I had had the opportunity to discuss a piece of music with the actual composer, and I became absolutely fascinated with the world of possibilities that such a dialogue can lead to. I instantly started to study other works of hers, and began programming them in several of my recitals throughout the years. The more I performed these pieces and became familiar with Augusta’s compositional style, the more I felt myself wanting to create something tangible and long-lasting with these works. And thus, at the beginning of the global pandemic a few years ago, the idea for this CD was born.

‘This album features Augusta’s complete works for solo violin, as well as the world premier recording of her
Violin Concerto No. 3 “Juggler in Paradise”. Each and every piece has a different character and tells its own story, and these seemingly unrelated, abstract pieces of a puzzle come together during the course of the album to create a dream-like journey.

‘Before I leave you to experience this collection of poems, I would first like to express my infinite gratitude to all the people who made this dream of mine come true.

‘Happy listening! Clarissa’

– Clarissa Bevilacqua

‘The major work here is Juggler in Paradise (2008), the most recent and the most expansive of Thomas’ 3 violin concertos. Unlike the previous concertos, which were for chamber forces, this one requires a very large orchestra, deployed with all of Thomas’ customary virtuosity and vivid sense of colour as it paints the kaleidoscopic canvas this densely-packed 18-minute single movement inhabits.

‘But at no point is the listener left under the impression that the solo violin is not the protagonist throughout. The work opens with the violin slowly stirring itself awake into sunlight, the orchestra gradually resonating more and more of the soloist’s individual notes as darkness dissipates and the listener finds itself in one of Thomas’ most vividly translucent soundscapes. Before long, the music grows ever more animated as Thomas’ now-familiar hocketing rhythms infiltrate the proceedings, and in short order the violin begins its airborne juggling act, locking horns with the orchestra in restless back-and-forth dialogue. The music continually gains energy and density, its acrobatics surmounting obstacles with boundless ease, until it finally boils over into a frenetic “break” from the orchestra’s bongo drums. All at once, clamour ceases, and the violin emphatically reasserts its presence as massive chords slowly build and dissolve across the orchestra, all momentum gone and overtaken by a timeless breadth suggestive of fathomless vistas. From here on, the violin dominates in unbroken chameleonic soliloquy, now hieratic, now playful, now meditative, but always sovereign, with constant belllike resonances from the orchestra keeping the heavens agleam. With one last bold flourish, the violin finally holds a high B aloft, with glockenspiel, crotales and several triangles from the orchestral percussion flinging it into the firmament in one last starburst before the vibrations glitter away into silence.

‘The remaining works collected here constitute the entirety of Thomas’ output for solo violin to date.’

– Paul Pellay, August 2022

Augusta Read Thomas is one of the most active composers in the world, with commissions, performances, recordings, awards, and honours, but she is also a long-standing, exemplary citizen of the profession at large with an extensive and deeply committed history as a generous colleague in the profession.

The New Yorker called her ‘a true virtuoso composer.’ Critic Edward Reichel wrote, ‘Thomas has secured for herself a permanent place in the pantheon of American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is without question one of the best and most important composers that this country has today. Her music has substance, depth, and a sense of purpose. She has a lot to say and knows how to say it – and in a way that is intelligent yet appealing and sophisticated.’

Violinist Clarissa Bevilacqua is known to enchant audiences with her dazzling technical skills and deeply inspiring musicality. Music director and conductor Terry Lowry says she possesses that ‘rare star quality that is difficult to describe, but impossible to miss.’

Clarissa debuted at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago in front of ten thousand people when she was nine years old. She has performed solo recitals and concerto engagements at venues throughout North America and Europe.

Winner of several international competitions, she was awarded First Prize, Audience Award and Special Bärenreiter Award at the International Mozart Competition Salzburg. She was also awarded the Grand Prize at the Cape Symphony International Violin Competition. She is an Affiliate Artist of the Guarneri Hall Program in Chicago.

An avid and enthusiastic learner, Clarissa received her Bachelor of Music at age sixteen, graduating summa cum laude. Following, she completed her Master of Music in Violin Performance at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg with Pierre Amoyal. She is currently studying with Antje Weithaas at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin.

Passionate about historic violins, at age fourteen Clarissa was selected as the youngest violinist to perform regularly with the Stradivari collection of the Violin Museum in Cremona. She now performs on a violin by Zosimo Bergonzi, Cremona c.1748, courtesy of Guarneri Hall NFP and Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins, Chicago.

Described as a conductor of ‘great intensity, without distancing, maneuvering, without indifference’ (Neuemuzikzeitung), Zimbabwean-born Vimbayi Kaziboni is widely sought-after for his depth of approach and his interpretive imagination and expressivity. He has led many critically lauded performances with orchestras across the globe performing at some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world, including Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, Lincoln Center, Royal Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonie, Elbphilharmonie, Cologne Philharmonic, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Wiener Konzerthaus, Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre, Philharmonie de Paris, and the Sala São Paulo.

Kaziboni is a professor of orchestral studies and contemporary music at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, artist-in-residence with the International Contemporary Ensemble, music director of the Composers Conference at Brandeis University, artistic advisor of the Boston Lyric Opera, and a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. A former Fulbright Fellow, Kaziboni holds degrees from the University of Southern California and the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts.

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