Judah Adashi
Beth Anderson
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Richard Brooks
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Michael Kaulkin
Meyer Kupferman
Elodie Lauten
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Tamara Salukvadze
Judith Shatin
Fredrik Sixten
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Meira Warshauer
Willa Webber
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Judith Lang Zaimont
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Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin

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New Music for Early Music Ensemble - Parthenia
Hot Off the Press

March 5, 2008 – Picture Ray Studio, New York City

Reviewed by Mark Greenfest

Parthenia deserves loud applause for tonight's neo-renaissance works by living composers. With bowstrokes vigorous and delicate, the performers of Parthenia demonstrate both modern and baroque mastery of their string instruments, the viols (most of which are cello-sized).

Visit Parthenia, A Consort of Viols here.

For more information about Parthenia, please contact Jeffrey James Arts Consulting at 516-586-3433 or jamesarts@worldnet.att.net.

If this, (Max Lifchitz' Night Voices No. 15) be incidental music for Gesualdo's poetry, it is richly evocative and dramatic, with a gestural vocabulary and luscious sound – in a word, earplay.

About David Thompson's 2:4 - with canons at a deliberate and half speed, a renaissance-style tune slowly unfolds, with dignified plushness and pathos. (Poetry by Jane Kenyon)

David Glaser's Fantazy is a fragmented, cubist version of a fantasy. It is a most poetic, lively fantasy for two different viols which fugue around each other like a chromatic mirror, leaving a trail of sound luminescent like mother-of-pearl nacre, highly imaginative and most unusual, with gorgeous sound and interplay. (Poetry by Anacreon)

Frances White's Like the Lily featured a delicate electro-acoustic echo that enhanced the startling soundscape of harmony and glorious interplay of counterpoint that conceal the dove-like fragments of Gregorian chant that is at the heart this innovative and delicious piece. (Poetry by W.B. Yeats)

Paul Richards' A Twelvemonth and a Day's with words from Wendy Steiner's The Loathly Lady (act 2, scene 2; Shcherezade) echoes of klezmer and neo-minimalist music (akin to Reich and Glass) blend into the ensemble's dance as much as real renaissance tunes – all answering the question, what do women want? and ending in an authentic way.

In this selection (Kristin Nordeval's Nothing Proved) of prose and poems by Queen Elizabeth I of England, Kristin Nordeval melds music with dramatic insight. Each instrument speaks in its own voice, before Princess Elizabeth's pithy observation is spoken, and then whispered by the ensemble, after which a dramatic speaking aria by Ms. Nordeval, who is a superb performer, melds the spoken word, electro-acoustic sound and the viols into a stunning work.

Paul Hecht, known as a dramatist and Barbara Feldon, one of the greatest comic actresses of the century, narrated this program. Ms. Nordeval, however, with her magical vocal tone and imaginative, emotionally true and striking musical and dramatic composition, stole the thunder.

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