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Nowakowski: Blood, Forgotten / Ondracek-Peterson, Voxare String Quartet

Release Date: 06/09/2017 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559821  
Composer:  Mark Nowakowski
Performer:  Emily Ondracek Peterson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voxare String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Listen to the Naxos Podcast to learn more about this release

The people of Poland have lived through often impossible conditions over the last three centuries, and this album is Polish-American composer Mark Nowakowski’s tribute to their spirit of survival. Songs of Forgiveness is both a meditation on anger and grief and a lamentation on the stark realities of a society riven by tragedy. “Blood, Forgotten” is a multimedia memorial for the victims of Nazi and Soviet aggression during World War II, the electronic soundtrack using sounds from an instrument that survived one of the concentration camps. Partly written
Read more as a memorial for Henryk Gorecki, “Grandfather Songs also includes the surreal element of a recording of Nowakowski’s family singing the war song “Hej Ulani.” These deeply moving works are a highly personal tribute to the spirit of the people of Poland. Read less

Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings No. 1 "Songs of Forgiveness" by Mark Nowakowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voxare String Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2010; United States 
Blood, Forgotten by Mark Nowakowski
Performer:  Emily Ondracek Peterson (Violin)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2005; United States 
Quartet for Strings No. 2 "Grandfather Songs" by Mark Nowakowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voxare String Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2011; United States 
O Sleep for Me, Sleep by Mark Nowakowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voxare String Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2012; United States 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A vital new voice in American music June 24, 2017 By Jeffrey Quick See All My Reviews "This stunning debut album of music by the Polish-American composer Mark Nowakowski (b. 1978) will appeal to those who like Shostakovich and Pettersson, Gorecki and Vasks. The tone is dark and serious, but not grim, and never uglier than it needs to be. It’s more tonal than not, with a fairly slow rate of harmonic motion which is often subverted by a wealth of rhythmic detail. There’s a fondness for the Phrygian mode. Developmental techniques are post-minimalist, often involving altered repetitions of an idea. Form is free but surely handled; transitions are more often dissolves than dramatic apposition. One example of how this works can be found in the first movement of the first quartet, at about 4:20: a mocking jig-like violin tune is dragged down by its accompaniment, before it breaks free in joy before being dissolved in the flow. In Blood, Forgotten, the title track, solo violin is set against an electroacoustic track generated by a violin that made it through the Holocaust, doubtless a Strad from the master’s Czech period. Its somewhat tinny sound provides a piquant contrast to the soloist. There’s very little manipulation of the violin sound, so those allergic to “electronic music” need not fear. The Quartet No. 2 also involves prerecorded sound, from the composer’s family archives. This always appears with a recurrent hymnlike section, the first several times as speech, the last as song, giving the quartet a sort of choral finale (a notion pioneered by Schoenberg in his second quartet). The Nowakowski family sings the war song Hej Ulani, they fade away, and the work ends in C major, with the 1st Violin moving from C to G to provide a subtle open-ended feel. This appears to be the Voxare Quartet’s first solo album; they’ve previously shared albums of music by Spinei and Moravec. They play with the kind of passion and accuracy that a composer dreams of. Buy this; you’ll thank yourself even more than Mark’s 3 kids will." Report Abuse
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