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Fifth House Ensemble: 'Excelsior' - Music by Shapiro, Limbacher, Bates & Burhans

Album Summary

>Shapiro, Alex : Perpetual Spark, for flute, piccolo, violin, viola, cello, double bass & piano
>Limbacher, Jesse : Air for oboe, clarinet & bassoon
>Bates, Mason : Red River, for mixed ensemble & electronics
>Burhans, Caleb : Excelsior, for flute, violin, viola, cello
Performers Ensemble Composers
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Notes & Reviews:

The Fifth House Ensemble of Chicago chamber-music group aims for the stratosphere with Excelsior, its adventurous debut album on Cedille Records. The title refers to an experimental, extreme-altitude U.S. Air Force project of the Cold War era. Excelsior presents world-premiere recordings of works by Caleb Burhans, recipient of commissions from Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress; prolific, award-winning composer Alex Shapiro; and Jesse Limbacher, winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. The disc also includes a work by Mason Bates, Chicago Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence. Commissioned by Fifth House Ensemble, Burhans' 30-minute title track depicts Captain Joseph W. Kittinger's 1960 record-setting free fall and parachute landing from a height of more than 19 miles above the earth. Excelsior transports listeners through a seamless, ethereal blend of acoustic and electric instruments and voice, propelled by suspenseful, repeating motifs.

American Record Guide, January/February 2015
Happiness and melancholy are both absent until the first hits of the piano grant the piece emotional direction. The restrained joy is solidified by the soprano voice and the piece's minimalist tendencies continue to populate the soundscape with gentle layers. The movement of each instrument multiplies with excitement.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Chicago recording Company (2013-06-05&2013-09-27_2013-).



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Works Details

>Shapiro, Alex : Perpetual Spark, for flute, piccolo, violin, viola, cello, double bass & piano
  • Ensemble: Fifth House Ensemble (Chamber Orchestra)
  • Notes: Chicago recording Company (2013-06-05&2013-09-27_2013-)
  • Running Time: 7 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2011

>Limbacher, Jesse : Air for oboe, clarinet & bassoon
  • Performers: Crystal Hall (Oboe); Karl Rzasa (Bassoon); Jennifer Woodrum (Clarinet)
  • Notes: Chicago recording Company (2013-06-05&2013-09-27_2013-)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2012

>Bates, Mason : Red River, for mixed ensemble & electronics
  • Ensemble: Fifth House Ensemble (Chamber Orchestra)
  • Notes: Chicago recording Company (2013-06-05&2013-09-27_2013-)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Burhans, Caleb : Excelsior, for flute, violin, viola, cello
  • Ensemble: Fifth House Ensemble (Chamber Orchestra)
  • Notes: Chicago recording Company (2013-06-05&2013-09-27_2013-)
  • Running Time: 31 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 2012