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Atonement: Chamber Works of Jennifer Higdon, Kieren MacMillan, Evan Chambers & Kenji Bunch / Lindsay Kesselman, soprano; Kimberly Luevano, clarinet; Midori Koga, piano

Notes & Reviews:

'Atonement' presents four 21st c. works by four composers born in the decade between 1962-73. Jennifer Higdon, a major figure in contemporary Classical music, is represented here by her Clarinet Sonata (2011). A recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy® in the same year, she enjoys several hundred performances a year of her works. Composer and arranger Kieren Macmillan's substantial and oft-performed catalogue includes musicals, chamber operas, film and theatre scores, pieces for solo instruments and ensembles, concert-length multidisciplinary works, and more. 'The Country Wife' (2013) is a setting of Dana Gioia's poem of the same name for voice and instruments. Kenji Bunch has received worldwide acclaim from audiences, performers, and critics alike for his unique brand of "New American" music, described by him as "locally sourced sounds derived from uniquely American art forms in combination with my classical training and personal vocabulary that honors the past while suggesting new possibilities". His four-part 'Cookbook' (2004, rev. 2006), for viola and piano, is heard here. Evan Chambers is currently Prof. of Composition at the University of Michigan. His works have been heard in concert halls across the US, and have been recognized and awarded numerous prizes. His three-part 'Atonement' (2013) closes this disc.

American Record Guide, September/October 2015
The recital has several fine moments. Once again, Kesselman is captivating in her selections, rendering them with her gorgeous voice, crisp diction, and a compelling tragic character. Her singing and enunciation in the English language are so good and it rolls off her tongue with perfect strength and clarity. Moreover, her wordless chant in the final movement of the Chambers is both vivid and haunting. She sports a very spread tone. And while she has excellent fingers and plays the growls, squeals, and smears in the Chambers with great zest. Koga is terrific at the keyboard, filling her parts with superb touch, technique, and color.


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