Cedille Records announced the release of Pacifica Quartet's new album, "Contemporary Voices."
Recorded with saxophonist Otis Murphy, the disc features Shulamit Ran's "Glitter, Doom, Shards, Memory" – String Quartet No. 3, Jennifer Higdon's "Voices," and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Quintet for Alto Saxophone and String Quartet.
"We wanted to play pieces with which we have a close relationship, and the idea of recording music of our time was very attractive to us," violist Mark Holloway told The Violin Channel.
"My quartet is fortunate that some absolutely terrific composers have written for us over the years, so we had a rich and varied repertoire of premieres or dedications to choose from. These three pieces seemed to resonate especially strongly with each other. ‘Contemporary Voices’ was a labor of love, and it was an honor to record this music — only afterward did we realize the happy coincidence that these masterpieces were written by three Pulitzer Prize-winning women!
"There’s quite an emotional journey on this disc. Shulamit Ran’s sonic depiction of what happens when normal life is ruptured by cruelty and evil is inspired by the story of German-Jewish painter Felix Nussbaum, who perished in Auschwitz. I find comfort in the themes of artistic creation, beauty, and memory that are very present in her moving quartet. The uncertainty, isolation, and dark clouds are all too familiar to our lives today during this pandemic and bring into focus the power of music to resist and to heal.
"Jennifer Higdon’s extraordinary 'Voices' is transformational — it opens with a thunderous blitz of chaos that shifts to calm grace and beauty, and offers us hope at the end.
"Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s soulful saxophone quintet is a coming-together of friends, a jazz-inflected celebration of harmony in all its meanings, and the joy of being together. These three works are visceral music that speaks deeply to this moment and to our shared humanity.
"We are beyond thrilled to receive this recognition from the Recording Academy and are humbled to have been nominated together with such extraordinary musicians. The creativity that runs through our musical community is an inspiration. It’s a really gratifying time to be a chamber musician!"
Otis Murphy, saxophone
Release Date: July 10, 2020