Pipistrelle Music is a new CD label founded by Alison in 2009 with the goal of bringing innovative artistic collaborations of diverse kinds to the listening world. Pipistrelle’s developing catalogue includes Baroque and Renaissance music, outside-the-box classical, and world music with a twist. Currently carrying titles by the genre-bending Ensemble Polaris and Melville herself, discs from this catalogue have earned international critical acclaim, from a BBC Music Magazine’s Disc of the Month nomination, to Toronto Star reviewer John Terauds’s “Prepare to be enchanted.”
Pipistrelle’s catalogue, now available for digital download through most on-line digital vendors, will be physically distributed across North America by Naxos of America beginning in October 2010. Check your local CD vendor in the United States or Canada.
For sales outside Canada and the USA, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for Naxos website.
Or you can purchase digital downloads at your preferred online vendor.
New release for March 2014 from
RACHEL MERCER: BACH SUITES FOR SOLO CELLO
Available March 4/14 (digital vendors);
March 25/14 (physical copies in-store)
Pipistrelle Music is delighted to announce the March 2014 release of BACH SUITES FOR SOLO CELLO performed by RACHEL MERCER, one of Canada’s most celebrated cellists whose career as a soloist and chamber musician has taken her across five continents. This recording is Mercer’s second solo recording, and features all six of Bach’s remarkable suites on two discs. The physical CD will be available for purchase as of March 25/14; digital downloads were available as of March 4/14.
Rachel Mercer performs this iconic music on the 1696 Bonjour Stradivarius cello, an exquisite instrument loaned to her between 2009 and 2012 by the Canada Council Instrument Bank. Describing her first encounter with the cello, Mercer says, “I still remember drawing the open C-string and feeling the quivering life of this beautiful instrument, an instrument which had already been alive for 20 years when these Suites were written.” Composed around 1720, Bach’s solo cello suites have been a part of Rachel Mercer’s musical life since her earliest days in Suzuki class. Eventually she studied and performed them all, and throughout her illustrious and varied career she has always come back to these pieces for the grounding, peace and focus they provide. This recording is a testament to Mercer’s personal journey with Bach, and a memento of her three years with the Bonjour Stradivarius cello.
In her notes for this CD, Mercer expresses the hope that her listeners “may find some connection to this music that resonates deep within, as I have had the great fortune to experience.” In this recording, which captures the energy and atmosphere of an intimate live performance, she offers us a masterful, insightful and deeply personal rendition of these celebrated suites.
Catalogue number: PIP1403
Total running time: 140’29 (CD 1: 65’17; CD 2: 75’12)
Release dates: March 4/14 (digital), March 25/14 (physical)
Described as a ‘pure chamber musician’ (Globe and Mail) creating ‘moments of pure magic’ (Toronto Star), Canadian cellist RACHEL MERCER has demonstrated her love for sharing music through performance since she was three years old. Winner of the 2009 Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition, Rachel was awarded the use of the 1696 Bonjour Stradivarius cello until 2012. Grand Prizewinner of the 2001 Vriendenkrans Competition in Amsterdam, Rachel made her European debut in the Concertgebouw and has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician on five continents. She is a member of the Ensemble Made in Canada, Mercer-Park Duo, Seiler Trio, and Artistic Director of the ‘5 at the First’ concert series in Hamilton, ON. Besides this release on Pipistrelle, she can be heard on Naxos, Dalia Classics and EnT-T.
“Rachel Mercer...brings a clear and always intelligent focus to the depths.”
—Peter Grahame Woolf, Musical Pointers
DIALECTICS: Expressions in Solo Percussion
RICHARD MOORE, percussion, cimbalom, santur.
Jacques Philidor: March for Two Kettledrums (1685);
Mark Glentworth: Blues for Gilbert (1983, vibraphone);
Richard Moore: Dialectics (1999, solo bass drum);
Bela Bartok: Andante (1908, arr. for cimbalom);
Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes (1966, drum set);
Fredrik Schwenk: Aina Yön Saapuessa (1993, hackbrett-cimbalom);
Javier Alvarez’s Temazcal (1984, maracas and CD playback);
J.S. Bach: Cello Suite in C Major (1729, arr. for marimba);
Traditional Persian improvisation (santur).
DIALECTICS delivers an evocative array of music ranging from J.S. Bach, Bartok and Jacques Philidor to Max Roach, Javier Alvarez and others. Moore also features as the composer of a three-movement piece for bass drum after which the CD is named, and improvises music in the Persian style to close the disc.
Employing a diverse selection of voices from the percussion family and a different instrument for each piece, the program also features the Hungarian cimbalom, the Austro-Bavarian hackbrett-cimbalom and the Persian santur, all from the hammered dulcimer family.
This innovative program deftly reveals the richness of music and spirit of percussion instruments from diverse cultures and musical eras.
ENSEMBLE POLARIS: The Russian Expedition
Premiered at St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre in December 1892, Tchaikovsky’s music for The Nutcracker received glowing praise, but the ballet production itself was not a roaring success. No one could have predicted that almost seventy-five years later The Nutcracker would become a festive season favorite, a ‘Christmas bonus’ for ballet companies around the world.
In their brand-new release Nutcracker Nouveau, Canada’s critically acclaimed Ensemble Polaris celebrates Tchaikovsky’s popular music in whimsical arrangements guaranteed to amuse and delight, juxtaposed with instrumentals and songs from Russian folk tradition.
With influences ranging from traditional Scandinavian, bluegrass, Roma and Klezmer to Chinese classical and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and a dazzling array of instrumental colors, Polaris gives their unparalleled creative touch to this beloved music and to tunes from Tchaikovsky’s homeland. Music to bring you good cheer, at any time of year!
“Ensemble Polaris continues to delight on all levels – conceptually, musically and creatively... the ensemble achieves a musical cohesion and level of communication and symmetry that might not seem possible on paper…”
—The WholeNote, 2012
“Ensemble Polaris is a gem.”
—The Voice, 2012
Windermere String Quartet: The Golden Age of String Quartets.
A critically-acclaimed first release by Toronto’s Windermere String Quartet, featuring quartets by Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart played on period instruments. Engaging, intense and thoughtful peformances!
Released May 2012. Available in stores across North America, and digitally worldwide.
‘Playing period instruments, Rona Goldensher (violin), Elizabeth Loewen Andrews (violin), Anthony Rapoport (viola) and Laura Jones (cello) transport listeners through time to the aristocratic halls of 19th century Austria, where many of classical music’s most celebrated works were first performed. The quartet’s choice of repertoire is impeccable, demonstrating taste and technique….A delight to hear.’
— Chris Morgan, Scene Magazine
‘Persuasive care went into the Windermere’s choice and preparation of classical period quartets they accord “historically informed performance on period instruments.”… The Windermere’s approach has an attractive, earthy honesty…Well engineered and recorded, this disc will reward repeated listening.’
Ensemble Polaris: UNCHARTED WATERS
Drawn from sessions recorded in April 2009 and January 2011, Uncharted Waters offers 18 tracks running the gamut from evocative laments to sizzling dance tunes, and includes several new charts by members of the band. This is Polaris’s much-anticipated fourth CD.
The whimsical artwork for the cover, tray card and booklet was created especially for the disc by Toronto-based artist Loree Ovens (www.loreeovens.com), and the elegant design is by Yesim Tosuner (www.backyarddesign.ca).
Released February 2012. Available in stores across North America, and digitally worldwide.
In truth it’s not how far afield we’re taken by Uncharted Waters that reflects Ensemble Polaris’ particular genius. It’s how the group leads us to rediscover what we’ve loved all along — a heartbreaking melody, a snappy dance beat — in the guise of some unexpected form.’
— Peter Goddard, Toronto Star
‘Wonderful music that refuses to be pigeon holed. Exotic instruments, accomplished players and great ideas come together for something quite unique.’
— Customer review, iTunes
‘The musicianship is outstanding and the Ensemble plays with joy and wit. Even my children like this one.’
— Customer review, cduniverse.com
The Business of Angels
The Business of Angels - Cover
The Business of Angels - Booklet
The Business of Angels explores recorder music from the cosmopolitan and eccentric musical world of early 18th-century London.
Sonatas, divisions and other tunes by Corelli, Händel, Wm. Topham, Paisible, Daniel Purcell, Mercy and several others come enthusiastically to life as played by Alison and Lucas Harris, guitar and archlute; Borys Medicky, harpsichord; Joëlle Morton, bass viol; and Nadina Mackie, baroque bassoon.
Available in stores across North America, and digitally worldwide.
‘Si l’angélisme est une entreprise, alors celle de ces musiciens de Toronto est promise à une belle prospérité… les pièces sur ce disque constituent de beaux exemples de musique profane anglaise du 17e siècle…jouées avec brillance par les musiciens torontois. Alison Melville est une interprète de premier niveau…’
‘Alison Melville is one of Canada’s leading recorder players; her performances here combine scholarship, elegance and vitality, and capture the spirit of the music with authority and conviction. The four continuo players enable various combinations to be selected that provide both substance and transparency. Deserving of special note is the bassoon playing of Nadia Mackie Jackson…a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable disc.’
—The Recorder Magazine (UK)
Alison can be contacted at email@example.com.
Photo Credits: Paul Orenstein (banner); Colin Savage