Release Date: October 13, 2017
Catalog #: AR0005
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Chamber
World
Percussion
Piano
String Quartet

Chévere

Arthur Gottschalk composer
John A. Carollo composer
Meira Warshauer composer
Mona Lyn Reese composer
Miguel Matamoros composer
Moisés Simons composer
J.A. Kawarsky composer

Ansonica Records’ new release CHÉVERE richly explores and demonstrates the myriad cultural intersections that have recently become available to American and Cuban musicians. The album came together at a recording session that took place in Havana, Cuba in the month of January in 2017. The release presents a variety of collaborations between American, or American-based, composers and Cuban instrumentalists, arrangers, singers, and composers. Some of these connections are relatively straightforward, while others are more nuanced and personal; yet, they all enrich the compositions on CHÉVERE with the energy unique to the interaction of two powerful musical traditions.

Arthur Gottschalk’s Imagenes de Cuba and John A. Carollo’s In Your Hour of Need represent the album’s most nuanced and personal connections to Cuba. Gottschalk’s work draws on his many trips to Cuba, referencing various elements of modern Cuban culture as observed in his travels. Carollo’s piece, on the other hand, gains its Cuban character directly from the input of CHÉVERE’s producer in Havana, Dayron Ortega, who arranged this work for instrumental ensemble. Originally a piano étude, Carollo and Ortega collaboratively transform In Your Hour of Need into a brilliant and truly fascinating amalgam of Euro-American musical ideas and Cuban instrumentation and orchestration.

Meira Warshauer’s plaintive choral works Oseh Shalom and Akhat Sha’alti represent the classic form of cultural exchange wherein Warshauer’s voice as a Jewish-American composer is brought to life by the renowned Cuban vocal ensemble Schola Coralina. The lyrical, mostly meditative choral works, drawn from Jewish liturgy and set in Hebrew, are rendered in a stunning performance, which is made more meaningful by the blend of cultures it represents.

¡La Habana, Mi Amor! is a three movement piece which originated as three short works by composer Mona Lyn Reese. In collaboration with the musicians of Havana, her piece was arranged for Cuban jazz band and voice and serves as an excellent example of the artistic collaboration between America and Cuba amidst the lifting of various regulations in the American Cuban embargo.

Jay Kawarsky’s Grace Dances, which is loosely inspired by an early Christian text, resembles Warshauer’s works in that its performance marks the cultural exchange between an American composer and Cuban instrumentalists. Grace Dances is scored for oboe and string quartet, and unfolds like a chamber concerto for the oboe. The work opens with a slow, expansive oboe melody, but is most notably characterized by playful, rhythmically active counterpoint. Kawarsky often manipulates the string quartet’s texture and sonic perspective, drawing solo instruments out of the group for brief duos, trios, and quartets with the oboe. Overall, Grace Dances is charming, lovely, and energetic, and even reminds one of Igor Stravinsky’s Jeu des cartes, as both works briefly quote Rossini’s overture to The Barber of Seville.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Imágenes de Cuba: I. Manisero Arthur Gottschalk Apollo Chamber Players | Anabel Ramirez, violin I; Matthew J. Detrick, violin II; Whitney Bullock, viola; Matthew Dudzik, cello 6:46
02 In Your Hour of Need John A. Carollo, arr. D.O. Guzmán Pedro Luis González García, Dania Pérez Fonseca, Moisés Hernández Dumenigo & Carlos David Guerra Serrano, french horn; Vilma Sofía Garriga Comas, piano; Rubén González González, double bass; Leyvis López Wilvert, drums; Eduardo Silveira, congas & batá 10:45
03 Akhat Sha'alti: I. Akhat Meira Warshauer Schola Cantorum Coralina | Alina Orraca, conductor; Alina de los Milagros Orraca Llama, choir director 2:41
04 Akhat Sha'alti: II. Otah Avakesh Meira Warshauer Schola Cantorum Coralina | Alina Orraca, conductor; Alina de los Milagros Orraca Llama, choir director 1:11
05 Akhat Sha'alti: III. Shivti B'vet Hashem Meira Warshauer Schola Cantorum Coralina | Alina Orraca, conductor; Alina de los Milagros Orraca Llama, choir director 4:22
06 ¡La Habana, Mi Amor! (Arr. D.O. Guzmán): I. Cena Romántica Mona Lyn Reese Kat Parra, vocals; Yuniet Lombida, tenor saxophone; Tomy Lowry, trumpet; Alejandro Falcón, piano; Dayron Ortega Guzmán, acoustic guitar; Lázaro Rivero “El Fino”, bass; Oliver Valdés, drums 2:04
07 ¡La Habana, Mi Amor! (Arr. D.O. Guzmán): II. Mi Postre, Mi Amor Mona Lyn Reese Kat Parra, vocals; Yuniet Lombida, tenor saxophone; Tomy Lowry, trumpet; Alejandro Falcón, piano; Dayron Ortega Guzmán, acoustic guitar; Lázaro Rivero “El Fino”, bass; Oliver Valdés, drums; Eduardo Silveira, congas & batá 6:46
08 ¡La Habana, Mi Amor! (Arr. D.O. Guzmán): III. ¡Chocolate Caliente! Mona Lyn Reese, arr. Dayron Ortega Guzmán Kat Parra, vocals; Yuniet Lombida, tenor saxophone; Tomy Lowry, trumpet; Maikel Elizarde, tres guitar; Dayron Ortega Guzmán, classical guitar; Eduardo Silveira, bongos, congos & maracas 3:24
09 Oseh Shalom Meira Warshauer Schola Cantorum Coralina | Alina Orraca, conductor 2:59
10 Son de la Loma - El Manisero Miguel Matamoros, Moisés Simons Maykel Elizarde, tres; Eduardo Silveira, percussion; Yariel Laúd Dayron Ortega, guitar 8:07
11 Grace Dances J.A. Kawarsky Frank Ernesto Fernández Neira, oboe; Ariel Rafael Salduy Méndez, violin; Desiree Justo Castilla, violin; Roberto Herrera Díaz, viola; Alejandro Rodríguez Tirado, cello 8:04

Imágenes de Cuba: I. Manisero
Commissioned and performed by Apollo Chambers Players

In Your Hour of Need
Director of Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba: Daiana García Silveiro
Dedicated to the memory of William K. Dresser, M.D.

Akhat Sha’alti
Choir directed by Alina Orraca

Grace Dances
Director of Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba: Daiana García Silveiro

All tracks recorded January 16-20, 2017 at Abdala 1 in Havana, Cuba

Session Producers Dayron Ortega Guzmán, Bob Lord
Session Engineer Jose Raul Cancino
Editing, Mixing & Mastering Shaun Michaud, Lucas Paquette

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Chris Robinson, Brandon MacNeil

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy
Recording Sessions Manager Levi Brown

Design & Marketing Director Brett Picknell
Design Ryan Harrison
Photography Michael Labrie

Artist Information

Arthur Gottschalk

Arthur Gottschalk

Composer

A man whose music has been described as “infectious , loud, and fun” (Gramophone Magazine), and “fascinatingly strange” (BBC Music Magazine), award-winning composer Arthur Gottschalk is Professor of Music Composition at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. His music is regularly performed domestically and overseas, and his works are recorded and distributed on Navona Recordings, New Ariel, Crystal Records, Summit, Capstone, Beauport Classical, ERMMedia, AURecordings, Golden Crest, MSR Classics, Ablaze Records, Naxos, Amirani (Italy), and Delage (France). His works are published by Subito Music, Shawnee Press, European American Music Distributors, Alea Publishing, Trevco Music, The International Horn Society, Potenza Music, Delage Musique, and The Spectrum Press.

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John A. Carollo

Composer

John A. Carollo studied piano as a child and was a member of a Catholic Church choir which sang for the congregation during weekend services. In 1986, he began composing for the piano and graduated from San Diego State University with a Masters Degree in Psychology.  After moving to Honolulu HI in 1987, he started a career as a mental health counselor and social worker with the State of Hawaii, Department of Health.  In 1997, he began private composition lessons with Dr. Robert Wehrman.

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Meira Warshauer

Composer

Meira Maxine Warshauer’s music has been performed to critical acclaim throughout North America and Europe, as well as in South America, the Middle East, and Asia. Her musical palette is wide, ranging from traditional Jewish prayer modes to minimalist textures with rich melodic contours, and from joyful jazz-influenced rhythms to imaginative orchestrations of the natural world. At its core, it expresses her personal spiritual journey. As Ina Esther Joost, principal cellist with Jerusalem Symphony, observes, Meira’s music comes from a place which is beyond music. It is like a prayer from deep within the soul[and] it always evokes deep responses from the listeners.

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Mona Lyn Reese

Composer

Mona Lyn Reese concentrates on opera, orchestra, and choral music. Her work is melodic and accessible with an emphasis on driving or complex rhythms, movement, and contrasting textures. Her music communicates and expresses emotions traditionally or experimentally without allowing a prevailing fashion to dictate style, form, or harmony.

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J. A. Kawarsky

Composer

Dr. J.A. Kawarsky (b. 1959) is Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton in NJ. Dr. Kawarsky received his B.M. in composition from Iowa State University and his M.M. and D.M.A. from Northwestern University.  At Northwestern he studied with John Paynter, Alan Stout, and Frederick Ockwell. In 1982, Dr. Kawarsky conducted the Opera Company of the Negev Region in Be’er Sheva in Israel. Before coming to Westminster in 1989, he taught at Fort Hays State University, the University of Wisconsin, and Moraine Valley Community College.

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Apollo Chamber Players

Ensemble

Houston TX based Apollo Chamber Players “performs with rhythmic flair and virtuosity” (The Strad) and has “found fruitful territory” (Houston Chronicle) through innovative, globally-inspired programming and multicultural new music commissions. Winner of Chamber Music America’s prestigious Residency Partnership award, the quartet has performed for sold-out audiences at Carnegie Hall, and it holds the distinction of being the first American chamber ensemble to record and perform in Cuba since 1960. Apollo is featured frequently on American Public Media’s nationally-syndicated program Performance Today.

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Dayron Ortega

Dayron Ortega

Guitarist

Dayron Ortega graduated from the ENA in 1996 as a guitarist. His first professional musical group was "Son del Río" in Havana, of which he was the founder. A year later, he became part of the "Melao Son" project, with which he made his first International Tour in Canada. In 2000, he was called to be the founder of the project "Pancho Amat and his Cabildo del Son," in which he performed as an instrumentalist and vocalist (guitar), until the beginning of 2015. With this group he made international tours to different countries: Spain, Italy, Vienna, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, United States, Canada, Qatar, Japan, and Angola.

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Daniel Helfgot

Daniel Helfgot

Author

Opera director, journalist, author and translator, Daniel Helfgot also writes scripts and narrations for dance, cabaret, opera and other theatrical genres. His book The Third Line: the Opera Performer as Interpreter has become a definitive methodology for the opera singer. Helfgot has performed in stage productions including Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires and Franzetti’sTango Fatal, produced numerous radio programs and done camera direction for opera television broadcasts. Helfgot was a music critic in his native Argentina where he also founded and directed the by-monthly Ritmo, a magazine dedicated to the performing arts.

He has earned a Koret Israel Award, an Artist Fellowship from Arts Council Silicon Valley, and was named Opera Director of the Year by the Classical Singer magazine. Helfgot’s directorial roster includes well over 200 productions of more than 100 operas, operettas, and zarzuelas for a myriad of stages in South America, Central America, the USA, and Europe.
Thomas Hassing

Thomas Hassing

Author

Thomas Hassing studied creative writing with Michael Dennis Brown at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and The Loft. He writes poetry, short stories, lyrics, and light verse. He is known for his engaging and comic writing.

He has collaborated with Mona Lyn Reese on many works including Music and Mime at the Five and Dime, Good People of God, Lauda! and Arise and Shine!, and the opera, The Three Fat Women of Antibes.

Other commissions and residencies include: Writer-in-Residence for the Twin Cities Opera Guild production of The Green Children, an educational script for Livingston Symphony Orchestra (Livingston NJ), The Basilica of Saint Mary (Minneapolis, MN), and Ohio’s Continental Harmony Commission. Mr. Hassing is an Intellectual Property attorney. He serves on the board of the sjDanceCo in San Jose, California.

Notes

Literally translated as ‘Images of Cuba’, this work was commissioned by the Apollo Chamber Players as part of their 20X2020 commissioning project. Inspired by my frequent visits to Cuba over the past 10 years, and redolent with the memories of my time as a trombonist in salsa bands during my youth, the work is in three movements: Manisero, a playful examination of an ancient peanut vendor’s cry heard to this day in the plazas of old Havana; Guajira, a typically slow movement which deconstructs the unofficial national anthem of Cuba and, hopefully, depicts some of the yearning and sadness in the Cuban soul after so many years of misunderstandings and oppression; and, lastly, Timba, a boisterous colloquy between the members of the group displaying a panoply of salsa and pachanga motifs and rhythms, illustrating the inseparable alignment of music with dance throughout Cuban history. ¡Viva Cuba! ¡Cuba Libre!
For 4 Horns, Piano, Double Bass, and Percussion
Dedicated to the memory of William K. Dresser, M.D.

This work began as a Piano Etude. I transcribed it for Flute, Bassoon, Horn in F, Xylophone, Piano and Cello between 2-5-14 and 4-12-14 after my partner died. I needed a work to commemorate the day that his soul departed for a new adventure (3-8-14). Bill was a dualist, furthermore, he believed that those who you are close to in this mortal life play meaningful roles in your next life. We will be together again soon.

This new recording is a transcription from the sextet that was sent to the Cuban producer, Dayron Ortega, who collaborated with me on this project. His liberal use of percussion instruments is a welcome addition, especially the cow bell and the bata, which people traditionally use to summon the spirits of the deceased in Afro-Cuban ceremonies. The ending signifies the departing soul after leaving this mortal vale of tears.

It is traditional to read Psalm 27 during the month before and including the Jewish New Year, as part of the season of teshuvah or return. The simplicity of verse 4 always holds my attention and gives me strength throughout the year: “One thing I asked of the Holy Living Essence, this I will seek: that I may dwell in the House of the Holy One all the days of my life.”

In this composition, I hope to convey how it may feel to live (literally “sit”) with awareness of the Holy Presence. The first movement focuses on the word akhat, which means one: one request, one God, one holy Essence creating and pervading the universe in every moment. In repeating and overlapping that word, the chorus creates a texture to hold and embrace us in that intention.

It is understood that Hebrew is a holy language, and that the words themselves embody the meaning they represent. The second movement plays with the sounds of the words Otah Avakesh (this I will request). I felt more extroverted energy in these words, and the chorus sings them with a joyful dynamism that builds in excitement as the movement progresses. A sustained melody of the entire text holds the central core, while otah avakesh dances around it.

The last movement, Shivti b’vet HaShem (that I may sit in the House of the Holy One), returns to a state of calm, integrating the joyous connection with an inner peace, which radiates throughout.

Akhat sha’alti was commissioned by the Coastal Carolina Department of Music, with the support of the Nancy A. Smith Distinguished Visitor Series.

Oseh Shalom (Maker of Peace) is the last movement of my setting of Shacharit, the Jewish morning prayer service. It is the last sentence of the Kaddish, which marks the end of the service. The soothing counterpoint was written during a moment of inner turmoil, as an antidote to conflict. In the context of the larger work, it offers closure for the spiritual journey.

The complete Shacharit (Morning Service), with its full orchestration, can be heard on the Albany Records CD, Streams in the Desert (Troy 973). I subsequently created an arrangement of Shacharit with organ, percussion and chorus, premiered in 2016. The Schola Coralina recording here presents a 2017 a cappella version of Oseh Shalom.

When PARMA suggested I record some of my jazz-style works in Havana, I selected several existing pieces and combined them into the jazz-suite, ¡LA HABANA, MI AMOR! (Havana, My Love!). One of my favorite pieces, “Food for Love”, is an aria from The Three Fat Women of Antibes an opera my husband, Tom, and I wrote. It was originally scored for mezzo soprano and orchestra. “Dîner Romantique”, is a romance for violin and piano and “Hot Chocolate!” is one movement of a work for string orchestra. Tom and I love to tell stories. All the pieces we chose are about food and love. We decided to create a new story and words for the two instrumental pieces. ¡LA HABANA, MI AMOR! is the story of a Cuban woman, Rubí, who falls in love with Evan, a musician who’s playing in Havana. They serenade and seduce each other with food and song.

I. Cena Romántica (Romantic Dinner)
When your date misses a romantic dinner, you sing the blues.

II. Mi Postre, Mi Amor (Food for Love)
“Mi Postre, Mi Amor” is a jazz standard-style song. Harmony and melody in the original reflect the 1930s crooners.

III. ¡Chocolate Caliente! (Hot Choc’late!)
Sultry and sexy ¡Chocolate Caliente! pays tribute to famous swing tunes in its theme and variations format. We’re dancin’ and lovin’ Havana!

Variation 1: Miller Time (String of Pearls; composer, Jerry Gray)
Variation 2: The Band improvises on the main theme.
Variation 3: Mood Swings (In the Mood; composer, Joe Garland)

Son de la Loma” by Miguel Matamoros was first performed by his group, Trío Matamoros. A prolific composer of the traditional Cuban “son,” Matamoros was a notable contributor to Cuba’s musical heritage.

El Manisero” by Moisés Simons is a significant piece of Cuban culture that is hailed as one of the most performed and recorded works by a Cuban composer.

Grace Dances takes its name from the apocryphal “Acts of John,” written in the second century CE. The Nicene Council in 787 refused to admit this text into the New Testament as it made the personage of Jesus into a very human form and not enough of a godhead. Within this beautiful text is Jesus’ round dance. This ecstatic text, which is the inspiration for this work, brings out numerous emotions that I have attempted to present in this composition. The work, for oboe and string orchestra, is in three large sections: an opening slow section which becomes quite rhythmic and (at one point) perhaps, even amusing. The second section slows down the built-up emotion and is reminiscent of chant, only to return to a very rhythmically active and constantly changing metric dance.