A special eight-page section focusing on recent recordings from the US and Canada

Cipullo . Laitman Cipullo After Lifea Laitman In Sleep the World is Yoursb b Megan Chenovick, aCatherine Cook, a Ava Pine sops aRobert Orth bar Music of Remembrance / Mina Miller Naxos American Opera Classics B 8 669036 (67’ • DDD • T)

talks to... John D Rojak The New York bass trombonist explains the thinking behind his new album, ‘Rojak Rocks’

For their seventh Naxos CD, Seattlebased Music of Remembrance pair world premiere recordings of two recent Holocaust remembrance commissions, joining previous recordings of commissions from composers including Jake Heggie, Paul Schoenfield and Thomas Pasatieri.

Tom Cipullo’s After Life is a discursive, one-act, three-person chamber opera in which the ghosts of Picasso (Catherine Cook), Gertrude Stein (Robert Orth) – more Ma and Pa Kettle than The Ghost and Mrs Muir – and a spiritually innocent young girl (Ava Pine) confront the moral and physical minefields of the Second World War. Cipullo weaves David Mason’s ingenious, rhapsodic libretto into an absorbing, often lively, occasionally desultory narrative told in words and music that is translucently scored and makes full use of the five-member ensemble’s colours, astonishingly vocal at times in their effect.

Lori Laitman’s 18-minute In Sleep the World is Yours is a simpler, more profoundly distilled response to the Holocaust in the form of a mother-and-child song-cycle set to elegiac lyrics by Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, dead at 18 at a Nazi camp in Ukraine. In a sense, Laitman’s three songs continue the conversation about life and art begun in After Life, deeply concerned with the ineffectualness of art during extreme human crises unless the creative force is pure. Stein and Picasso compromised and wound up being unable to distinguish art from life, which robbed their work of its potency.

The clear, full-bodied Benaroya Hall recordings, made in April and May 2015, feature excellent playing by members of

How did you go about choosing the repertoire for ‘Rojak Rocks’? I met Jack Gale while I was subbing on the Broadway show Sweeney Todd. He gave me Three Pieces for bass trombone and jazz rhythm section, a 12-note piece with a jazz feel. I wanted to record it for years so built this project around it. I found other rep that had some commercial aspects and hadn’t been recorded. Sacco’s Sonata fit beautifully into that model, as did Ba-Dee-Doo-Dup, and the Ross concerto. When I played Raph’s Rock, I knew that all could be tied together perfectly.

Why the bass trombone? When I was a freshman in college, there was a bass trombone opening in one of the top ensembles at my school. I thought it would be nice to play in the orchestra so grabbed a school instrument and took the chair. Turns out it was a much better fit for me than the tenor trombone – I like the low notes!

the Seattle Symphony, including cellist Walter Gray, a founding member of the Kronos Quartet. Laurence Vittes

Lansky Idle Fancies. Spirals. Three Moves Gwendolyn Dease marimba/perc Bridge F BRIDGE9454 (50’ • DDD)

Having retiried in 2014 from Princeton, where he served for 45 years, Paul Lansky continues to record for Bridge. This time it’s his complete music for solo marimba performed by the young virtuoso Gwendolyn Dease,

Tell us about the recording of Rock. The Moab Music Festival plays concerts in beautiful venues. One was in Hunter Canyon and I thought it would be fitting to play Rock there. I had planned to record it in a studio, adding drums, but playing in the echoing canyon was far superior. Being brutally hot in summer, we had to finish soon after the sun came over the ridge or my lips would be seared to my mouthpiece.

What’s next, recordings-wise? In July, I’m planning on recording Deep Time for bassoon, bass trombone, cello and bass that Paul Moravec wrote for me. It’s very cool and could be the impetus for another theme.

who won his artistic heart with her selfproduced video of Idle Fancies, an encouraging lesson to the young and entrepreneurially minded.

Idle Fancies is a stunning piece, a 26'33" tour de force for marimba and cowbell, agogo bells, almglocken and other instruments, which seems unassuming at first until an audiophile woodblock effect triggers a series of seductive swirls that engage the ear. Commissioned by a consortium of percussionists and friends organised by Svet Stoyanov, Idle Fancies gives Michigan State University’s Dease an opportunity, with Adam Abeshouse’s exquisite recording, to illuminate the music’s linear pitches and timbres with the marimba’s glow, which functions almost as a physical aura. Getting gramophone.co.uk