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Kandinsky Trio: On Light Wings (OmniTone 15219)

With a soaring spirit of wonder, imagination, and adventure, the  Kandinsky Trio's On Light Wings spans the American musical worlds of jazz, classical, and creative improvisation.  Journey through three world premieres — across a long musical bridge, through the haunts of silent film, and on the hunt with an iconic American composer to find his unique voice within 20th century music.

Jazz makes its presence known throughout all three works. Composer/jazz trumpeter John D'earth wrote Natural Bridge for the Kandinsky with the addition of guitar and bass (on this recording, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Paul Langosch, respectively). Rosenwinkel describes Natural Bridge as “a wonderful journey through diverse musical landscapes that showcases the Kandinsky's natural eclectic vision, enthusiastic and open-minded spirit, virtuosity and cohesiveness, and juxtaposes modern jazz guitar as the lead narrative voice, blending sonic and stylistic territories.”[Read composer's notes]

The Trio commissioned D'earth's beautifully creepy Silent Faustus as an adaptation of his full score for F W Mernau's 1926 silent film masterpiece, Faustus.  This condensed version is a musical evocation of Faust's pact-with-the-devil story, but reworked to push the performers' limits in new ways. [Read composer's notes]

On Light Wings takes its name from the subtitle of Gunther Schuller's 1984 four-movement Piano Quartet, performed here by the Kandinsky and guest British violist Roger Chase.  A metaphor for the work's generally light character, Schuller says the piece "results not so much from 'experimentation' or any kind of radical attempts at 'originality,' but rather from an urge to identify a recognizable, personal language."  The last movement, Bagatelle (With Swing) "attempts once again to bring the strings into the world of modern jazz — an idiom to which this category of instruments (and instrumentalists) has been curiously resistant," notes Schuller.  [Read composer's notes]

Buy On Light Wings now at the OmniTone store.

Kandinsky Trio
Benedict Goodfriend, violinAlan Weinstein, cello, cello percussionElizabeth Bachelder, piano
Roger Chase, violaPaul Langosch, bassKurt Rosenwinkel, guitar

For sound samples, click on Play [MP3 sample]

Natural Bridge (John D'earth)
1.  Three Preludes (7:51) Play
2.  N'goni (5:23) Play
3.  Polysketch (2:29) Play
4.  Quist (3:03) Play
5.  Scherzo (4:39) Play
6.  Chromaticus (3:57) Play
Silent Faustus (D'earth)
7.  Act I, Part 1 (The Wager) (1:40) Play
8.  Act I, Part 2 (Faust Labors) (2:37) Play
9.  Act II, Part 1 (Plague) (2:27) Play
10.  Act II, Part 2 (The Crossroads) (3:58) Play
11.  Act II, Part 3 (Badness, Mayhem, Enchantment) (4:31) Play
12.  Act III (Songs of Home) (5:46) Play
13.  Act IV (Happy Ending) (2:34) Play
Piano Quartet ("On Light Wings") (Gunther Schuller)
14.  I. Impromptu (4:38) Play
15.  II. Scherzo (3:58) Play
16.  III. Fantasia (4:51) Play
17.  IV. Bagatelle (3:38) Play


Silent Faustus and Piano Quartet ("On Light Wings") recorded on  16-19 August 2011 at Hollins College Chapel in Roanoke, Virginia.
Natural Bridge recorded on 25-26 May 2012 at Wilson Recital Hall, Lenfest Center, Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Recording and Mixing Engineer and Producer: Jamey Lamar (Art Music Recording)
Co-engineer: Kevin Edlin
Editing Engineers: Phil Norman, Jamey Lamar
Mastering Engineer: Bill Sigmund (Visible Island Studios)

Production Assistant: Graham Spice (Washington and Lee University Department of Music)
Photographers: Amy Nance Pearman, Greg Vaughn
Cover Painting: "Mille Lacs Clouds" by John Pearson (John Pearson Studio)
Album Designer: Frau Kranift

Executive Producer: Frank Tafuri

Kurt Rosenwinkel appears courtesy of wommusic.

Natural Bridge is dedicated to the loving memory of Jenny Smyth.

Special thanks to: The Carpenter Foundation, Roanoke College, David Krantz, Andrew Lyford, Martin Irving, Patricia Raun, and Jane Wang.

This project has been made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of
American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.

Visit the Kandinsky Trio's website at:

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