A Far Cry Releases "Dreams & Prayers," First CD On Its New Label, Crier Records

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Premiere Recordings - Works by Hildegard, Sanlikol, Golijov and Beethoven | With New Label, “This Increasingly Essential Ensemble” Expands Its Creative Process Beyond the Concert Hall


New York, New York, USA, September 8, 2014 - (PressReleasePoint) - A Far Cry – a tightly-knit “collective” of 17 musicians, self-conducted, based in Boston – was declared an “increasingly essential ensemble” by Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe in his review of the concert that formed the basis of the group’s new recording, "Dreams & Prayers," the debut release on its new label, Crier Records (CR1401). "Dreams & Prayers" century-hops over a millennium of music, juxtaposing A Far Cry’s own arrangements of music by Hildegard von Bingen and Ludwig van Beethoven with recent works by Mehmet Ali Sanlikol (created for and premiered by A Far Cry) and Osvaldo Golijov (an arrangement receiving its first recording by A Far Cry). This premiere release on Crier Records consists entirely of premiere recordings.

“Crier” Miki-Sophia Cloud curated "Dreams & Prayers." She discusses her concept in a personal note, included in the CD package: “I had often experienced the most powerful spiritual presence during the simplest, most earthy moments – the juicy pleasure of the first strawberry of summer, the heart-racing, sweaty thrill of dancing with friends, the cooling, quieting caress of a steady breeze. Being a musician only intensified this connection. Somehow, the simple physical gestures of pulling a bow across a string, dropping my fingers into place, and breathing in unison with others has the power to move, inspire, and heal even the deepest corners of our complex human hearts. This album explores music as a passageway between Heaven and Earth as expressed through the mystical branches of three faith traditions and 1,000 years of history. In each of these four works, something very simple – a single breath, a word, a turn, a note – is transformed into something transcendent, and even holy.”

Composer Osvaldo Golijov enjoys an ongoing relationship with A Far Cry. Commenting on the recording, he states: “As happens with the most inspired mystics in Jewish history, David Krakauer and A Far Cry treat the notes in the score of 'The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind' as coal. They light with that coal a fire whose flames dance with abandon and in communion, reaching always upward and telling all the stories in their ever-changing forms, then letting the ember glow until it becomes the primal silence. The emotion this recording brings me, and my gratitude to David and AFC, are infinite.”

ABOUT CRIER RECORDS | Megumi Stohs, one of the Criers and also the label manager, explains: “Crier Records was born from the desire to take A Far Cry’s concert programming to the next level. Having our own label provides the utmost flexibility to create and release our musical experience to the world in a way that is beautiful inside and out, and to find a unique expression for every project. We are thrilled now to share our whole process – from the spark of a Crier's idea, to the creation of a program, through the rehearsing, the concert, the recording process, and finally the completed realization of that initial spark: something you can hold in your hand and share with the world.” Audiophile quality will be a hallmark of Crier Records; every recording will be released in both standard and high resolution versions. The next two releases on Crier Records will be "Law of Mosaics" (November 2014), premiere recordings of music by Ted Hearne and Andrew Norman; and "History of the Night" (early 2015), a live album drawn from concerts at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, featuring “night music” by Mozart, Bartók, Schoenberg and Dvořák.

*****

DREAMS & PRAYERS | Crier Records (CR1401) | CONTENTS OF THE CD: Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) – "O ignis spiritus paracliti"* | Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol (b. 1974) – "Vecd"** | Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960) – "The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind"*** (David Krakauer, clarinet) | Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) – "Heiliger Dankgesang" from String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132*

A FAR CRY | VIOLIN: Alex Fortes, Ashley Vandiver, Jae Cosmos Lee, Jesse Irons, Megumi Stohs Lewis, Miki-Sophia Cloud, Rebecca Anderson, Robyn Bollinger, Tessa Lark; VIOLA: Frank Shaw, Jason Fisher, Margaret Dyer, Sarah Darling; CELLO: Andrea Lee, Courtenay Vandiver Pereira, Nicholas Finch; BASS: Erik Higgins, Karl Doty

*Premiere recording of arrangement by A Far Cry | **Premiere recording, work commissioned by A Far Cry | ***Premiere recording of orchestral version, arranged by the composer

Total Playing Time – 65:31 | Release date: September 9, 2014 | Standard Resolution recording available in stores, on Amazon.com and iTunes, and at http://www.afarcry.org/ High Resolution DSD128 (5.6MHz) recording available from NativeDSD.com

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About A Far Cry | A Far Cry stands at the forefront of an exciting new generation in classical music. According to The New York Times, the self-conducted orchestra “brims with personality or, better, personalities, many and varied.” A Far Cry was founded in 2007 by a tightly-knit collective of 17 young professional musicians, and since the beginning has fostered those personalities. A Far Cry has developed an innovative process where decisions are made collectively and leadership rotates among the “Criers.” For each piece, a group of principals is elected by the members, and these five musicians guide the rehearsal process and shape the interpretation. Since each program includes multiple works, this multiplicity of leaders adds tremendous musical variety to the concerts. Their omnivorous approach has led them to collaborations with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Jake Shimabukuro, Urbanity Dance, and Roomful of Teeth. By expanding the boundaries of orchestral repertoire and experimenting with the ways music is prepared, performed, and experienced, A Far Cry has been embraced throughout the world with more than three hundred performances coast to coast and across the globe, exciting recordings, and a powerful presence on the internet. The Criers are proud to call Boston home, and maintain strong roots in the city, rehearsing at their storefront music center in Jamaica Plain and fulfilling the role of Chamber Orchestra in Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Collaborating with local students through an educational partnership with the New England Conservatory, A Far Cry aims to pass on the spirit of collaboratively-empowered music to the next generation. http://www.afarcry.org/

About David Krakauer | Internationally acclaimed clarinetist David Krakauer redefines the notion of a concert artist. One of the world’s leading exponents of Eastern European Jewish klezmer music, he is also a major voice in classical music. He has appeared with the Tokyo, Kronos, and Emerson Quartets, plus as soloist with the Dresden, Seattle, and Detroit symphony orchestras, among others. With his band Ancestral Groove, he has transformed the klezmer genre with major appearances at Carnegie Hall and internationally. His discography contains some of the most important klezmer recordings of the past decade, notably "The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind" (Golijov/Kronos/Krakauer on Nonesuch). Consistently defying categorization, Krakauer has enjoyed artistic collaborations with Dawn Upshaw, Itzhak Perlman, John Zorn, Fred Wesley, Music from Marlboro, Abraham Inc, the Klezmatics, John Cage, Danny Elfman, and Socalled. His newest project, The Big Picture, explores the universal search for identity through reimaginations of familiar film themes brought together in a cinematic concert accompanied by original visuals. www.davidkrakauer.com

ABOUT THE MUSIC

"O ignis spiritus paracliti" (from the recording liner note by Kathryn Bacasmot) | “From the age of five, Hildegard von Bingen saw gloriously vivid visions, but it wasn’t until age forty-three, when she was abbess at the Benedictine monastery Disibodenberg, that she began documenting them, then channeling their ecstatic energy into music. What is striking about Hildegard’s music is how elaborate it is in relation to most Gregorian chant being sung during her time—sheer artistic expression marrying form and function. Her music is often noted for its angular yet soaring lines crafted from breathless intervallic leaps. Her persistent, life-long visions were often centered on earthly elements of fire, water, and wind, and the texts to her compositions are preoccupied with expressing the spiritual through nature imagery.”

"Vecd" (from the recording liner note by the composer) | “Vecd (wajd in Arabic) refers to a state of rapture or ecstasy. In Islamic mysticism, Sufi dervishes would try to attain the state of vecd during their ceremonies in which music played a central role. Since vecd is the essence of Sufi ceremonies, in this composition I have tried to capture the essence of several different kinds of Turkish Sufi ceremonies. When doing this I refrained from incorporating the sophisticated modal characteristics (or the so-called ‘microtones’) of Turkish Sufi and Ottoman/Turkish classical music since this piece was being composed for a Western string orchestra. Instead, I decided to base the composition on zikir, the practice of singing repeated rhythmic phrases by Sufi dervishes.” http://sanlikol.com/

"The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind" (from the recording liner note by the composer) | “Eight centuries ago Isaac the Blind, the great kabbalist rabbi of Provence, dictated a manuscript in which he asserted that all things and events in the universe are products of combinations of the Hebrew alphabet’s letters: ‘Their root is in a name, for the letters are like branches, which appear in the manner of flickering flames, mobile, and nevertheless linked to the coal.’ Isaac’s lifelong devotion to his art is as striking as that of string quartets and klezmer musicians. In their search for something that arises from tangible elements but transcends them, they reach a state of communion. The movements of this work sound to me as if written in three of the different languages spoken by the Jewish people throughout our history. This somehow reflects the composition’s epic nature. I hear the prelude and the first movement, the most ancient, in Aramaic; the second movement is in Yiddish, the rich and fragile language of a long exile; the third movement and postlude are in sacred Hebrew.” "The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind" is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

"Heiliger Dankgesang" (from the recording liner note by Kathryn Bacasmot) | “Beethoven’s ‘Holy Song of Thanks by a Convalescent to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode’ is the expansive middle movement of the String Quartet op. 132, completed in 1825. Structurally, it is divided into five distinct parts, alternating three hymn-like ‘holy song of thanks’ sections with the shimmering melodic lightness of two ‘feeling new strength’ sections, forming a set of double variations as each repeats with increasing elaboration. Emotionally, the thanks expressed likely refers to Beethoven’s recovery from an abdominal illness; perhaps, as Maynard Solomon suggests, also paying tribute to the healing powers of music on a beleaguered spirit. The work concludes with a pledge to go forward with conviction and purpose, buoyed by spiritual and physical renewal.”

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