April 26, 2011
From: Jazz Promo Services
Announcing the release of his new CD on New World Records entitled Sacred Works and the recent publication of numerous scores available on jamesnewtonmusic.com
Composer: James Newton
Album Title: James Newton Sacred Works
Cat. No.: 80714-2
Release Date: 03/2011
Elissa Johnston, soprano; Tracy Van Fleet, mezzo-soprano; Daniel Chaney, tenor; Abdiel Gonzales, bass-baritone; Gary Woodward, flute; Gary Bovyer, clarinet; RalphMorrison, violin; Kazi Pitelka, viola; Cécilia Tsan, cello; David Young, bass; Vicki Ray, piano; Lynn Vartan, percussion; Gloria Cheng, piano; Julie Feves, bassoon; Mark Menzies, piano; Grant Gershon, conductor
The centerpiece of the new CD Sacred Works is the Mass. James Newton’s desire to compose a Mass was greatly impacted by two concerts performed in the last decade. In these performances at Disney Hall, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the LuckmanJazz Orchestra surveyed the sacred music of Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington. The joy of co-conducting with Grant Gershon was a truly unforgettable experience for him. Though non-improvising classical ensembles commissioned the majority of this music the music is infused with the language of James’ experiences as a composer/improviser. The Credo was commissioned by Southwest Chamber Music with the support of Meet The Composer’s/ Commissioning Music USA. After the premiere of the Credo, the Metastasio Festival in Prato, Italy commissioned the completion of the Mass. The World premiere of the full Mass took place on February 4, 2007 at the Chiesa di San Francesco in Prato, Italy.
In the late summer of 2009 Grant Gershon assembled a wonderful group of Los Angeles-based singers and instrumentalists from the Los Angeles Opera and the Los Angeles Master Chorale and recorded the Mass in Zipper Hall at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. In December 2009 In A Moment, In The Twinkling of An Eye was recorded. It is a work for soprano voice, clarinet, bassoon and piano inspired by both John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and Olivier Messiaen’s Quatour Pour La Fin Du Temps. During February 2010 pianist Gloria Cheng recorded Between The Cherubim, a work for solo piano in three movements. Each of the movements is dedicated to pianists Jason Moran, Don Pullen and Emanuele Torquati.
The Mass was influenced by the fact that it is celebrated at different times on the Sabbath by a huge diversity of cultures across the world. Imagine that as the day progresses through different time zones others echo this worship through their unique culturalresonances. A priest once described how the rooftops of different churches open up and the Glory of God pours in for the holy celebration. This cultural plurality, holy infusion and movement of time intone the journey of bringing together a work that reflects the colorful rainbow of God’s creation.
An important mission of the music was to combine diverse musical languages to create and define new common ground that reflects our challenges, aspirations and dialogue with the God of God. James Newton endeavored to adapt his experiences as a composer/flutist and conductor, who has worked in Jazz, Classical and World Music, to the music just as God has connected diverse people for His glory.
For Newton the Credo is the centerpiece of the Mass. It is the profession of one’s faith, one’s belief in the Holy Trinity and the radiance of the Light of Christ shining through the luminescence of eternity. It acknowledges His perfect sacrifice and the inimitable gift of all gifts that Christ has given his believers and it invites all to accept Him as Savior.
In the process of composing the Mass, Newton was deeply touched by the writings and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the writings of Thomas Merton. The quiet beauty of his family’s surroundings in Corrales, New Mexico, also enthused the nine-month journey of completing this humble offering of faith.
Please also visit James Newton’s website where you can find many new downloadable publications of scores, a flute technique book as well as different recordings for sale.
There are also a few free downloads. The website address is jamesnewtonmusic.com
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