(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music and Calgary’s Luminous Voices announce their new album Fire-Flowers, exploring themes of loss, grief, and hope. The album’s centrepiece is Brahms’ beloved Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) in a special collaborative arrangement for two pianos. The Requiem was first composed as a “cantata of grief,” likely inspired by the death of his Brahms’ mother in 1865 and dear friend Robert Schumann in 1856. Two new works by Canadian/American composer Zachary Wadsworth (also a chorister on the album) round out the recording; Battle-Flags, inspired by Walt Whitman’s Civil War experiences, and a setting of E. Pauline Johnson’s Fire-Flowers, a poem of optimism and renewal. The evocative purple flowers, often referred to as “fireweed” in North America, are the first signs of life after a wildfire, a beautiful, symbolic sign of hope emerging from tragedy.
Fire-Flowers was commissioned by Luminous Voices and premiered in November 2021 with the same musicians involved in this recording. Battle-Flags was commissioned by the Choral Arts Society of Washington and premiered in 2015. The recording was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, donor Patricia Grindlay and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Luminous Voices, Calgary’s professional chamber choir, was founded in 2012 by conductor and Artistic Director Timothy Shantz. Luminous Voices comprises some of the best ensemble singers in the Calgary area, collaborating with singers and musicians across North America. The ensemble’s debut release with Leaf Music, Sea Dreams, was nominated for Classical Album of the Year – Vocal/Choral at the 2021 JUNO awards. The group also received an exciting feature in the United States, with NPR offering a national story about the group’s innovative and COVID-friendly “car choir” performances presented at the height of the pandemic.
Featured soloists Laura Brandt (soprano), Jonathon Adams (baritone), Cheryl Emery-Karapita (piano), and Leanne Regehr (piano) collaborated to bring these pieces to life. The recording sessions took place in Calgary, at the Bella Concert Hall, Mount Royal University. In June of 2023. The recording sessions were produced by Jeremy Van Slyke, engineered by Zana Warner, and in-house audio editing by Haruka Nagata.
Leaf Music is an independent recording label based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, making and distributing high-quality classical music recordings by artists and composers from across Canada. Our growing catalogue of solo, orchestral, and chamber music is distributed by Naxos of America to the world’s most important music retailers, download providers, and streaming services. Leaf is also a provider of professional audio and video production, post-production services and integrated music marketing and distribution in Canada.
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