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Leaf Music and Luminous Voices Present: Fire-Flowers

(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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MEDIA CONTACT:  

For more information/photos or to arrange interviews please contact Peggy Walt,  peggy@leaf-music.ca (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell).

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Leaf Music Distribution Presents The Robbie Songs Project: A Legacy Choral Tribute to Robbie Smith

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music announces the long-anticipated distribution of a new album of the music of Nova Scotia songwriter Robbie Smith, (1954-2019) a prolific songwriter who performed in the folk duo Naming the Twins (www.namingthetwins.com) for the last eleven years of his life. To fulfill his wish to keep his music alive after his untimely passing, musical partner Kathleen Glauser embarked on an ongoing project with the Nova Scotia Choral Federation, including having 30 of Robbie Smith’s pieces arranged for choirs, set by sixteen of Canada’s best composers like Larry Nickel, Gary Ewer, Donna Rhodenizer, Mary Knickle, Tom Leighton, Frances Farrell, Mark Sirett, Stephen Smith, and others.

The new recording features many well-known Nova Scotian choirs: Cantabile Singers of Truro, Halifax Gay Men’s Chorus, Polaris (of Choirs for Change), Nova Voce, The Aeolian Singers, Middleton Choral Society and Dartmouth Choral Society, with additional participation in a massed choir piece by Halifax Newcomer Choir, EnChor East and Coastal Voices Men’s Choir.

Featured titles of Robbie Smith’s well-loved songs include A Peaceful Song (arranged by Terry Hurrell), Lay Down Your Weapons (arranged by Byron Hermann), and the popular Let’s Have Some Music (arranged by Laura Hawley). Working from a rough demo of the song, composer Hawley crafted a choral arrangement capturing its joyous spirit and uplifting lyrics that became an instant hit at concerts following the pandemic.

Some pieces on the new recording were previously recorded by Naming the Twins on their albums. Choirs can purchase the music for nineteen of the pieces in SATB, SSAA or TTBB parts through publisher Cypress Choral Music or borrow parts from the Nova Scotia Choral Federation. More information is available here: https://nscf.ca/the-robbie-songs-project/.

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MEDIA CONTACT:  

For more information/photos or to arrange interviews, please contact Peggy Walt, peggy@leaf-music.ca (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell). 

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Leaf Music Distribution Presents Anders Muskens and Eclectic New Early Music, Army of Generals Volume II

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music announces the distribution of two distribution from early music specialist Anders Muskens. The two recordings are all being released on December 1.

Anders Muskens is a Canadian early keyboard specialist and ensemble director, who performs throughout North America and Europe. One of his two new releases, Army of Generals Volume II: Carl Theodor’s Court Orchestra in Mannheim 1742-1778, revives the eighteenth-century’s Mannheim Court Orchestra. Revered across Europe as one of the finest musical institutions of its day, the revolutionary style of the orchestra’s composers coupled with its awe-inducing performances inspired an entire musical generation, including Mozart. The Mannheim court sought to create a harmonious society built on knowledge, reason, and artistic expression. Composers Anton Fils, Johann Stamitz, Christian Cannabich, Nicolo Jommelli, Gian Francesco de Majo and Anton Schweitzer are featured with the Neue Mannheimer Orchester, Muskens on harpsichord, concertmaster Mojca Gal and Elisabeth Hetherington (Canadian soprano). The CD was recorded at the German Evangelical Church in The Hague, Netherlands, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. 

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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MEDIA CONTACT:  

For more information/photos or to arrange interviews please contact Peggy Walt,  peggy@leaf-music.ca (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell). 

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Leaf Music Distribution Presents VB8 Ensemble and Winter Magic

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music announces the distribution from Montreal’s acclaimed VB8 vocal ensemble. This recording are all being released on December 1.

VB8 (vocesboreales.org) has recorded its first CD, Winter Magic: A 21st Century Christmas (Magie d’hiver). Founded in 2006 and now under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Gray, Voces Boreales chamber choir has carved out an enviable position in the classical music world. In 2019, they created a new vocal octet, VB8, who’ve collaborated with artists like Quatuor Bozzini, BradyWorks and Karen Young. Their first album of songs for the festive season features almost all works written in the last 35 years, apart from two traditional French carols. The disc starts and ends with a favourite composer of the group, Arvo Part, and includes three Canadian composers: Elizabeth Ekholm, Louis Desjarlais and Benjamin Sigerson. The deliberate omission (for the most part) of traditional Christmas carols allows for year-round listening, yet is perfect for holiday traditions, a perfect backdrop to tree trimming or basking in the quietude of a Christmas morning. 

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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MEDIA CONTACT:  

For more information/photos or to arrange interviews please contact Peggy Walt,  peggy@leaf-music.ca (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell). 

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Leaf Music and Jaap Nico Hamburger Present: Tzimtzum

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music and composer Jaap Nico Hamburger are releasing Tzimtzum on November 17, 2023. The new recording presents eight of Hamburger’s pieces, recorded in Montreal and Wolfville, NS between 2021 and 2023.

Jaap Nico Hamburger (jaaphamburger.com) is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer and Composer in Residence at Montreal’s Mécénat Musica. His compositions include commissions from orchestras and chamber ensembles, and his works have been performed and recorded in Canada, The Netherlands and Israel. He was commissioned by the United Nations and the Government of the Netherlands to compose a new concerto for harp and orchestra that was premiered for the 75th anniversary of the International Court of Justice. His second chamber symphony, Children’s War Diaries, was nominated for the Dutch National Composer’s Award and the 2022 JUNO award for Best Classical Composition. In addition, he contributed work to the 2023 JUNO-nominated Best Classical Album. Hamburger’s first opera, Ariella, was recently premiered during a three-city tour in Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City.

The eight tracks feature a stellar group of musicians, including Ensemble ArtChoral (under the direction of Matthias Maute who also conducts Orchestre Classique de Montreal and Ensemble Caprice); Alex Strauss, violin; Victor Fournell-Blain, viola; cellists Yegor Dyachkov and Juan Sebastian Delgado; pianists Ilya Poletaev, Janelle Fung, Michael McMahon, and Philip Chiu, Lara Deutsch, flute; and soprano Measha Brueggergosman-Lee.

The album is being released three weeks ahead of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. The title track, Tzimtzum, (or “contraction”), refers to a term used in Kabbalah to explain 17th century mystic Rabbi Isaac Luria’s doctrine that God began the process of creation by contracting his Ohr Ein Sof (infinite light) so that new creative light could beam. This echoes the theories of Sir Roger Penrose, the 2020 Nobel Prize winner in physics, who claims the universe goes through cycles of death and rebirth and has experienced multiple Big Bangs.

Hamburger, initially trained as a concert pianist, worked in many countries as a cardiologist before moving to Montreal and turning his full attention to composition. “After all my travels around the world, I wanted to express in my music the universality of people, not just that we are all similar, but that we are actually all one, made from the same energy,” he said. Tzimtzum was premiered at Montreal’s Festival Classica’s Lux Aeterna concert in the spring of 2023, and is scored for bells, vocal ensemble/soloists, harp, and cello.

The other intimate smaller form works on the album are guided by moments from the composer’s life: a blue dress in a painting; a piece for two pianos recalling a rhythm and blues band from his youth; poems by a German-Jewish expressionist woman writer who fled the Nazis; and the largest scale work, Concerto Antico, a “reawakening of 18th-century dance returned to life in the 21st,” according to Dr. Charles Barber’s liner notes. Concerto Antico was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and is dedicated to the memory of Maestro Boris Brott (1944-2022); Souvenirs Fugaces for solo piano was also supported by the Canada Council.

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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MEDIA CONTACT:  

For more information/photos or to arrange interviews please contact Peggy Walt,  peggy@leaf-music.ca (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell). 

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Duo Oriana and Leaf Music Present: “How Like a Golden Dream”

Duo Oriana is thrilled to present How Like a Golden Dream, their first record on Leaf Music set to be released on March 17, 2023. Recorded at Humbercrest United Church in Toronto of October of 2022, How Like a Golden Dream is a reflection on the ways people have communed with the night-time throughout history. Soprano Sinéad White and lutenist Jonathan Stuchbery lead the listener through old Irish meditations and English Renaissance melodies, lingering on the nature of night, darkness, and the stories and rituals that have emerged out of the human’s relationship with night-time.

Our modern world makes it easy to forget the importance night-time once held, both as a practical, sensory depriving event, as well as the symbolism and connotations that attached themselves to it for millennia. On this record, White and Stuchbery endeavour to rest in the perspectives of these early people and to inhabit the daily descent into fear, hope, and prayer as the light fades away.  

Part of the inspiration for this record comes from the duo’s desire to inject previously unearthed or largely disregarded material into the modern spotlight. Speaking on the ways in which this music is still relevant today, Stuchbery says, “Part of the wonder of approaching these old folk songs is that the composer, arranger, and performer at any point in the song’s existence could be any and all of the people who have ever sung it—including ourselves”.  

Soprano Sinéad White and lutenist Jonathan Stuchbery are a Toronto based duo breathing life into song traditions that span centuries and evolve in the present day. Both are specialists in the performance of renaissance and baroque music and first started working together in the early music scene in Toronto. The desire to keep making music during the most restricted days of the COVID-19 pandemic brought them together as a duo for the first time to collaborate virtually for a recording and video of an old Irish lullaby. This led them to assemble a program of music from Ireland, Scotland, and England, which reflected their own respective heritages. A film version of this concert is available online presented by Humbercrest United Church as part of their 2021 summer concert series. They are 2022-23 Artists in Residence at St. James Cathedral in downtown Toronto, where they will be presenting concerts, workshops, and integrating their music into cathedral worship.  

White and Stuchbery both have extensive experience in the discipline of historical performance. White is currently a DMA student at the University of Toronto and Stuchbery a recent graduate of the Masters in Interpretation of Early Music at ESMUC in Barcelona. Their formation in this field grounds them in performance practice, yet also inspires them to creativity with new arrangements and compositions. The duo are also actively working to expand the repertoire for lute and voice, through research of little known historical sources and in the composition of new music. They can also be heard together in larger ensemble contexts, such as with the indie early music company Aureas Voces, Tafelmusik, or Theatre of Early Music. 

Duo Oriana ~ How Like a Golden Dream 

Release Date: March 17, 2023 

Physical/Digital Release 

leaf-music.ca 

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Brown | andrew@leaf-music.ca 

How Like a Golden Dream

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“Durme, Durme: Four Ladino Folk Songs” Released by Leaf Music

(Halifax, NS) Halifax’s Leaf Music is releasing Durme, Durme: Four Ladino Folk Songs, with award-winning soprano Maureen Batt and collaborative pianist, Tara Scott. This new work is an exploration of Judeo-Spanish poetry and song. Composer Elisha Denberg (elishadenburg.com) notes that Sephardic traditions were shared in his family through the teachings and performances of his uncle, Moshe Denburg and grandmother, Miriam Ben-Ezra Denburg, and he’s used “the poems’ traditional melodies as springboards to a newly rendered work, in the Jewish tradition of ‘renewing days as of old.’” The work was supported by a commission from the Ontario Arts Council. Texts and translations are edited by Daisy Sadaka Braverman.

The four songs range from a simple lullaby (Durme, durme, or Sleep, sleep), to the intense solo vocal, liturgical/cantorial chant of Ir me kero, madre, a Yerushalayim (I want to go, mother, to Jerusalem). Inspired by the Hineni (Here I am), a synagogue prayer chanted on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), this prayer is sung by the cantor asking God to accept both personal and communal prayers on behalf of the entire congregation. The traditional melody is used in the refrain, En El me arimo Yo (In Him I place my trust).
 
Elisha Denburg has composed vocal music and chamber works for ensembles such as Access Contemporary Music, TorQ Percussion Quartet, Halifax Camerata Singers, The Array Ensemble and Essential Opera, who commissioned his one-act opera about the first female rabbi, Regina. His music can be heard on CBC Radio 2’s The Signal with Laurie Brown, About Time with Tom Allen, and Tempo with Julie Nesrallah. His three-movement work Sonatina for Vibraphone & Harp is featured on Angela Schwarzkopf’s JUNO-winning album detach.

Soprano Maureen Batt (maureenbatt.com) focuses on celebrating Canadian classical contemporary music and is an ECMA and JUNO nominee and winner for her discography. She’s the co-artistic director of Essential Opera, and founded Crossing Borders, a contemporary Western classical music recital series that has toured programs in the United States, Canada and Colombia and produced digital broadcasts. Maureen is a frequent festival adjudicator and has been regularly on the faculty of the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. Having premiered many new opera roles by Canadian composers, she most recently won the Classical Recording of the Year at the 2022 ECMAs for her Lighthouse project with Grej.

Tara Scott (piano) is one of Atlantic Canada’s most renowned collaborative pianists. She’s worked across Canada with singers, instrumentalists and choirs, and co-founded Halifax Summer Opera Festival, now in its sixteenth season. She’s been Music Director for shows with Neptune Theatre, Eastern Front and Essential Opera, and has performed with Opera Nova Scotia, Opera New Brunswick and Halifax Theatre for Young People. Tara maintains a busy private piano study and teaches at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. This EP is Tara’s second commercial release, her first being the JUNO-nominated Breathing in the Shadows with song cycles by Saman Shahi.
 
The album was recorded at St. Andrew’s United Church in Halifax in October of 2022.  
 
This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters, with support from Music Nova Scotia and Arts Nova Scotia. Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.
 
Release Date:  February 3, 2023
UPC 3191684102160
Catalog Number LM2032 

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Note to editors:  For more information/photos or to arrange interviews please contact Peggy Walt,peggy@culturalaffairs.ca, (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell).

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Christina Raphaëlle Haldane Releases Debut Album: “Tu me voyais”

Christina Raphaëlle Haldane is thrilled to present Tu me voyais, her first record on Leaf Music set to be released on October 21, 2022. Tu Me Voyais is the result of the collaboration between Haldane and Carl Philippe Gionet, along with several other artists, writers, and composers who have contributed their own offerings.

The album is anchored around Gionet’s new arrangements of Twelve Acadian Folk Songs, tailored for Haldane’s voice. These re-imaginings are set in the 19th century lieder aesthetic or art song where voice and piano play equal solo parts within the musical architecture.  

Carl’s approach to the Acadian folk song arrangements is rooted in the oral tradition, where music and texts are passed orally from generation to generation, without the use of musical notation. He selected folk songs that were already committed to his memory, passed on to him orally from family members and childhood musical activities. In the arrangements, Carl has remained as faithful as possible to his musical memory. He has also taken liberties with the traditional texts, often re-working the order of the storytelling, making omissions, and creating repetitions to enhance the dramatic arc of the pieces. 

Christina Haldane’s career spans the UK, Europe, Asia and North America, and she is currently based in Canada’s Atlantic provinces. She has interpreted many lead opera roles, having performed for opera houses such as The Finnish National Opera, The Royal Opera Covent Garden, Scottish Opera and Musica Viva Hong Kong. Her specialty is performing Handel’s Heroines, Comedic Bel Canto roles and Contemporary opera. Christina enjoys performing and curating recital and chamber music concerts, and she is often invited to perform with leading orchestras. Her exploration of contemporary music has led to many collaborations with composers, and she continues to bring their vocal works to life. Christina is a bilingual English and French speaker with Acadian heritage, and she is proud to be a citizen of Canada and Great Britain.  

Christina Haldane – Tu me voyais 

Release Date: October 21, 2022

https://christinahaldane.com/ 

Tu me voyais is available to stream on all major streaming platforms.

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Alice Ho Releases New Album: “A Woman’s Voice”

“A Woman’s Voice” is an album written for female voices and piano. The repertoire is inspired by literature that celebrates the female spirit and their challenging, and changing, roles throughout history. The multi-lingual lyrics (English, French, and Mandarin) reflect the multicultural Canadian ethos and presents a wide spectrum of text, including ancient Chinese poems from the Tang Dynasty, a war poem by English poetess Charlotte Mew, as well as Alice Ho’s collaborations with seven Canadian writers across the provinces: Marjorie Chan, Madeleine Thien, Carole Languille, Phoebe Tsang, Tong Wang, Thomass Muir, Anna Camara, and Michael O’brien. These writers span a wide range, both in their racial and geographic diversity, as well as where they are in their careers. 

 “A Women’s Voice” features an “all Canadian” lineup. Many astounding young performers have contributed passionately to this album, including pianist/vocalist Jialiang Zhu, coloratura lyric soprano Vania Chan, soprano Katy Clark, soprano Maeve Palmer, soprano Ariadne Lih, mezzo-soprano Alex Hetherington, pianist/writer Tong Wang, and cellist Andrew Ascenzo

This recording intends to aim the spotlight at women’s empowerment and strength by leading the audience through a cross-cultural musicscape, and ultimately serves as a reflection on how women of the past and present navigate love, desire, grief, and hardship.

One of the most acclaimed composers writing in Canada today, Hong Kong born Alice Ping Yee Ho has written in many musical genres and received numerous national and international awards, including the 2022 Nova Scotia Symphony’s Maria Anna Mozart Award, 2022 Barlow General Commissioning Award, 2019 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize, 2016 Louis Applebaum Composers Award, 2014 Prince Edward Island Symphony Composers Competition, 2014 Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Friendship Orchestral Composition Competition, 2013 Dora Mayor Moore Award for “Outstanding Original Opera” for her opera The Lesson of Da Ji, and the 2013 Boston Metro Opera International Composition Competition, K.M. Hunter Artist Award, du Maurier Arts Ltd. Her upcoming project is a new opera called CHINATOWN commissioned by City Opera Vancouver with renowned Canadian writer/librettist Madeleine Thien and Hoisanese co-writer Paul Yee, premiering September 13-17 at the Vancouver Playhouse.