Source: New Focus Recordings.
Longleash (violinist Pala Garcia, pianist Renate Rohlfing, cellist John Popham) is a piano trio named after a covert CIA operation during the Cold War to disseminate American avant garde art. The ensemble focuses on contemporary repertoire, and their debut recording, Passage, is a wonderfully refined and colorful survey of some of the best new piano trio repertoire of the last several years, including music by Christopher Trapani and Clara Ionnatta. The works on this release posit a new “common practice”, as composer Nils Vigeland discusses in his liner notes, — an emerging language for instrumental writing that integrates unconventional playing techniques into the fabric of composition for even the most standard of classical instrumentations.
New Morse Code (cellist Hannah Collins and percussionist Michael Compitello) is an intrepid duo with a penchant for creative programming, collaborative projects, and precise, communicative performances. Their debut release, Simplicity Itself, features works written for them by several of the most recognizable names among younger active composers, Caroline Shaw, Robert Honstein, Paul Kerekes, and Tonia Ko, as well as guest appearances by pianist Timo Andres and violinist Katie Hyun. The release has an infectious joy to it and a great shape bookended by Honstein’s pieces.