Stories » There are touches of Stravinsky, Messiaen, even Villa-Lobos along the way in Derek Bermel's vibrant 'Migrations' score / GRAMOPHONE

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There are touches of Stravinsky, Messiaen, even Villa-Lobos along the way in Derek Bermel's vibrant 'Migrations' score / GRAMOPHONE

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The CV of Derek Bermel (b1967) is as varied and colourful as his music. A clarinettist as well as a composer by trade, the list of his collaborations is extensive and high-profile: the American Composers, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific, Pittsburgh and Seattle Symphony orchestras; Gustavo Dudamel, Tan Dun, Midori, Wynton Marsalis, the Guarnieri and Jack Quartets, the Asko|Schoenberg Ensemble, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music and Jazz ensembles and many more.

Migration Series was inspired by a series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence on the subject of African Americans migrating from the southern to the northern States. The brief song set Mar de Setembro (‘September Sea', 2011) was written for the Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza and its five songs, setting texts by Eugénio de Andrade, incorporate non-classical popular elements in their exploration of Latin American longing. The sense of loss deepens in the final piece, A Shout, A Whisper, and a Trace (2009), Bermel's reflection on Bartók's final years in New York. Curiously, there are touches of Stravinsky, Messiaen, even Villa-Lobos along the way in this vibrant score. The Albany Symphony Orchestra, with their various partners, play superbly – and idiomatically – throughout. Fine sound, too. Recommended.

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