5 min read

For the record: Oct. 8, 2021.

A stunning Album of the Week from Emily D'Angelo… plus listings for new and upcoming releases.

For the Record is a weekly round-up of new and upcoming recordings of interest to the new-music community – contemporary classical music and jazz, electronic and electroacoustic music, and idioms for which no clever genre name has been coined – on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, digital-only formats… you name it.

This list of release dates is culled from press releases, Amazon, Bandcamp, and other  internet stores and sources, social-media posts, and online resources such as Discogs. Dates cited typically correspond to initial U.S. release, and are subject to change. (Links to Amazon, used when all else fails, do not imply endorsement.)

After publication, new listings are incorporated into For the Record: The Master List, a continuously updated resource exclusively accessible to paying Night After Night subscribers, found here.

These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to nightafternight@icloud.com.

Please note that all opinions expressed herein are solely my own, and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

Album of the Week.

Emily D'Angelo (Photograph: Mark Pillai/DG)

Emily D'Angelo
das freie orchester Berlin/Jarkko Riihimäki
Deutsche Grammophon (CD, LP, DL)

Yesterday, Missy Mazzoli moved one step closer to the culmination of her pandemic-rerouted final season as composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, when Riccardo Muti conducted These Worlds in Us at the top of this weekend's subscription-series program. Today, Sarah Kirkland Snider celebrates her birthday. Both have big performances by the New York Philharmonic coming up this season: Mazzoli this month and Snider in June.

As it happens, these gifted creators have one more thing in common to celebrate: the arrival of enargeia, the Deutsche Grammophon debut by Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo. The album, out today on CD and in digital formats, includes substantial works by both composers, alongside selections by a third contemporary artist, Hildur Guðnadóttir.

Music by the 12th century composer, philosopher, and mystic Hildegard von Bingen, arranged by Mazzoli and Snider, completes a thoroughly engrossing project, tied conceptually by the singer to the ancient term for which it's titled:

enargeia (from Greek ενάργεια n./ἐναργής a.; vivid, palpable, distinct, manifest) (en-AR-gee-a) “the quality of extreme vividness, radiance or present-ness [...] a description so vivid it seems to conjure its subject into existence; so powerful it evokes the (unbearable) brightness of being”.

D'Angelo, as I sheepishly confessed in a previous newsletter earlier this week, is mostly new to me; I'd heard a Vaughan Williams recording on which she'd sung, but was otherwise mostly unaware of her stratospheric ascent in the concert hall and opera house. (My attention during the last five years or so largely has been directed elsewhere, it's fair to say.) She's accompanied here by das freie orchester Berlin, a polished and versatile young ensemble, conducted by Jarkko Riihimäki, a Berlin-based Finnish pianist, arranger, and composer, who had a hand in the arrangements. Engineer/producer Jonas Niederstadt, who previously has worked on projects by singers Simone Kermes and Sonya Yoncheva, gives the recording an alluring presence and sheen.

For someone most closely associated with Mozart and Rossini, D'Angelo sounds entirely natural in the music she sings here, virtually all of which was fashioned by composers conversant with pop-music styles, folk-music traditions, and modern-day performing and recording techniques and technologies. Everything on enargeia seems thoroughly considered, lived-in, and natural. The album's programmatic flow is managed with abundant care, each piece meant to lead into the next; fascinatingly, there are two different track sequences, one for the physical album and another for streaming platforms. (I won't claim to have compared their relative effect yet.)

I'm especially struck by the way D'Angelo handles selections from Snider's devastatingly lovely, emotionally gripping song cycle Penelope, a work linked closely to the vocalist featured on its first recording: Shara Nova, a.k.a. My Brightest Diamond. D'Angelo's performance is her own and distinctive, yet it's not a world away from the original; the new performance honors its forebear without slavish mimickry, the sign of a shrewd interpreter and a durable composition.

It's also exciting to see Mazzoli and Snider joining Guðnadóttir on Deutsche Grammophon, a storied imprint laden with history and critical esteem—indeed, newly crowned Label of the Year by Gramophone magazine. Neither required a stamp of approval from a label closely bonded to canonic dead European white male composers, but both have earned their place on the podium, and it's gratifying to see the label recognize their valor.

I'm profoundly grateful to Snider for making me aware of D'Angelo and enargeia by sharing a moody music video for her song "The Lotus Eaters" in an Instagram post earlier this week, because it's wholly possible this could have slipped under the radar otherwise. That's disturbing to envision, because there's no question in my mind that this is one of the finest, worthiest recordings to appear so far in this surprisingly abundant year; I hope fervently that it gets the wide notice it urgently warrants and richly deserves.

‌New this week.‌

Toshimaru Nakamura (Photograph: Mattxb/Wikipedia)

Marja Ahti - Still Lives (Students of Decay)

Ausland - 8 (1834)

Emily D'Angelo - enargeia - das freie orchester Berlin/Jarkko Riihimäki (Deutsche Grammophon)

Jamie Drouin - A Summary of Failures (Infrequency Editions)

Léo Dupleix - sept ritournelles, pour épinette (albertineeditions)

Ensemble d’oscillateurs - 2 Transcriptions (Oliveros + Pade) (Line)

Stewart Goodyear - Phoenix - compositions by Anthony Davis, Jennifer Higdon, and Stewart Goodyear, plus canonic works by Liszt, Mussorgsky, and Debussy (Bright Shiny Things)

Martina Lussi & Tim Shaw - FieldRecorder 01 (Superpang)

Toshimaru Nakamura - Culvert – No-Input Mixing Board 10 (Room40)

Nils Økland - Glødetrådar (Hubro)

claire rousay - it was always worth it/ilysm (Mended Dreams)

Cody Yantis - Physical Silence (Round Bale)

‌Just announced.‌

Liza Lim (Photograph: Astrid Ackermann)

October 12

Kyle Bruckmann - Mesmerics/Hindsight A (Infrequent Seams)

October 13

Kohlenstoff - Collision carbone no 1 (Kohlenstoff)

October 15

Liza Lim - Singing in Tongues: opera and vocal works 1993-2008 (Huddersfield Contemporary Records)

Steve Long - Code-Talker (Tripticks Tapes)

Miles Okazaki/Trevor Dunn/Dan Weiss - Hive Mind (Tzadik)

Terry Riley - Archangels - Novus Cellos, Trinity Choir/Julian Wachner (National Sawdust Tracks)

Hans Thomalla - Dark Spring - Shachar Levi, Anna Hybiner, Christopher Diffey, Magid El-Bushra, Mannheim National Theatre Orchestra/Alan Pieson (Oehms Classics)

October 22

Matthias Pintscher - Nemeton - Ensemble Intercontemporain (Alpha)

John Zorn - New Masada Quartet (Tzadik)

October 29

Noam Bierstone - mountains move like clouds - compositions by Hanna Hartman, Pierluigi Billone, and Zeynep Toraman (No Hay Discos)

Kyle Bruckmann - Mesmerics/Hindsight B (Infrequent Seams)

Clarice Jensen - Identifying Features (130701/Fatcat)

October 31

Lionel Marchetti & Vanessa Rossetto - The Tower (l'escalier en spirale) (self-released)

November 4

Nick Malkin - Nothing Blues (Mondoj)

November 5

Sarah Davachi & Sean McCann - Mother of Pearl (Recital)

James Ilgenfritz, Brian Chase, Robbie Lee - Loss and Gain (Infrequent Seams)

Alison Knowles - Sounds from the Book of Bean (Recital)

Parish/Stein/Piechocki - External Link (Trouble in Mind)

Alex Twomey - Days Off (Recital)

November 12

Sean Friar - Before and After - NOW Ensemble (New Amsterdam)

John Zorn - The Ninth Circle (Tzadik)

November 14

Jessie Cox - When You're a Star (Unknown Tapes)

November 19

Olivia Block - Innocent Passage in the Territorial Sea (Room40)

November 21

Michael Pisaro-Liu - Revolution Shuffle (Erstwhile)

Vanessa Rossetto/Lionel Marchetti - The Tower (The City) (Erstwhile)

November 26

Sarah Schoenbeck - Sara Schoenbeck (Pyroclastic)

December 3

Jacqueline Kerrod - 17 Days in December (Orenda)

December 10

David Watson and Matthew Welch - Woven (Room40)