Eclipse: Chamber Music by Mischa Zupko
- CDR 90000 168
The longer Cedille Selects track excerpts are designed to provide a representative overview of the album
Album Description Download Full CD Booklet
Eclipse encompasses world-premiere recordings of inventive, virtuosic, and impassioned chamber works, written in a present-day musical language by the strikingly original American composer and pianist Mischa Zupko. Joining him are two close friends and accomplished colleagues, the sublime violinist Sang Mee Lee, who chairs the string department at the Music Institute of Chicago, and internationally renowned cellist Wendy Warner, a protégé of Mstislav Rostropovich. Zupko wrote some of the works expressly for these artists.
Imbued with Zupko’s heartfelt humanism, Eclipse explores themes of separation, contrast, and convergence on cosmic as well as intimate levels. In the album’s centerpiece and title track, Eclipse, violin and cello approach like two celestial bodies, their distinct musical lines merging and becoming one strangely luminous entity before continuing on their trajectories across the cosmos. From Twilight and Nebula also reflect on mysteries of the distant universe. The ecstatic Rising depicts Jesus’s ascension to heaven as recounted in the Gospel of Luke. The violin creates an aural illusion of a spiraling ascent while the piano’s reverie evokes the earthbound faithful waiting for his return. The contrasting Fallen is a study in spiritual despair, based on a García Lorca poem. Shades of Grey for violin and piano (no relation to the similarly titled erotic romance novel) is an “inventive and intricate exploration” of the dynamics of personal relationships (Chicago Reader). Love Obsession for cello, piano, and six pre-recorded electronic cello tracks exudes a more visceral, single-minded passion.
Composer-in-residence at the Music Institute of Chicago, Zupko has received plaudits from The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. He’s been featured in the Chicago Reader and New Music USA’s New Music Box, which called him “a humble, energetic, and constantly searching artist.” Chicago’s New City hails him as a composer “with something to say, and the adventurous listener will be rewarded.”
Steven Ritter Audiophile Audition
"A wonderment of shades of color infatuate this fascinating composer's music . . . this delightful introduction in my favorite chamber music form is well worth following by anyone interested in 'what's happenin'' Chicago way. Great sound to compliment the readings."
Colin Clarke Fanfare Magazine
"This is very stimulating music, expertly performed. The composer himself is the pianist, impeccable throughout; the recording too is top drawer. A fascinating release."
Marc Medwin Fanfare
"These pieces of chamber music are both fluid and inventive, issuing from the pen of a composer both aware of history but never enslaved to it . . . captured brilliantly by the recording team in a wonderful acoustic. While this is no surprise, given Cedille’s top-drawer recordings, it is certainly a pleasure to report that all elements are in place for what is really a superb program of chamber pieces by a composer to match."
Grego Applegate Edwards Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
"Zupko has a musical mind both open and exceptionally inventive, certainly as exemplified by the works on this album ... The trio of musicians each brings an enormous absorption and focus to the music, making it sing, bringing its reflective and reflexive brilliance to bear on our experiencing ears ... I have no hesitations in recommending this music to you."
Jay Harvey Jay Harvey Upstage
"Mischa Zupko is a composer who . . . manages to address the starry skies and the adventures of love without falling into neo-romantic gestures that seem pat or over rehearsed . . . it's hard to imagine performances more fully capable of realizing this music."
Allan Cronin New Music Buff
"The performers . . . demonstrate both passion and virtuosity on this lucid recording. They play very well together and they all have ample opportunities to show off their respective skills."
Bob Neill Positive Feedback
"Zupko's chamber music leaves me uncharacteristically speechless . . . It simply asserts itself with force and eloquence. I intend to keep this album near the top of my listening pile."