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New Music Friday: Illuminations

Cedille Records celebrates today the release of Illuminations, the Avalon String Quartet’s Cedille debut album. The Avalon String Quartet, a “remarkably fine ensemble” (The Strad), has recorded an irresistible and richly varied program of captivating works by Claude Debussy, Benjamin Britten, Osvaldo Golijov, and rising American composer Stacy Garrop.

Included on the album is the Avalon’s signature piece: Debussy’s lush, exotic String Quartet in G minor, which unfolds through iridescent, quasi-orchestral textures. Golijov’s lyrical, deeply moving Tenebrae (Latin for “shadows”), written for the Kronos Quartet, pays tender tribute to the earth, depicted in its remote celestial beauty, haunted by undertones of human discord. Britten’s youthful, energetic Three Divertimenti and Alla Marcia are alluring, rarely recorded studies in inventiveness and perpetual motion.

The ensemble presents the world-premiere recording of Garrop’s String Quartet No. 4: “Illuminations,” a tantalizing, Pictures at an Exhibition-style tour of spectacular illustrations from an ornate medieval manuscript. Garrop’s music has been performed by superstar choir Chanticleer; the Detroit Symphony, Grant Park, and Minnesota Orchestras; and the Biava Quartet, Lincoln Trio, and International Contemporary Ensemble, among other notable groups.

If you enjoy this recording, please consider posting a review on its and/or iTunes product pages. This will help the CD appear higher in search results — giving the Avalon String Quartet and Stacy Garrop’s artistry greater visibility. You also may have noticed that our recently re-launched website offers the ability to post reviews of our recordings for other Cedille patrons to read. I encourage you to share your thoughts there as well.

Best wishes and happy listening —



Mary Elizabeth Bowden, praised for her “splendid, brilliant” artistry (Gramophone), celebrates the narrative power of the trumpet. Bowden is joined by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Allen Tinkham in a collection of new concertos that redefine the trumpet’s voice in modern classical music.

Monthly Playlist

To celebrate Cedille’s May 10 release of the Pacifica Quartet‘s American Voices, featuring music based on folk and popular music elements, a playlist of pieces based on folk songs, dances, hymns, spirituals, etc. (real or invented). We’ll add tracks from the new album when it’s released on 5/10.

Album of the Week

Enjoy 25% off of Cedille’s Featured Release.

Listen Now

On this episode of Classical Chicago, Cedille President Jim Ginsburg talks with Pacifica Quartet violinist Austin Hartman about his experience recording Cedille’s latest release, American Voices. The multiple Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet continues its highly acclaimed recording series that explores the sounds of America with an album comprising string quartets incorporating elements of American folk music and spirituals by Antonín Dvořák, Florence Price, and Louis Gruenberg, plus a new work by James Lee III.