For the Record, Op. 246: Sphinx Virtuosi; Cassatt String Quartet; Yvonne Lam

July 28, 2023, 12:30 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Sphinx Virtuosi
Members of the Sphinx Virtuosi.

Songs for Our Times
Sphinx Virtuosi
The Sphinx Virtuosi, the Sphinx Organization's touring ensemble featuring 18 Black and Latinx artists, releases its debut album today on Deutsche Grammophon, with music by Jessie Montgomery, Valerie Coleman, Michael Abels, Ricardo Herz, Carlos Simon, Florence Price and Aldemaro Romero, as well as a new Beethoven Arrangement by Ruben Rengel. The album opens with "Global Warming" by Michael Abels, winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Music. It also features world premiere recordings of Valerie Coleman’s "Tracing Visions" and Jessie Montgomery’s "Divided," both written expressly for Sphinx Virtuosi. BELOW: from the album, Aldemaro: Suite for Strings: Fuga con Pajarillo:

Voyagers: Music of Gerald Cohen
Cassatt String Quartet
Narek Arutyunian, clarinet
Gerald Cohen, composer

"Voyagers," written by Gerald Cohen for clarinet and string quartet, is a tribute to the two Voyager spacecraft on the 40th anniversary of their launch. The Voyager carried the Golden Record, an audio time capsule intended to give extra-terrestrial beings an impression of human culture on Planet Earth. The performance also features Narek Arutyunian on clarinet and bass clarinet. "Telling stories through music is central to all I do as a composer and performer," said Gerald Cohen. “This album is the culmination of the voyage I have taken with the Cassatt String Quartet during the past decade." BELOW: The third movement of "Voyagers," called Galliard, is inspired by a Renaissance dance, "The Fairie-Round," included on the Voyager Golden Record.

Watch Over Us
Yvonne Lam, violin

The Grammy award-winner and former Eighth Blackbird violinist Yvonne Lam releases her first solo album, "Watch Over Us," featuring compositions for solo violin and electronics by contemporary women composers. It includes the world premiere recording of "Watch Over Us" by Nathalie Joachim (written for Lam) and the transcription for violin of Missy Mazzoli's "Tooth and Nail." Also on the collection, music by Katherine Balch, Anna Clyne, Eve Beglarian, and Kate Moore. "Even though I am the only live performer in each piece, it never feels like a solo," Lam said. "I actually feel that I am in a way per­forming with the composer, who created the fixed media part exactly to their taste. Over time, performing with these tapes felt akin to playing with a longtime chamber music partner whose intentions you can divine with your gut and whose sounds combine with yours to become something larger than the sum of its parts." BELOW: Yvonne Lam describes the inspiration for the piece "Watch Over Us," followed by her performance of the piece.

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