The Poetry of Places
Nadia Shpachenko, Pianist
2020 GRAMMY® AWARD for Classical Compendium
2020 GRAMMY® Producer of the Year, Classical Nominee
Nadia Shpachenko’s latest Reference Recordings release The Poetry of Places features World Premiere recordings of works for solo piano, for two pianos, percussion, electronics, voice, and toy piano in a fascinating mélange inspired by great architecture and places. The eight compositions monumentalize places as wildly diverse as the Copland House in Cortlandt, NY, The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Buildings in Bangladesh, Newgrange Ancient Temple in Ireland, and Frank Gehry’s House in Santa Monica, CA. Included is a significant new work from Andrew Norman, Frank’s House, for two pianos and percussion, and another large work from Nina C. Young, Kolokol, for two pianos and electronics (a ‘fantasy’ inspired by Russian Orthodox Church Bells). Additionally, six solo works were written specifically for this project by Amy Beth Kirsten, Hannah Lash, James Matheson, Harold Meltzer, Lewis Spratlan, and Jack Van Zandt. The composers use very different musical approaches and sonic techniques in response to their chosen spaces.
Pianist Nadia Shpachenko-Gottesman has performed extensively in solo recitals and with orchestras in major venues across North America, Europe and Asia. Described by critics as a “truly inspiring and brilliant pianist…spellbinding in sensitivity and mastery of technique,” Nadia enjoys bringing into the world things that are outside the box – powerful pieces that often possess unusual sonic qualities or instrumentation. Nadia’s concert highlights include recitals at Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, on the Piano Spheres and Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella and Chamber Music Series, and with numerous orchestras in Europe and the Americas. An enthusiastic promoter of contemporary music, she has been chosen to premiere more than 60 piano, string piano, and toy piano works. Her debut album on Reference Recordings, Woman at the New Piano (FR-711, 2014), was nominated for GRAMMY® Awards in three categories: Best Classical Compendium; Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, and as part of the body of work in the Producer of the Year, Classical nomination for Marina A. Ledin and Victor Ledin.
Produced by Victor Ledin and Marina A. Ledin, and engineered by Barry Werger-Gottesman.
FRESH! is part of Reference Recordings’ mission to encourage new artists and give them a strong platform for promotion and sales nationally and internationally.
On This Recording
- Frank’s House for two pianists and two percussionists 09:25
with Joanne Pearce Martin, piano, Nick Terry and Cory Hills, percussion
- In Full Sail for solo piano 07:49 Jack Van Zandt
- Sí an Bhrú for piano and electronics 11:52 Hannah Lash
- Give Me Your Songs for solo piano 7:09 Amy Beth Kirsten
- h.o.p.e. for piano, toy piano, and voice (one performer) 6:12 James Matheson: Alone, in waters shimmering and dark for solo piano
- Island 3:52
- Capillary Waves 2:14
- To Sky 2:52 Lewis Spratlan
- Bangladesh for solo piano 15:01 Nina C. Young
- Kolokol for two pianos and electronics 11:06
with Joanne Pearce Martin, piano
“The playing here is crisp and seamlessly coordinated, even as the rapidly complex phrases seem to explode into motion at every moment. … The Poetry of Places is an impressive collection of new works by outstanding contemporary composers, performed by first-rate musicians. The extensive artwork and informative 32-page booklet make this album an important reference for understanding the creative processes at work in new music today.” —Paul Muller, Sequenza 21
“…this marvellous disc from pianist Nadia Shpachenko…music [interacts] with a wide range of human activities: fine and applied arts (architecture and design), the heritage arts and the natural world. … I happen to share a fondness for and a deep admiration of some of the architects of these special places, especially Frank Gehry and Louis Kahn. But each of these works is memorable, and beautifully played by Shpachenko on a Steinway grand piano and, memorably, on a toy piano, a Schoenhut 37 key Traditional Deluxe Spinet. As well she has excellent support from Joanne Pearce Martin in four-hand pieces, and percussionists Nick Terry and Cory Hills. This is a marvellous project, well worth exploring.” —Dean Frey, Music for Several Instruments
“The Poetry of Places is a truly fascinating collection of original music for piano that demonstrates a great variety of approaches. The thematic thread that runs through the album helps create a secondary connection to the music and invites the listener in on a journey through these different spaces. Shpachenko’s technical virtuosity is on display throughout here. She is very adept at making the requisite shifts in tone that this music demands with some rather beautiful lyrical playing that is equally gorgeous in the midst of some of the more visceral pieces. … The accompanying booklet is another great asset with pictures of each location and information about the conception of each work. Certainly this is an important album for any music lovers interested in modern piano literature.” —Cinemusical
“The Poetry of Places…is a celebration of new music featuring a formidable pianist in the company of top practitioners in the field. … Throughout The Poetry of Places, Nadia Shpachenko valiantly navigates the now tranquil, now tumultuous waters of eight new works, six of them commissioned by and dedicated to her.” —Rafael’s de Acha, Rafael’s Music Notes
“The variety of this repertoire is remarkable. … The strong affinity between the principal performer and the composers has produced a thoroughly engaging disc.” —Alex Baran, The Whole Note
“In ‘The Poetry of Places,’ the gifted and versatile pianist Nadia Shpachenko premieres a remarkable lineup of 10 new works… It’s a winningly loose concept, and the music that results covers a wonderfully diverse stylistic range, from the disruptive shifts of tone in Andrew Norman’s ‘Frank’s House’…to the psychedelic whizzing and swooshing of Lewis Spratlan’s ‘Bangladesh.’ In between come a collection of other delights, including a beautiful porcelain creation by Amy Beth Kirsten involving a toy piano and childlike crooning, and Hannah Lash’s tender ‘Give Me Your Songs’…the thematic consistency turns out to be less interesting than the compositional voices on display, and the technical flair and expressive commitment that Shpachenko brings to all of it.” —Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle