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Mark Abel: Spectrum

Mark Abel: Spectrum

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Mark Abel pushes his music further forward with striking chamber works and three powerful vocal pieces featuring acclaimed singers Isabel Bayrakdarian, Hila Plitmann and Kindra Scharich. Abel's own evocative lyrics are heard in two moving song cycles, while poet Kate Gale's libretto powers Two Scenes from "The Book of Esther." He writes: “For me, Spectrum represents both an expansion of horizons and a summing-up of the ground traveled during my decade with the Delos label. The 2020 release The Cave of Wondrous Voice introduced my first three chamber pieces; it was followed a year later by Approaching Autumn, a duet that appears on cellist Jonah Kim’s album of the same name. Spectrum continues this trend, featuring three new and compact instrumental works that partner the piano with strings, horn and flute.”


Mark Abel continues to demonstrate his versatility in the works on the newest Delos release of his music, ‘Spectrum’, a generous two-disc helping of song-cycles, chamber pieces and excerpts from an opera still roaming around the California-based composer’s fertile brain. As the previous recordings revealed, Abel writes in a poetic tonal style, at times reminiscent of Samuel Barber, peppered by flavourful harmonies and piquant turns of phrase.

They are all performed with elegant vibrancy.

-- Gramophone

Composer Mark Abel is a composer of lyrical gifts, a crafter of vibrant melodic-harmonic landscapes of a ravishing sort, perhaps in the footsteps but not the actual shoes of a Samuel Barber. There are some extraordinarily well-wrought song cycles and settings here, all showing a sure sense of the vocal potentials; dramatic and lyric, with heighten musical light like a contemporary sort of Impressionist pallette, for vocalist and pianist and added instruments at times, such as very evocative clarinet on “Two Scenes from the Book of Esther.”

And then happily there are also some strong instrumental chamber works that show a marked lyrical gift, from the melodically mesmerizing “Reconciliation Day” for viola and piano, "Out the Other Side" for piano trio, and the "Long March" for horn, flute and piano.

The performances are all you might hope for in a world premiere situation, very well will appreciate the sheer beauty of it all. You listen, you grow fond of it, or I hope you like I do. Do not miss this happy set if you want a lyrical smile to brighten you up.

-- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 2
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Delos
    • UPC/Barcode: 013491359229
    • Item Number: DE 3592