Apollo Chamber Players’ present their latest Navona release BLURRED BOUNDARIES, featuring commissions from veteran composers Libby Larsen and Marty Regan, as well as from the winner of Apollo’s inaugural International Commissioning Contest, Erberk Eryilmaz. These three commissions mark the beginning of 20x2020, Apollo’s initiative to commission 20 new folk music-inspired works by the end of the decade. Each of these composers explores culturally-specific musical traditions and presents folk material in ways that are engaging, unique, and revelatory.
Larsen's Sorrow Song and Jubilee revisits Antonin Dvorák's love of African-American sorrow songs (or spirituals), composed as an homage to the creative partnership of African-American composer Henry T. Burleigh and Dvorák. Regan’s sweeping Splash of Indigo examines the intersections of Japanese folksong and French Impressionist music. Eryilmaz’s whirlwind Thracian Airs of Besime Sultan, dedicated to his late grandmother, finds its inspiration in the music of the Roma people and the Thracian region of the Balkans. Accompanying these three modern explorations of folksong are premiere recordings of Florence Beatrice Price’s Five Folksongs in Counterpoint, Hajime Komatsu’s Four Japanese Folksongs, and arrangements of Henry T. Burleigh’s Plantation Melodies, Old and New. These are ideal companion pieces, highlighting not only the commissioned composers' skills in forging different pathways between cultures, but also Apollo's aim to provide fresh context and a contemporary perspective on more traditional repertoire. Of special note, Price's Five Folksongs in Counterpoint, a forgotten work by a seminal African-American composer, existed only in manuscript form prior to this recording's release.