World Premiere Recording Of American Composer Mark Abel’s First Opera and Latest Song Cycle Home Is A Harbor and The Palm Trees Are Restless Available from Delos March 11, 2016

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World Premiere Recording
Of
American Composer Mark Abel’s
First Opera and Latest Song Cycle
Home Is A Harbor
and
The Palm Trees Are Restless

Available from Delos March 11, 2016

American composer Mark Abel brings his signature style to his first foray into opera with this, his third recording for Delos. The two-disc set features the world premieres of a poignant new opera with music and libretto by the composer, coupled with his most recent song cycle in which he sets to music the writings of Los Angeles poet Kate Gale.
Home is a Harbor, Abel’s first opera, is a coming-of-age story and portrait of contemporary America. Set in coastal California and New York, it focuses on early success, the  financial crisis and the human cost of the war in Afghanistan. The talented cast includes sopranos Jamie Chamberlin (“spellbinding”-San Francisco Chronicle) and Ariel Pisturino (“whose voice is simply exquisite: pure, [and] clear…” –Fanfare Magazine); baritones Babatunde Akinboboye (“one of the finest basses in the area, a pleasure to see and hear”-Singerpreneur) and E. Scott Levin (“smooth, buttery voice”-Patch Review); mezzo-soprano Janelle DeStefano (“a rich seamless voice with a smooth line” – Beach and Bay Press); tenor Jon Lee Keenan (“someone to watch” –Los Angeles Times), and bass Carver Cossey (“wonderfully dramatic bass”-Beacon Media), led by conductor Benjamin Makino with the La Brea Sinfonietta.
The Palm Trees Are Restless-Five Poems of Kate Gale is Abel’s fourth song cycle for soprano and piano. Featuring the poet’s potent writings, which the 21st -century art-song pioneer describes as “marked by powerful imagery and deeply felt emotion that frequently bursts through the surface in startling and dramatic fashion,” the cycle is sung by Grammy Award-winning international soprano Hila Plitmann, known for her work with today’s top contemporary composers.

Clips of both the opera and song cycle can be found on YouTube:
The Palm Trees are Restless: https://youtu.be/VWD-siMtcIA

About Mark Abel 

“Composer Mark Abel draws on both his career as a rock musician and his classical roots by marrying the parameters of art song with the harmonies and figurations found more commonly in rock, pop and contemporary…. And yet, even that description doesn’t quite capture the emotional directness and stylistic unpredictability of Abel’s music… (He) also provides the texts for two of the song cycles included here and proves an equally inventive and provocative poet.”
-Opera News
“It is tonal music of today…. … vibrant and moving music all around….This is art song at a high-water mark of invention.”- Classical-Modern Music Review
 
Provocative, original and accessible, American composer Mark Abel has been praised for his talent with lyrics as well as his musical ability. His signature style blends elements of classical, rock and jazz in a unique musical fusion that combines the depth and sophistication of classical music with the direct impact of rock music.
A former journalist, Abel’s work shines a light on timeless issues and those of today, often couched in biting social commentary. His attention to the gestural elements and pacing of classical music, the inclusion of evocative lyrics as well as the use of an accessible tonal language with a strong emphasis on melody elegantly melds poetry and music. Among the subjects he has addressed are the  phenomenon of contemporary terrorism, a nonpareil relationship catastrophe, and, the psyches and social milieus of his fellow Californians.
His upcoming CD, Home is a Harbor, to be released by Delos March 11, 2016,
is a coming-of-age story and portrait of contemporary America. Set in coastal California and New York, it focuses on early success, the financial crisis and the human cost of the war in Afghanistan. Also featured on the world premiere recording is Abel’s most recent song cycle, “The Palm Trees Are Restless,” in which he sets to music the writings of Los Angeles poet Kate Gale. Earlier releases on the Delos label include “Terrain of the Heart,” which features three song cycles for voice and piano, and “The Dream Gallery” an orchestral song cycle.
Abel’s life suggests a creative tapestry woven with two primary and powerful strands: Music and journalism. Son of the distinguished reporter and author Elie Abel, Mark Abel grew up in America, Europe and Asia, receiving crucial exposure as a child to the fast-moving global political and cultural events of the 1950s and 1960s. The immersion included an introduction to classical music, which was his consuming artistic interest until his early teens. It was then supplanted for some time by modern jazz and later by rock, the medium through which he first developed his talents as a songwriter. Mark briefly attended Stanford University in the turbulent late ’60s but decided to strike out on his own at the age of 20.
As a guitarist, bassist and songwriter in New York in the 1970s and into the ’80s, Abel played and recorded with such seminal figures as Tom Verlaine (Television), Danny Kalb (The Blues Project), Michael Brown (the Left Banke), and Harold Kelling, founder of the pioneering Atlanta fusion group the Hampton Grease Band.
Abel’s interest in rock faded by the mid ’80s, however, due to the harmonic and rhythmic restrictions imposed by the pop song format and frustration with the commercial music industry’s ever-narrowing scope. He relocated to California in 1983 and made a vocational shift into journalism, eventually becoming the foreign editor of the San Francisco Chronicle (the second largest newspaper on the West Coast), a post he held until 2004. During those years, much changed in Abel’s musical world as he began working out more complex compositional ideas, an evolving process that led him back to classical music.
Influenced by a variety of artists from different genres, Abel’s principal heroes include such classical composers as Ives, Szymanowski, Brahms, Duparc, Strauss, Debussy, Berg, Janacek, Lutoslawski, Takemitsu and Dutilleux. He draws inspiration from jazz figures from his teen years; among them, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy, Paul Bley and the great but little-known California pianist Denny Zeitlin.

More information on Mr. Abel and his recordings can be found at: http://www.markabelmusic.com

To learn more about Delos, please visit https://delosmusic.com/about/
Also visit https://delosmusic.com/home-is-a-harbor-carol-rosenberger-letter/ to read Delos Director Carol Rosenberger’s letter about the new CD.

Home Is A Harbor is available for pre-order at:

To read artists’ biographies please click here.

 

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