NatarajaConor Nelson, flute & Thomas Rosenkranz, piano

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Several of the works on this collection of fascinating music by flutist Conor Nelson and pianist Thomas Rosenkranz (colleagues at Bowling Green State University) are oriented around dance, but a dance that is more cathartic and transformational than communal.

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In Hinduism, the god Shiva appears in many guises; one of the most powerful is as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer whose dance, "symbolizes the cycles of creation and destruction." Several of the works on this collection of fascinating music by flutist Conor Nelson and pianist Thomas Rosenkranz (colleagues at Bowling Green State University) are oriented around dance, but a dance that is more cathartic and transformational and less communal.

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Several of the works on this ambitious release were written for the performers, and it represents an important contribution to the available recorded output of avant garde flute music. The recording opens and closes with works by British composer Jonathan Harvey. Run Before Lightning depicts a close encounter with lightning, and the mixture of exhilaration and fear inherent in that experience. His beguiling Nataraja concludes the recording, and is a nuanced portrait of Shiva as Lord of the Dance. Harvey's Messiaen influenced harmonies provide an exotic background for this mercurial music, as it twists and turns in a search to eradicate illusion and clear the way for insight. Oberlin Conservatory faculty Josh Levineʼs work, Dances vagues, exists at the boundary of dance and abstraction, balancing references to Vareseʼs iconic solo flute work, Density 21.5 and the Sarabande from Bachʼs E minor Lute Suite. Bowling Green faculty Christopher Dietzʼ piece, Kinderspiel (child's play), was inspired by watching play dates between the composerʼs son and a pair of twin girls. The workʼs focus is the subtle dance between children with different temperaments. New York based Sam Pluta's work, "Light and Water" and C.R. Kasprzyk's Archetypes provide the most contemplative music on the disc, each looking at nature as a still-life. Nelson's rendering of Elliott Carter's iconic solo work, Scrivo in Vento, emphasizes the expressive contrasts between frenetic and lyrical that provide the propulsion in the piece.

- Daniel Lippel and Conor Nelson

Conor Nelson

Canadian flutist Conor Nelson gave his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hallʼs Weill Recital Hall and has appeared frequently as soloist and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad. Solo engagements include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other orchestras. Recent highlights include two recitals in London, England, performances at Carnegie Hallʼs Zankel Hall, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and a recital at the Tokyo Opera City Hall that received numerous broadcasts on NHK Television. Dr. Nelson is currently the Assistant Professor of Flute at Bowling Green State University.

Thomas Rosenkranz

Thomas Rosenkranz enjoys a musical life as a soloist, chamber musician, and artist teacher. Since winning the Classical Fellowship Award from the American Pianists Association, his concert career has taken him to four continents. His repertoire extends from the works of J.S. Bach to premieres of works written exclusively for him, often including improvisation into his performances.

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