Vollrath: Souls In Transitions Summa Trio

Cover Vollrath: Souls In Transitions

Album info



Label: Navona

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Chamber Music

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • Carl Vollrath (1857 - 1915): The Secrets of the Magdalenian Caves:
  • 1The Secrets of the Magdalenian Caves: I. —09:06
  • 2The Secrets of the Magdalenian Caves: II. —08:41
  • Tombs of Ancient Times:
  • 3Tombs of Ancient Times: I. —07:19
  • 4Tombs of Ancient Times: II. —05:57
  • 5Tombs of Ancient Times: III. —05:56
  • Buddha of the Future:
  • 6Buddha of the Future: I. —05:22
  • 7Buddha of the Future: II. —07:03
  • 8Buddha of the Future: III. —07:08
  • Total Runtime56:32

Info for Vollrath: Souls In Transitions

Beginning with just the spark to write three trios, composer Carl Vollrath created an intense yet reflective collection of works in SOULS IN TRANSITIONS. This Navona Records release moves through waves of contemplation on life, history, and the evolution of spirituality through the performances of violin, cello, and piano by acclaimed pianist Karolina Rojahn.

After a colleague of Vollrath’s at Troy University listened to the pieces, he told the composer that the first Trio reminded him of images he had seen of ancient Peruvian cave paintings. Indeed, the moments of intensity paired with thoughtfulness in the first movement conjure up a feeling of awe, much like one might have when viewing these paintings created by hands thousands of years gone. Repeating motives with subtle differences, sometimes presenting deep, resonant tones in the lower registers of the strings, other times presenting brisk pizzicato, slurred runs, and climbs to the height of each instrument’s voice, all form a sense of wonder and mystery.

Trios II and III act in much the same way. Trio II is inspired by the ancient Egyptian ritual of bringing food to tombs to give meals to the deceased on their journey to the afterlife, with the idea being that the dead are not really gone but rather are in another place. Trio III looks into the Buddhist faith, reflecting on its extensive history and considering how religion evolves just as man does.

Between Vollrath’s balance of intensity and contemplation in his writing, and the dynamic performances of virtuoso Rojahn and the Summa Trio, SOULS IN TRANSITIONS is a moving performance that demonstrates the power of musical motives and the piano trio.

Summa Trio

Carl Vollrath
Born in New York City to German parents, Carl Vollrath attended Newton High School. He received a B.A. from Stetson University, a M.A. from Columbia University, and the ED.D from Florida State University. Vollrath studied composition with Ernst von Dohnanyi, Carlisle Floyd, and John Boda. He served with the West Point Military Band at West Point NY from 1953 to 1956 and was a music consultant in Miami FL from 1956 to 1958. He joined the Troy University (AL) faculty in 1965.

Major works include 6 symphonies for band, an opera – The Quest – and a large collection of chamber music, all published by Tap Music (tapmusic@tapmusic.com). MMC Recordings has released three albums of Vollrath’s works, including a 2-disc album of clarinet works recorded by Richard Stoltzman entitled Jack’s Fat Cat (2008). His most recent releases by Navona Records include Past Recollections (2015), and Lingering Longings (2016).

Summa Trio
Los Angeles-based SUMMA TRIO—founded by Boston Conservatory alumnae and friends Jennifer Bewerse, Maiani da Silva, and Karolina Rojahn—is the only piano trio in California solely devoted to the performance and recording of contemporary works. Pioneers in the new music scene, the members of Summa have premiered and commissioned over 200 new works by living composers and recorded over 50 albums of contemporary music. They have collaborated with composers such as Louis Andriessen, Jennifer Higdon, Marti Epstein, Julia Wolfe, George Lewis, Gunther Schuller, Andy Vores, and Augusta Read Thomas, among others. The members of Summa have also gone on to play as guests with ensembles such as Wild Up, Eighth Blackbird, Bang On A Can, WasteLAnd concert series, Merge Collaborative, Calithumpian Consort, Southland, Ludovico Ensemble, and Juventas Ensemble. Their diverse artistic interests have also brought them to perform in interdisciplinary settings, collaborating with dancers, painters, poets, video artists and further expanding beyond classical music with artists like Taylor Mac, Björk, Ros Warby, My Brightest Diamond, Los Angeles Ballet, and Peter Gabriel. Summa’s mission is to bring to the forefront the works of contemporary composers that reflect unique voices of our time.

“It is rare to work with a composer who allows room for complete artistic freedom of interpretation and expression. Carl’s open-minded approach provided the perfect balance between compositional intent and technical execution, allowing us to bring the essence of the music to the forefront. Thanks to PARMA’s incomparable production team we were live-streamed, enabling invaluable real-time exchanges with Carl throughout the sessions.” - Karolina Rojahn

Booklet for Vollrath: Souls In Transitions

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