PETER MINKLER, viola LURA JOHNSON, piano
Release Date : November 1 2010 by CENTAUR RECORDS
Centaur Records releases a disc featuring chamber music for viola and piano, with Baltimore Symphony violist Peter Minkler and Lura Johnson, pianist. The project was recorded at Morgan State University’s concert hall. Repertoire includes Shostakovich and Rochberg Viola Sonatas, Britten Lachrymae, and Arvo Pärt Spiegel im Spiegel.
Innova Recordings Label has just released a CD entitled New Paths, which is a compilation of recent chamber music works by composer Lawrence Moss. Lura can be heard in partnership with soprano, Kathryn Hearden, in a song cycle entitled From the Chinese. The CD will be available soon on Amazon.com and is currently available on Lawrence Moss’s website.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Marin Alsop, conducting
Released on Naxos label August 25, 2009
This Grammy nominated recording can be purchased on the BSO’s website.
MARK O’CONNOR’s AMERICANA SYMPHONY
Recorded by the Baltimore Symphony with Marin Alsop conducting and available through Amazon.com.
THE JENNINGS-JOHNSON DUO CD
Christina Jennings, flute
Lura Johnson, piano
The Jennings-Johnson Duo debut CD challenges the hierarchy of soloist and accompanist with transcriptions and newly-commissioned works of personal significance to the duo. Jeffery Mumford’s evolving romance is a transcription of his gracious accord: romance for violin and piano, which was commissioned by Lura Johnson and Matthew Horwitz-Lee in 2005. The other world premiere recording on this release, A.J. McCaffrey’s Reflections on Beati quorum via, was commissioned by Betty Blume in memory of her late husband, Dr. Howard Blume, a celebrated neurosurgeon and devoted amateur flutist. For this disc, Ms. Jennings recorded the piece playing Dr. Blume’s custom-built Powell flute.
Drei Romanzen, Op. 94: Robert Schumann
Poem: Charles T. Griffes
Reflections on Beati quorum via: A.J. McCaffrey
Evolving Romance: Jeffrey Mumford
Sonata in A Major, Op. 13: Gabriel Fauré
Fantasie, Op. 79: Gabriel Fauré
“The Jennings-Johnson Duo CD is a spectacular display of extraordinary musical poise and technical brilliance. The artistry of these two musicians is most compelling and gratifying in this beautifully programmed CD.” -Jeanne Baxtresser, Former Principal Flute, New York Philharmonic
“The Jennings-Johnson Duo is a magical partnership. Christina’s wizardry as a colorist is matched by Lura’s sensitivity to nuance and phrasing. This is a powerful, enchanting CD.” -Leone Buyse, Professor of Flute, Rice University, Shepherd School of Music
“This is music worth finding. Both musicians are laureates of major compositions in recent years, with growing reputations in performance and teaching… Jennings is an extraordinary musician, with facile technique, a soaring tone, and a natural sense of phrasing that is often absent from flute playing. Pianist Lura Johnson is an equal partner. She plays with a rich, deep tone and impeccable technique. The standard literature- Schumann, Griffes, and Fauré – is all played with dazzling proficiency… This goes on the “must hear” shelf instead of the dusty “good reference for some highly unlikely later date” pile lower down.” -CHAFFEE, American Record Guide January/February 2007
“This CD, featuring flutist Christina Jennings and pianist Lura Johnson, presents a varied and interesting program of old favorites… balanced by fresh and newly adapted works… Throughout this recording it is evident that Jennings and Johnson are truly a “duo”, a shared partnership of equal voices that are matched in musical understanding and approach to interpretation. Even when the flute is more prominently featured in the melodic line, the sensitive underpinning and comment by the piano accompaniment is sure and supportive. The Schumann Romances… require the flutist to step up and play with expressiveness and control. Jennings has just the right tone and passion needed to make these small gems shine. The Griffes Poem likewise requires intensity and fervor to be effective, and here again Jennings is up to the challenge with a lyrical stye, agile technique, and ravishing tone as the work builds toward the bright and flashing cadenzas, sways with the rhythmic pulse of the dance section, goes headlong into the mad rush of the final presto, and then settles down again with the reprise of the mournful and resigned opening theme. The inherent challenge of ensuring the listener does not miss the color of the original orchestral accompaniment is well met by Johnson.” -Flutist Quarterly, Spring 2007 issue
“On our courses we’ve been talking about how we should always refer to the person who is playing the piano part as a “pianist” rather than an “accompanist.” This recording demonstrates this beautifully, a true partnership between flute and piano. Christina Jennings is the flute player and she is well worth listening to – beautiful, musically sublime playing. If you only buy one CD this summer, make sure it is this one.” -FluteWise magazine, on the Jennings-Johnson Duo’s recent CD
Photography: Mike Kehr