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Momentum

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Momentum Track List
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891-1953) – Cello Sonata in C Major, Op. 119
1. I. Andante grave [11:59]
2. II. Moderato [5:07]
3 .III. Allegro ma non troppo [8:23]
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882-1971) – Suite Italienne
4. I. Introduzione [2:25]
5. II. Serenata [3:16]
6. III. Aria [5:21]
7. IV. Tarantella [2:20]
8. V. Minuetto e Finale [4:48]
Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) – Trois Pièces pour violoncelle et piano
9. I. Modéré [3:10]
10. II. Sans vitesse et à l’aise [1:49]
11. III. Vite et nerveusement rythmé [2:46]
Total Time: 51:24
Producer and Recording Engineer – Alan Bise
Executive Production – The Sound Press, LLC
Photography – Will Crooks
Videography – Caleb Chamberlain
Recorded at Goshen College, Sauder Hall
Azica Records ACD-71354

 

New York, NY (August 25, 2022) – On Friday, October 21, 2022, American cello prodigy Miriam K. Smith,
praised for her “polished, accurate playing” (American Record Guide), releases her second commercial album,
Momentum, on Azica Records. In collaboration with pianist and Steinway artist Sandra Wright Shen, the
album features Prokofiev’s Cello Sonata in C Major, Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, and Boulanger’s Trois Pièces
pour violoncelle et piano. Smith performs on an Italian cello by an unknown maker from the 18th century.
Smith says, “When a wave begins, it gathers momentum, so with this collection of music I see a gathering of
energy into our modern era. I perceive this momentum in each of these composers’ works propelling the arts
forward in their time… And so, we continue today in the wave of momentum which began long ago.”
The album opens with Prokofiev’s Cello Sonata, written in 1949, only a few years after WWII. Smith shares,
“The sonata showcases the emotions that were felt after the war and the suspense of the years that will follow.
Just a year before Prokofiev wrote this sonata, much of his music was banned by the Soviet government, but
despite these troubling circumstances, he managed to compose a beautiful sonata filled with joyous and
cheerful melodies.”
Of Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, Smith explains, “From my years of ballet training, I often approach a piece of
music with dance in mind. Because Suite Italienne is a cello and piano version of the ballet Pulcinella, created
by Stravinsky and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, it felt very natural… To me, each movement brings a different
character with a different mood, and the finale brings all the characters together for a hymn-like opening and
one last vivacious dance.”
Originally composed for organ, Nadia Boulanger’s Trois Pièces shares part of the brilliant composer’s small but
substantial oeuvre. Smith explains, “It is bittersweet for me because Ms. Boulanger’s compositional body of
work is too small. Instead, she gave her life’s work to teaching and thus her impact is much greater as she
influenced so many composers and musicians… As I was considering the composers for this album, I found an
interesting connection between them all. They all spent time in Paris. Boulanger was a Parisienne, but she was
also a great supporter of Stravinsky. Prokofiev and Stravinsky both spent time outside Russia to escape the
persecution of the regime. Prokofiev did return to his native land but it was a trying time for him under the
Soviet government while Stravinsky remained in the United States following his time in France until his death.”