Recordings

Purchase at Amazon.com

Purchase at Amazon.com

Quindecim Recordings
Canto de la Monarca
Featured on this CD: Lagrimas y locuras
Ana Cervantes, Piano

Shadows, Sighs, and Songs of Longing

Purchase at Amazon.com

Capstone Records, CPS-8689
Shadow, Sighs and Songs of Longing: Music for Strings
Featured on this CD: String Quartet (1986); String Quartet (1995); String Quartet (1999); Shadow, Sighs and Songs of Longing: A Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
With the Meridian Quartet, and the National Slovak Radio Orchestra, Joel Suben, conductor and Robert DeMaine, cello soloist.more...

A worthy collection,” wrote Moore in the November 2001 American Record Guide. “The music is emotional and dramatically cogent… Shadows, Sighs, and Songs of Longing is a 16-minute cello concerto of much warmth and lyricism… [Joelle Wallach is] a composer of considerable charm and serious intent.”

And Eclectica.org says about Shadow, Sighs and Songs of Longing…

The Nightwatch

Purchase at Amazon.com

University of North Texas
The Nightwatch
Featured on this CD: The Nightwatch: The Nightwatch, Assurance; Alleycat Love Song; Sin mañanas: Three Spanish Songs: La Guitarra, Soñando Sueños de Tango, Los Ojos; Lágrimas y locuras; PAX; Voices of the Iron Harp; The Firefighters’ Prayer; and Organal Voices. more...

The present disc commemorates Wallach’s time as visiting professor of composition at the University of North Texas at Denton. This is the second recording of The Nightwatch to have come my way. I was positive about Stephen Alexander Carroll’s reading (with pianist Stephen Harlos) on another disc of Wallach’s vocal music on 4TAY records ( Fanfare 36:4). Tenor Sam McKelton is marginally less convincing in the first song of The Nightwatch , his voice rather lacking body. The second song (“Assurance”) is more impressive, its bare textures and wide registral gaps capturing the ear. This latter is a tremendous song and forms the perfect introduction to Wallach’s art. One can hear her expert ear, the way she can achieve with economy of means exactly what she wants to achieve. It also acts as a reminder that the art of the Lied is far from dead.

The cat of the title of Alleycat Love Song is the composer’s own “magical cat and mini-muse.” Here, a light touch enables a beautifully drawn little miniature. Soprano Marie Therese Mattingly is most appealingly light herself and concludes with a most cute “meow.” If only it lasted longer than three minutes. Still, as the old adage goes, leave ’em wanting more…

More cattery emerges later in the disc, with the same performers tackling PAX , which uses words by D. H. Lawrence to “celebrate the spiritual life of Wallach’s cat,” as the booklet puts it. It is tender and lovely, shot through with innocence. Mattingly’s pure soprano is perfect for this song.

The longer (17 minute) Sin mañanas (Three Spanish Songs) is marvelously evocative, with guitar imitations on the piano and a pervasive sense of that melancholy that is so indigenous to the region. Christopher Vassiliades’s accompaniments are certainly worthy of mention here. The first song, “La guitarra,” is almost a concert aria in itself at some nine minutes duration. The vocal slides and elisions of “Soñando Sueños de Tango” are most appealingly performed by Isabelle Ganz, who acts as a reliable guide throughout. The all-encompassing sadness of “Los Ojos” is portrayed by textures of the utmost fragility. Bare lines make maximal impact, with Spanish infused gestures sounding as if from a dream.

This disc mixes vocal and instrumental music. The Làgrimas y locuras (Mapping the Mind of a madwoman, 2011) is, as the composer herself states in the booklet notes, a piece of Lisztian scope that attempts to construct the thoughts of a disturbed woman as she walks forever. Éva Polgár is a superb pianist who does the piece full justice, fully entering into the spirit of narrating a story while painting a distraught emotional state. The anguished, dissonant climax is powerful, although perhaps the recording could have demonstrated just a little more depth and bass. The other solo piano piece on the disc is Voices of the Iron Harp , a 1986 love song. The “iron harp” refers to the insides of the piano, a nice idea. This is Wallach in elusive mood. Polgár traces the piece’s gestures (largely derived from those of the late 19th-century piano literature, but the music of the French Impressionists is there too) with expertise.

The song The Firefighter’s Prayer (a setting of just that) was inspired by the events of 9/11. It injects a much needed simplicity into the recital at just the right spot, and here McKelton’s slightly reedy tenor seems more suited to the folkloric warmth of Wallach’s writing. Finally, a piece for the unlikely combination of vibraphone and bassoon. Original Voices , which references the Dies irae, is a fascinating specter of a piece, ghostly and elusive as a wisp of smoke. Fascinating.

—Colin Clarke, FANFARE

Music from Six Continents

Purchase at Amazon.com

Vienna Modern Masters CD#3003
Music from Six Continents
Featured on this CD: The Tiger’s Tail
Krakow Radio & Television Symphony, Syzmon Kawalla, conductor

Contemporary Eclectic Music for the Piano

Purchase at Amazon.com

New Ariel Recordings
Contemporary Eclectic Music for the Piano, volume 7
Featured on this CD: Voices of the Iron Harp
Jeffrey Jacob, piano

Time Marches On

Purchase at Amazon.com

Capstone Records CPS-8646
Time Marches On
Featured on this CD: Up into the Silence
Gregory Weist, tenor

Out of Print

Out of Print

IMA Recordings
Mira Zakai Unaccompanied
Featured on this CD: Up into the Silence
Mira Zakai, mezzo-soprano

Mourning Madrigals

Out of Print

Capstone Records CPS-8613
Society of Composers CD #3: America Sings!
Featured on this CD: Mourning Madrigals

Selected Choral Works

Out of Print

Opus One Record #122
Poèmes de la Mort: Selected Choral Works of Frank Martin and Joelle Wallach
Featured on this CD: Five American Echoes,Orison of Ste. Theresa,Plaint for a Prince and King,Three Short Sacred Anthems
The Manhattan Vocal Ensemble; Nelly Vuksic, conductor; Cesar Vuksic, piano

Sin Mananas

Out of Print, but Sin Mañanas has been re-released on The Nightwatch

Opus One Record #84
Featured: Sin mañanas: Three Spanish Songs
Isabelle Ganz, mezzo-soprano; Christopher Vassiliades, piano

Op1Record12

Out of Print

Opus One Record #12
Featured: Of Honey and Of Vinegar

lp31

Out of Print

CRS Records #8635
The Modern Americans
Featured: Organal Voices
William Trigg, percussion; Gines-Didier Cano, bassoon