Looking for some new musical inspiration? The three albums recently released by Park Stickney, Angela Schwarzkopf, and Gwen Màiri have fresh offerings: a new spin on old holiday favorites, some new works by contemporary Canadian composers, and a blending of the old and new in a full-length album of Celtic folk music. Check out these three recently released albums worth a closer listen.
Jazz harpist Park Stickney has released his latest album with flutist Violaine Contreras de Haro as the duo CaravaNoël. Titled Chemin d’Hivers (meaning winter’s way), this holiday album features elaborate improvisations on traditional carols including “Carol of the Bells” and “Silent Night.” Though this is Stickney’s fifth album, it is his first dedicated to Christmas tunes.
The 12 tracks are available directly from Stickney’s website, where he recommends you pair your listening with some mulled wine or eggnog this holiday season.
The first person to receive a doctorate of music in harp performance in Canada, Angela Schwarzkopf’s debut album Detach was made possible through the support of the Ottawa Arts Council. Appropriately, it features works by six Canadian composers: Monica Pearce, Cecilia Livingston, Patrick Arteaga, Mark Nerenberg, Elisha Denburg, and Kevin Lau. Released by Redshift Records, two works include vibraphonists Michelle Colton and Etienne Levesque. The 11–track album of solo and chamber music was released on Nov. 4.
Gwen Màiri has released Mentro on the folk label Erwydd. Classically trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Màiri was brought up in a Welsh–speaking family in Scotland and has deep roots in traditional Celtic music. The album blends both old and new ideas, and features guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and cello, in addition to Màiri on harp and vocals. Meaning “to venture,” Mentro is Màiri’s first album under her own name, which Scotsman calls a “delicately spun collection” with “bright, articulate harping and singing.” The album’s lyrics includes text from a 6th century bard, words from the old testament, and poetry written by her mother.