There has been fulsome praise for Derek Bermel's recent Naxos release, 'Migrations', a recent Grammy nomination for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The disc features premiere recordings of three dazzlingly inventive orchestral works.
Migration Series for jazz band and chamber orchestra was inspired by the celebrated series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence (housed at MoMA in New York)) depicting the Great Migration. Mar de Setembro, sets five poems by renowned Portuguese poet Eugénio de Andrade, evoking the longing of Portuguese and Brazilian saudade. The final work on the recording is A Shout, a Whisper, and a Trace for chamber orchestra, which pays tribute to Béla Bartók's last years as an immigrant in New York City.
With superlative performances all round by David Alan Miller, the Albany Symphony, the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, saxophonist Ted Nash, mezzo-soprano Luciana Souza, and Bermel himself on clarinet 'Migrations'is a perfect showcase for Bermel's compositional talents.
"What a melting pot of musical styles! Bermel’s endless invention initially ruffles your feathers but leaves you breathless in the end. Captivating and colourful."
BBC Music Magazine (Michael Beek), October 2019“. . .a grand celebration of one of America’s great living composers at the top of his game.”The Arts Fuse“After maybe ten listens I must say I thoroughly appreciate this one in ways that a long exposure helps create. It is important, beautiful, expressive music, all of it. And it is very well performed. Grab it!”Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review“Thirty or 40 years ago, there were all sorts of awkward attempts to blend classical and jazz. . . . Bermel is a representative of the newer generations who are getting it right”.Albany Times-Union