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by Quince Ensemble

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“To Quince, "Motherland" means our natal home, worthy of love, critique, and support. It represents the terrain of those who identify as women, as mothers of varying types - creators and producers and life-givers and life-sacrificers. Mother-land is both embodiment and inversion of Emily Dickinson’s “Nature, the gentlest mother” - capable of supporting all life, and of obliterating it with forces as simple as a breath of air. This album features never-before-heard recordings of pieces by Laura Steenberge, Gilda Lyons, Cara Haxo, and Jennifer Jolley. As long as we have breath left in us, we will sing our gratitude, our love, our frustration, and our hopes. There is no greater privilege.” — from the liner notes by Quince Ensemble

With this bold statement, Quince Ensemble presents its ambitious, socially engaged second album with New Focus, "Motherland". Featuring premiere recordings of works by Gilda Lyons, Laura Steenberge, Cara Haxo, and Jennifer Jolley, Motherland’s range is as wide in terms of subject matter as it is in terms of sonic palette. Gilda Lyons wrote Bone Needles after being inspired by the work of women in Nicaragua who were repairing nets on the beach. The women used long needles made with fish bones-- Lyons explores the ways in which musical elements similarly weave and mend together, using a vocabulary of abstract vocal sounds. Laura Steenberge’s The Four Winds explores the mystique of the North Star, and its significance in an imagined ancient past before we had other tools to track our way. Cara Haxo’s Three Erasures are based on ingenious poetry by Emily Corwin that “erases” words from Teen Vogue magazine articles, exposing the mass media’s complicated and fraught relationship with women’s appearance and bodies. When she wrote Prisoner of Conscience Jennifer Jolley could not have imagined the deep added relevance her work would take on in post 2016 election America. Jolley chose to write a work about the arrest and trial of the Russian female punk group Pussy Riot by Putin’s regime for their outspoken criticism of his government. As Pussy Riot has remained engaged and critical of government abuses in Russia and the West and now that Russian meddling in the U.S. election and connections with the White House are front page news, Jolley’s subject matter and strong stance supporting the Russian band seems prescient. In our current climate of insecurity and doubt about the political future of the world, it is heartening to see young artists stand up and make work that proclaims their convictions with authority and commitment. Quince Ensemble is such a group, and this album, while years in the making, is extremely timely both in its engagement with women’s issues and civil liberties that are foremost on many minds in 2018.


released April 6, 2018

Engineered by Dan Nichols, Aphorism Studios
Quince Ensemble; Amanda DeBoer Bartlett; Liz Pearse, Carrie Henneman Shaw, Kayleigh Butcher
Artwork and layout by Amanda DeBoer Bartlett




New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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