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Sumna is the third solo album of Kivie Cahn-Lipman (founding cellist of the International Contemporary Ensemble, founder of baroque band ACRONYM and HiP Scottish ensemble Makaris, and co-founder of viol consorts LeStrange and Science Ficta). Here he offers first recordings of new cello solos written for him by Daijana Wallace, Édgar Guzmán, and Vincent Calianno, along with a modern classic by Caroline Shaw and a multitracked cello octet by Kaija Saariaho. Cahn-Lipman's passion for early music emerges both in the opening track (a fresh take on HIF von Biber's solo violin Passacaglia, a seventeenth-century masterpiece), and the title track (a commission from Mario Diaz de Leon for unaccompanied viola da gamba).

I saw snowflakes falling from the dark sky of the Finnish autumn. Focusing on the snow, the idea of writing variations on it and its various forms became clearer in my mind.
—Kaija Saariaho

Sumna means “prayer” or “hymn” in Sanskrit, and the music features echoes of Hildegard of Bingen, heavy metal riffing, and the gamba works of Marin Marais.
—Mario Diaz de Leon

From mysterious and aggressive to soft and sultry, Shades explores many moods. Though centered around a single note, intensity comes through gesture, variation of a simple melody, and breathing.
—Daijana Wallace

In manus tuas is based on a sixteenth-century motet by Thomas Tallis. While there are only a few slices of the piece that reflect exact harmonic changes in Tallis’s setting, the motion (or lack of) is intended to capture the sensation of a single moment of hearing the motet.
—Caroline Shaw


released July 8, 2022

Engineering and mastering: Ryan Streber, oktavenaudio.com
Editing: Kivie Cahn-Lipman and Ryan Streber
Design: Marc Wolf, marcjwolf.com
Cover photo: Evgeni Tcherkasski (Unsplash.com)

Huge thanks to Mario, Daijana, Vin, and Édgar for the amazing new music, and deep gratitude to Kaija for her approval of multi-tracking the octet

This recording was made possible in part by a Research Professorship from Youngstown State University




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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