CD Alla Zingarese, Civitas Ensemble

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Discs 2
Record Label Cedille Records
Release Date August 17, 2018

The Civitas Ensemble, an enterprising chamber group founded by Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians, teams up with Czech violin virtuoso Pavel Šporcl and his wildly popular Gipsy Way Ensemble for a groundbreaking collaboration at the crossroads of Western classical and Romani musical traditions. Alla Zingarese (“in the Gypsy way”) embraces the past with new arrangements of well-loved, Gypsy-infused works by Brahms, Enescu, Hubay, and Sarasate, while celebrating the present with new music by noted Czech composer Lukáš Sommer, written for the combined forces of Civitas’s violin, clarinet, cello, and piano and Gipsy Way’s violin, viola, string bass, and cymbalom (hammered dulcimer), plus a Sommer piece dedicated exclusively to Civitas. All the arrangements and Sommer’s two original compositions are world-premiere recordings.

Highlights include Šporcl’s new version of his own Gipsy Fire, the title track from an earlier, best-selling Gipsy Way album. Alla Zingarese marks the Civitas Ensemble’s recording debut and the Cedille label debut for Gipsy Way. Years in the planning, the project is the outgrowth of the enduring friendship between Šporcl and Civitas violinist Yuan-Qing Yu dating back to their student days. Civitas and Gipsy Way recorded the album after premiering the program at packed concert halls in Prague and Chicago. The Chicago Tribune found it “unique” and “exhilarating.” Chicago on the Aisle called it “a trip through musical history . . . and a venture into new musical territory with surprises aplenty.”