PARMA Recordings is a highly adventurous and innovative music company headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. PARMA, which issues recordings on the Navona, Ravello, Ansonica, and Big Round Records labels, has very big plans for you and your listening ears. Thanks are due to CEO Bob Lord and his vibrant team.
Recently, Born: The Music of Edie Hill and Michael Gilbertson, a Navona release, won a Grammy® Award for “Best Choral Performance” following its November 2022 nomination. Conductor Donald Nally and composers Edie Hill and Michael Gilbertson were all involved in this project and contributed to its winning a Grammy® – a monumental achievement!
We hope to soon add this remarkable recording to our library here at Classical Archives. But until we do, you can start listening to some fabulous Navona releases right now, right here on Classical Archives. If you are a member of Classical Archives, just click on one of the albums that are listed to your right.
Big Plans for the Future
And here are some ways you will be hearing Navona and Parma recordings in the coming months.
Parma to Release the World Premiere Recording of Leonard Bernstein’s “Music for String Quartet”
Leonard Bernstein’s Music for String Quartet is set to receive its premiere studio recording and release, with a newly discovered second movement, as yet unheard publicly, to be included on the program.
The piece, composed by Bernstein in 1936 at age 18 while a student at Harvard University in Cambridge, is performed by Lucia Lin, Natalie Rose Kress, Danny Kim, and Ronald Feldman, produced by PARMA Recordings, and released on the GRAMMY-winning Navona Records label.
“It’s a rare event indeed to present a premiere of any type by a great master of Bernstein’s stature, much less to have something completely unheard as part of it,” says Bob Lord, CEO of PARMA. “We’re honored to be the stewards of this historic project.”
Music for String Quartet received its debut public performance at Tanglewood’s Linde Center on November 6, 2021, by the same group of performers who will record the piece, but it was never truly lost. The manuscript, given by Bernstein to Stanley Benson of the New England String Quartet following a rehearsal reading, was neatly tucked away in the family music cabinet by Benson’s widow Clara.
Clara, who had performed the piece at home with her own quartet from time to time over the years, mentioned it in passing to her daughter Lisa Benson Pickett.
They told their friend, former Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Librarian John Perkel, about the manuscript. The librarian was shocked to learn that a string quartet, a compositional genre long believed to have been unexplored by Bernstein, existed at all in the influential musician’s catalog.
“I had a hard time believing what I was hearing,” says Perkel, who has steadfastly shepherded the piece from its re-discovery to the upcoming production. “In the world of music and art, there is so much which is forgotten, so much which is unknown, that to be able to shed even just a small beam of new light on a genius of Bernstein’s caliber is incredibly special.”
To Perkel’s delight, shortly after the piece’s public premiere a second movement of the string quartet was discovered at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
“There was a ‘1’ at the top of the original manuscript,” says Perkel, “so I thought that there might be ‘2’ out there somewhere, and sure enough there was.”
“We are so pleased to record this piece which we’ve grown to love dearly,” says violinist Lin. “It has been exciting to peek into Bernstein’s creative process through the lens of this piece written during his formative years.”
The recording, set to take place in 2023, will also contain the seldom-recorded duo piece Elegies for Violin and Viola by composer Aaron Copland, a musical mentor, collaborator, and dear friend of Bernstein’s.
Details regarding the recording and release will be announced in the coming months. But stay tuned. We are hoping to make it available to members of Classical Archives just as soon as we possibly can.
And Listen to Marti Epstein’s Opera Rumpelstiltskin Today on Classical Archives
This is another Navona recording that we predict will be nothing less than a revelation for you on your listening day. It is the score that composer Marti Epstein wrote for the animated opera Rumpelstiltskin.
We recently wrote about Rumpelstiltskin on the Classical Archives Vlog. Be sure to check it out and meet Aliana de la Guardia, the mesmerizing singer who created the title role in the Navona recording.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears on Parma and Navona Records
Classical Archives is doing all it can to make these recordings part of our streaming library.
No challenge is too big for this small label. Visit their website and stay tuned.