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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: Earthdrawn Skies

During a summer of strange and unsettling skies, the second album by the outstanding Aizuri Quartet found its way to our library and airwaves at what felt like just the right time.

The music includes works by contemporary composer Eleanor Alberga, medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen, Armenian folk songs by way of Komitas Vardapet, and late romantic Jean Sibelius’s first string quartet, “Intimate Voices.”

Quite the range, though as cellist Karen Ouzounian says, all of this music is, “rooted in a sense of tradition and connection to the land, even as the composers seek something beyond their reach: an understanding of God, the physics of the cosmos, homeland, happiness.”

The other connection: these are all compelling performances, which almost snuck up on with their quiet intensity and beauty.

The quartet’s new adventures with a new line-up include a return to Carnegie Hall for a performance alongside the Kronos Quartet, a world premiere of music by Jennifer Higdon, and serving as Ensemble-in-Residence for the inaugural season of New York Youth Symphony’s Crescendo program.

Their travels will take them University of Iowa for a residency, to Detroit to collaborate Seth Parker Woods and Kirsten Docter, performing with Kim Kashkashian and Marcy Rosen at Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and teaming up clarinetist Kinan Azmeh at Chamber Music Concerts in Ashland, Oregon.

You’ll hear selections from “Earthdrawn Skies” featured on WXXI Classical, but make sure you take also take a look at the recording itself: the album artwork is by Rochester-based artist with an international footprint: dm stith. Check out more of his album art here (and his music here).

Mona Seghatoleslami is the Music Director, host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.