Album info



Label: Navona

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Chamber Music

Album including Album cover


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  • David Maslanka (1943 - 2017): O Earth, O Stars:
  • 1O Earth, O Stars: I. Chorale04:43
  • 2O Earth, O Stars: II. You Are the Image of the Unending World05:37
  • 3O Earth, O Stars: III. Sanctus05:55
  • 4O Earth, O Stars: IV. Dragons and Devils of the Heart08:15
  • 5O Earth, O Stars: V. O Earth, O Stars04:20
  • 6O Earth, O Stars: VI. Chorale07:00
  • Symphony No. 10 "The River of Time":
  • 7Symphony No. 10 "The River of Time": I. Alison09:57
  • 8Symphony No. 10 "The River of Time": II. Mother and Boy Watching the River of Time08:25
  • 9Symphony No. 10 "The River of Time": III. David15:12
  • 10Symphony No. 10 "The River of Time": IV. One Breath in Peace07:37
  • Total Runtime01:17:01

Info for The River of Time

THE RIVER OF TIME, Navona Records’ latest release, is a captivating tour de force by conductor Mike Fansler and the Western Illinois University Wind Ensemble. Recorded by legendary engineer Bruce Leek – whose recording portfolio includes the President’s Own Marine Band – this album captures the full emotive intensity of one of America’s finest collegiate ensembles.

The album begins with composer David Maslanka’s O Earth O Stars - Music for Flute, Cello & Wind Ensemble. The first movement, “Chorale,” opens like the canopy of the night sky before us, as it takes its melody from J. S. Bach’s reverent “Jesu, meine Freude,” or “Jesus my joy.” As the album progresses, Fansler adeptly pilots his musicians through tight dynamic shifts, breathtaking melodic modulations, and razor-sharp releases. “Dragons and Devils of the Heart,” the fourth movement, is a raucous and enthralling adventure; the music soars and dives with cinematic grandeur. O Earth O Stars ends with another chorale, providing a majestic and passionate conclusion to the first work. Following the concerto comes Maslanka’s Symphony No. 10, The River of Time. “Alison,” the first movement, is soft and contemplative with bursts of brash defiance. The gentleness of the horns is suddenly wracked by a veritable tempest, and we imagine Fansler reaching an imploring hand from the conductor’s podium toward his musicians. The ensuing movements never let the listener grow complacent; evocative solos are interrupted by towering crescendos and fluttering scalar runs. The final movement “One Breath in Peace,” begins tenderly before transcending into song. The symphony concludes in the same way each morning began in composer David Maslanka’s studio; one male voice, gently floating atop the melody of the piano playing a Bach Chorale.

THE RIVER OF TIME is both a profound musical accomplishment and an inviting work suitable for music lovers of every age. Fansler’s commitment to excellence is revealed in his ensemble’s performance; marked by careful attention to detail and impeccable execution, THE RIVER OF TIME will no doubt echo through speakers and headphones for ages to come.

John McMurtery, flute
Moisés Molina, cello
Western Illinois University Wind Ensemble
Mike Fansler, conductor

Mike Fansler
is Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Western Illinois University in Macomb IL, where he provides direction and leadership for its comprehensive band program. He serves as conductor of the university Wind Ensemble and Chamber Players and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting. He has served Western Illinois University since 2001.

Fansler’s passion for music has led to performance invitations, conducting seminars, and workshops on five continents. He regularly conducts honor bands throughout the United States including his most recent engagements with the Pennsylvania All-State Wind Ensemble, Region 22 Texas Music Educators Association Honor Band, Las Vegas Honor Band, and All-Iowa Band. He has lectured on the music of Percy Grainger at the Midwest Clinic and, through a grant, visited the Grainger Museum in Melbourne, Australia to further study his music and life.

Under his leadership, the Western Illinois Wind Ensemble maintains a demanding performance schedule, presenting a range of repertoire from historically significant masterworks to exciting world premieres. In the past decade, the group has engaged audiences at multiple Illinois All-State Conferences, the College Band Directors National Association’s North Central Conference, twice at the prestigious Armour Stage in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and internationally on a 10-day tour of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fansler has collaborated with the WIU School of Music studio faculty on many important engagements, including the recent lead commission and world premiere of James Stephenson’s “The Devil’s Tale,” a sequel to Igor Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat.” In addition, the Chamber Players recently released the world premiere recording of Brahms’ “Variation and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24” which was dedicated to Fansler by the transcriber, Joseph Kreines.

His education is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Syracuse University, James Madison University, and Schenectady County Community College. Fansler remains actively engaged in the Macomb Community as conductor of the Macomb Municipal Band (est. 1852) and saxophonist in the American Legion’s Post 6 Big Band.

His professional memberships include the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (2012), College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, Illinois Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He resides in Avon IL with his wife Abby, and they remain busy chasing the countless activities of three kids: Jordan, Jessie, and Juliet.

John McMurtery
enjoys a varied career as an orchestral flutist, soloist, chamber musician, teacher, and composer. Currently, he is section flutist of the New York City Opera Orchestra and Associate Professor of Flute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has served as guest principal flutist with the Chicago Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and guest assistant principal flutist with the Detroit Symphony. In January 2017 he participated in the Chicago Symphony's tour of Europe with Maestro Riccardo Muti. Previously, he was principal flutist with the Opera Orchestra of New York, the Crested Butte Festival Orchestra, the Dicapo Opera, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, and the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. During the 2011-12 season he served as acting piccoloist with the Oregon Symphony. McMurtery has performed regularly with the New Jersey Symphony and the Amici NY Orchestra as part of the OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville OK.

Regarding a Lincoln Center Festival performance of a Brian Ferneyhough work for solo flute, the New York Times wrote, “Carceri d’Invenzione IIb, a tour de force for flute bristling with invention, was played brilliantly by John McMurtery, exploring the extreme high and low registers of the instrument, zapping back and forth at hyperspeed." As a soloist, McMurtery has appeared with the New York Symphonic Ensemble in Japan, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Artemis Chamber Ensemble, and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared as a guest artist at flute festivals in Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Tennessee.

As a chamber musician, McMurtery has performed with the Camerata Woodwind Quintet, Uptown Flutes, and Luna Nova. He recorded for the NAXOS label with the West Side Chamber Orchestra as soloist on John Rutter’s Suite Antique, as well as chamber music on an album featuring works by Sean Hickey. At the 2015 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival he performed and recorded Messiaen’s Des canyons aux etoiles… under the direction of Maestro Alan Gilbert. As a composer, he has written and recorded several works for UpTown Flutes and the Englewinds Ensemble, both based in New Jersey.

McMurtery's previous teaching appointments include Western Illinois University, Westminster Conservatory Young Artist Program, the Lucy Moses School in New York City, and Drew University Summer Music. He is a past president of the New York Flute Club. McMurtery earned his DMA from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Julius Baker, Robert Langevin, and Jeanne Baxtresser. He received his MM from Rutgers University as a student of Bart Feller, and BM from Central Washington University where he studied with Dr. Hal Ott.

Moisés Molina
a native of Honduras, is an active soloist, chamber musician, and clinician. He has participated in the International Chamber Music Festival in Lima and Cusco Music Festival in Cusco, Perú. Molina was a guest artist/teacher at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the Tennessee Cello Workshop in Nashville, and the 2011 and 2017 Biannual Violoncello Festivals in Lima, Perú. He also gave a series of masterclasses at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras. Molina served as Professor of Cello and Assistant Director of the School of Music at Western Illinois University. He also taught at Hardin-Simmons and Abilene Christian Universities. Currently Molina is Assistant Professor of Cello at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Molina has performed in the United States, Central and South America, and Europe. He has recorded for Centaur Records, Profil, and New World labels and has served on the faculty of the Schlern Music Festival in Italy (now Orfeo Music Festival) He was also a guest artist at the St. Augustine Music Festival in Florida for several seasons.

Molina holds a Bachelor of Music degree (summa cum laude) from Columbus State University and graduate degrees, Master of Music and Doctor of Music, from The Florida State University, where he was a teaching assistant. He studied cello with Martha Gerschefski, Andrew Luchansky, Lubomir Georgiev, and Alan Harris. Molina served as principal cellist for Abilene (TX) Philharmonic Orchestra, Abilene Opera Orchestra, Quincy (IL) Symphony, and as Associate Principal for Tallahassee Symphony, Peoria Symphony, and Heartland Festival Orchestras. He presently serves as principal cellist for the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra.

Molina has given lectures and clinics for the College Music Society and the Texas and Illinois Music Educators Associations. He directed the Quincy (IL) Summer Music Institute Orchestra and the IMEA District IV Junior High School Orchestra for several years. He taught at the Summer Fine Arts Camp at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and he conducted the Abilene Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Molina was successful in several concerto, solo, and chamber music competitions, and was awarded an orchestra fellowship to the Aspen Music Festival.

This album contains no booklet.

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