The Strange Highway is the title of the fascinating debut album of Iranian-born, American composer Gity Razaz. BIS Records will release it on August 5, 2022.

Razaz’ music is represented in the album by the opening The Strange Highway for cello octet. Inspired by a Spanish language poem by the late Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño: You wish the angst would go away/While it rains on the strange road/Where you find yourself/Rain: I just wish/The angst would go away/I’m giving it my best shot.

The participating musicians, the All-American Cello Band, encompassed by Julie Albers, Jake Braun, Denise Djokic, Paul Dwyer, Ken Olsen, David Requiro, Seaunn Thorsteinsdottir, and Sarina Zhang); Francesca dePasquale, violin, Scott Cuellar, piano; Inbal Segev, cello; Katharina Kang Litton, viola, and the Metropolis Ensemble – Andrew Cyr, conductor are a cross-section of the finest in the New York new music world.

Duo, a piece for violin and piano playfully tosses a melody back and forth between the agile violin of Francesca de Pasquale and Scott Cuellar’s resourceful piano

Legend of Sigh, a bravura solo for cello is played to the hilt by cellist Inbal Segev, as it depicts in music an Azerbaijani tale about live after death.

Spellbound – an entrancing soliloquy for solo viola is fiercely played by Katharina Kang Litton, inspired, as so much of Razaz’ music by traditional Iranian music.

The closing Metamorphosis of Narcissus for chamber orchestra and fixed electronics, features the Metropolis Ensemble, led by Andrew Cyr in a beautiful and concise tone poem about Narcissus, the mythological youth who became so enchanted by his beauty that he was transformed into the flower that now bears his name.

Composer Gity Razaz makes a wonderful impression with a debut album featuring work that straddles musical cultures. Defiantly refusing to be labeled anything other than beautiful. The Strange Highway finds a way to depict a full gamut of intense emotions.

Rafael de Acha (c) 2022

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