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Hallelujah Anyhow: The Premiere Recording of Alvin Singleton’s String Quartets

Momenta Quartet is excited to record the complete string quartets of distinguished African American composer Alvin Singleton.

The Latest Update

Confirming our label, New World Records!

Posted on August 7, 2020 by Momenta Quartet

We’re pleased to announce that our Alvin Singleton portrait album will be released under the auspices of New World Records. We couldn’t be happier to be joining their eminent roster of artists and composers, and to be working alongside a label that shares our exploratory vision and commitment to bringing the best of American music to life. More updates to follow as our project gets underway!

Overview

The Momenta Quartet will join forces with Albany Records to make a new album – Hallelujah Anyhow: The Complete String Quartets of Alvin Singleton. This record will feature the world premiere recordings of four string quartets by one of this country’s most distinguished African American composers. Singleton has made substantial contributions to the string chamber music repertoire; his quartets are a significant part of the American string quartet canon and provide important insights into the stylistic development of his music. Recorded under the composer’s supervision, this album will be an important asset to scholars of Singleton’s music and future generations of performers.

The Momenta Quartet is a leading interpreter of Alvin Singleton’s music. We first collaborated with Alvin when we were invited to perform his second quartet, Secret Desire to be Black (1988) and his third quartet, Somehow We Can (1994) as part of his 75th birthday festivities on the Interpretations Series at Roulette in Brooklyn, New York. We became close friends with Alvin, who immediately offered to write a new quartet for us – Hallelujah Anyhow (2019), for which we received a commission grant from Chamber Music America (CMA). Momenta has since performed Alvin’s second, third and fourth quartets at the Americas Society in New York City and for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. We are in the process of learning his String Quartet No. 1 (1967) for performance next season on our sixth annual Momenta Festival and on various university concert series.

Momenta will begin recording Alvin Singleton’s four quartets at Oktaven Studio in Mt. Vernon, New York in August 2021, with composer Ryan Streber as the producer and sound engineer. We plan to release the new album in time for a special CD release concert on our seventh annual Momenta Festival in June 2022.

Both Momenta and Alvin Singleton are excited about making this album under the auspices of New World Records, whose broadly eclectic vision and committed advocacy of American music mesh with Momenta’s own exploratory values and make this an ideal collaboration. Momenta is already well known to New World Records, having been featured on their 2013 portrait CD of composer and shakuhachi artist Elizabeth Brown, and currently working on a portrait of Downtown composer Daniel Goode. New World’s Vice President and Director of Artists & Repertory, Paul Tai, has enthusiastically green-lighted our Singleton proposal and is as thrilled as we are about releasing this new album.

This new record will have an important impact on both Alvin Singleton’s and the Momenta Quartet’s careers. For Alvin, it will represent the first time that one chamber group releases an entire album of his music and that his entire output in one genre is available from one source. For Momenta, it will be the debut recording of our first CMA commission.

We believe strongly in the importance of this record to the American music community at large. Alvin Singleton has a unique voice that needs to be heard, and the trajectory of his career is an inspiration to all musicians and to the generations of African American composers to come. In his own words – Somehow We Can – somehow we can have an American classical music scene that celebrates the creativity of all musicians from all of the rich cultural backgrounds in this diverse nation.

Project Media

Alvin Singleton: Hallelujah Anyhow (2019)
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Momenta Quartet performs the world premiere of Singleton’s most recent string quartet, “Hallelujah Anyhow,” on the 2019 Momenta Festival at Americas Society in NYC. The work is a Chamber Music America commission for Momenta Quartet.
(0:00-3:23 suggested listening)

Alvin Singleton: Somehow We Can (1994)
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Momenta performs Singleton’s third string quartet, “Somehow We Can,” at Americas Society in NYC as part of the 2017 Momenta Festival.
(0:23-3:23 suggested listening)

Alvin Singleton: Secret Desire to be Black (1988)
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Momenta Quartet performs Alvin’s second string quartet, “Secret Desire to be Black.” Presented by the Interpretations Series at Roulette on March 10, 2016 on a concert celebrating Singleton’s 75th birthday.
(9:10-12:10 suggested listening)

Start and End Dates

08/01/202106/30/2022

Location

Mount Vernon, New York

1 update
Last update on August 7, 2020

Project Created By

New York, New York
Momenta: the plural of momentum – four individuals in motion towards a common goal. This is the idea behind the Momenta Quartet, whose eclectic vision encompasses contemporary music of all aesthetic backgrounds. Hailed by the New York Times as a “forward-thinking quartet” with “intriguing programming,” Momenta has premiered over 150 works and collaborated with over…

In Collaboration With

Composer
Atlanta, Georgia
Recording studio
Yonkers, New York
Record label
Brooklyn, New York

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