(Independent) Rather than gazing inward, Italian violinist Serena Scibelli positioned the creation of her solo album as an opportunity to stay connected to the outside world during the pandemic by commissioning new works from five different composers. Reflections is interspersed with three of Bach’s canonical sonatas, yet best demonstrates the virtuoso’s interest in the interplay between classical music and contemporary life through how the selections challenge her instrument’s traditions. Ashley Floyd wrote “Bind” after feeling inspired by the physical shapes and movements a violinist’s hand makes on the fingerboard, and drawing a parallel between this process and the practice of yoga as the body moves between various positions of stress and relaxation—an idea explored as Scibelli remains audibly mindful of her inhales and exhales. With the comforting nostalgia brought by Massenet’s timeless “Méditation de Thaïs” in mind, fellow violinist Annie Leeth—who also served as the album’s sound engineer—wrote “If I May,” a passionate melody that showcases Scibelli’s lush lyricism supported above a web of synthesizers and electronics. “A Little Song” by local composer Kathryn Koopman, “Around Me” by Mississippi-based composer Hannah Heaton and “Love in the Time of COVID-19” by Boston-area composer Melika M. Fitzhugh all present distinct, emotional responses to the current times.
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