Bell Alma Duo's latest disc dances

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
January 10, 2012
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St. Paul, Minn. — One's the first flutist of the Minnesota Opera, the other the first harpist of the Minnesota Orchestra and together they make beautiful music together as the Bell Alma Duo. Their latest disc explores music for dance - some familiar, and some brand new gems.

Michele stopped by the studio today to share some of her favorite tracks and to talk about what it takes to put together a CD.

For starters, they record at Orchestra Hall, which has a surprisingly intimate sound, even though reverberant. The two laugh a lot in rehearsals and when recording because they have what Michele calls a "perfect marriage" that combines each of their strengths, including Michele's innate musical strength - that of being half Italian. Brought up on opera and singing, she always reaches for the soul of the music as well as the long singing line.

In all cultures, the flute and harp are two of the most ancient instruments, and the two most symbolic of art itself.
- Bengali scholar, Willaim Radice

Michele and Kathy met playing in the opera (Michele is first flute. Kathy was their harpist before her current job with the Minnesota Orchestra.) After playing the amazing cadenzas from Donizetti's Lucia de Lamermoor, the two asked for a paraphrase on the music by Minnesota composer David Evan Thomas. That amazing piece became the central character in their first disc, which naturally led founding an ensemble and then a second and third disc.

This disc also includes arrangements and transcriptions and some real gems by composers new to me, including Swiss composer Marguerite Roesgen-Champion and Argentine composer Mario Broeders.

In addition, there's a marvelous new work by Kathy's husband Daniel Sturm "Early Rising" that captures a beautiful Sabbath ritual of thanksgiving, singing and dancing from Daniel's ancestral homeland of the Czech Republic.

The marriage of these two wonderful instrumentalists is magical, and their new disc just lovely. Download the free tracks while you can this week and stay tuned for a date for their upcoming release party in February.

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  • An Italian rant 5:40 John Playford
    Baltimore Consort
    Buy Now
  • Violin Partita No. 2: Corrente 5:36 Johann Sebastian Bach
    Tomo Iwakura, guitar
    Buy Now
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