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Touching Rapture

We are proud to have collaborated with these talented composers to create this powerful album 

About Touching Rapture

Our artistic goal as musicians and as an ensemble is to promote and perform the work of living composers as well as music written for cello and piano.  We are thankful for the opportunity to record our second album of original music for cello and piano. 

Of Wood and Touch (2001)

Alex Shapiro

About "Of Wood and Touch"


At the time I began composing this piece, I happened to be listening to works by the French composers Ravel, Debussy, and Satie as well as to traditional music from Egypt and Turkey. There are unexpected parallels in the types of minor scales used by each country's musicians. The cello is remarkably well suited for some of the long, floating melodies that are often heard in Middle Eastern music, usually played by wind instruments like the ney or the mizmar.

While I couldn't easily explore microtonality in a duet that strongly features the all-too-well tempered piano, I did reference the driving rhythms of some Middle Eastern music in a hypnotic and ostinatic piano part that's fun to play, and the cello writing showcases the extraordinary range and tone of the instrument in the hands of a fine player. The result is a uniquely American piece that is informed by other cultures. The title refers to the sensual nature of each instrument.

Hum (2019) 

Tina Davidson

A hum, a convergence – a thrum, almost a purr, if you listen closely enough.

Hum was premiered by the Wurtz-Berger Duo in the summer of 2021, at the Thirsty Ears Festival in Chicago and as part of a New Music Chicago Presents concert.  This single-movement work is comprised of several diverse sections.  The music is intensely rhythmic and flows easily, taking the listener on a journey from relaxation to moments of intensity.  It is as gratifying to perform as it is to listen to.

Chambers (2021-revised 2023)

Amy A. Wurtz

Chambers, for violoncello and piano, was written for and premiered at the 2021 Ear Taxi Festival in Chicago. The first performance was given by the Wurtz-Berger Duo and accompanied by Mindy Meyers, choreography and dance.  After the first performance, I made some significant revisions and ended up with the version now recorded by the Wurtz-Berger Duo.

The structure and form of Chambers is a compositional tool I have proposed to myself in several of my recent works and plays with the idea of a palindrome.  The sections of Chambers are structured around one central section, and radiate out in pairs in either direction.  Thus the beginning corresponds to the end, the second section to the penultimate section, and so forth.  However, the paired sections are only related to each other, built from the same material, but not strictly parallel to each other–how could they be, after having gone through the journey this piece takes us on?  The central section is neither large nor loud; it is the tender heart of the entire composition. 

Rapture (2003)

Laura Elise Schwendinger

Rapture comes in two different versions, one for the flute and piano, and one for cello and piano. It is a free, singing, rhapsodic work, which is finally quite dramatic. The rapture, from the title, is the love of nature.

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