Albany Records is proud to announce the release of Endangered, a recording of recent and commissioned works for piano on environmental themes performed by Marthanne Verbit. Composers include Joseph Fennimore (Five Rivers*); Peter Lieberson (The Ocean that has no West and no East); Hilary Tann (Light from the Cliffs); John Kennedy (Naturali Periclitati*); and Steve Heitzeg (Sandhill Crane Migration Variations).

The timely compositional theme — concern for the environment — reflects a convergence of the artist’s personal and artistic convictions. As Verbit puts it: “Long before moving to Santa Fe in 2001, I began to think about what role a musician might play in the environmental struggle our planet faces. In choosing to make a recording of five piano works from 1997 to 2007, this may be fiddling while Rome burns. However, it can do no harm to share these very personal musical visions of what is endangered, what is now lost, what needs to be celebrated or preserved, and it may give some pleasure.”

The composers selected for Endangered share an environmental awareness and reverence, which served as a guiding force for the pieces they wrote. For Joseph Fennimore it was Five Rivers, an environmental education center located near his home in Albany, New York. Peter Lieberson’s composition mourns the loss of Toru Takemitsu, who wrote in his final days, “I am enjoying swimming in the Ocean that has no West and no East.” Hilary Tann focused on the cliffs of an inland mountain range near her first home in Wales, while Steve Heitzeg chose to celebrate the beauty of the Sandhill Crane, in his native Minnesota. John Kennedy’s work reflects upon endangered natures, and all that is being lost in the human/nature interface.

The eminent environmentalist William deBuys eloquently sums up the music: “...To my ear, the selections comprise a whole that is remarkably complete and satisfying. A tension runs through Endangered. Perhaps it accounts for the disk’s unity. The pieces are suffused with delight for the phenomena that inspire them...but mixed with the awe is a sense of loss and vulnerability, an awareness that the most exquisite and fragile details of creation are being fractured, evaporated, ground to dust...”

FanFare Magazine, Michael Cameron, February 23, 2009:
"...Pictorial accuracy and admirable political activism notwithstanding, a recording must rise or fall on the merits of the music and its realization. Verbit deserves high kudos for assembling five strong pieces and presenting them with feeling and authority. If the concept inspires action by listeners, so much the better... "
(Click to read the review in its entirety)

*World premiere

ENDANGERED:MARTHANNE VERBIT, PIANO (TROY1051) is available online at www.albanyrecords.com, at fine record stores or from Albany Music Distributors, 915 Broadway, Albany, NY12207 • 1.518.436.8814