FROM THE PRESS…
. . .From the Land of Song, a tribute to Wales through five Welsh folk songs, “Let now the harp,” “Over the stone,” “The Missing Boat,” “All Through the Night,” and “Well I now this Lovely Place”. They appear as one string over the course of just under a quarter of an hour, and what a lovely 15 minutes it is. There is an artful simplicity to Thomas’ settings that immediately won this listener, at least, over.
Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec 2023
[Thomas’s] 14-minute, 5-movement suite is based on Welsh folk songs played without pause and revised by its composer for this recording. It is a fine work, here played with pianist Thompson, another Juilliard graduate, now a Minnesotan. This program is a pleasure—fine players and composers and recorded sound.
D Moore, American Record Guide, Nov/Dec 2022
The latest album from cellist Laura Sewell, Threescore is a dedication to family and place, featuring music by Minnesota composers Stephen Paulus and David Evan Thomas, a work by Paul Schoenfield and performances with three pianists.
The culmination of decades of work and relationships, Threescore highlights the cello in works that dive deep into the human experience. Paul Schoenfield’s Six British Folksongs, inspired by Sewell’s time in London studying with the legendary British cellist, Jacqueline duPré, takes common old tunes and uses them as a foil to explore coming to terms with the diagnosis of a serious illness. Sewell is partnered with pianist Ivan Konev. Banchetto Musicale is just that, a neo-baroque musical feast set by composer Stephen Paulus. Ora Itkin joins Sewell.
Pianist Sonja Thompson collaborates with Sewell on From the Land of Song by David Evan Thomas. The work, written for Thomas’s sister Christine Thomas Tsen, takes the listener on a journey that both commemorates a family tragedy and goes back in time. Finally, Benediction, a work perfectly suited for poignant and touching moments, closes the album in peaceful acceptance.
A Minnesota native, Laura Sewell, was the founder and cellist of the award-winning Lark Quartet. During her tenure in the Lark, the quartet was a top prize winner in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and performed nearly 100 concerts a year in Europe, Asia, Canada, and throughout the United States. Later in her career, she was the cellist of the Artaria String Quartet from 2007-2016. As both a soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Sewell has premiered works by such distinguished composers as Libby Larsen, Stephen Paulus, Paul Schoenfield, Peter Schickele, Andrew Waggoner, and Stanislaw Skrowacewski. She has been featured as a soloist and chamber musician on Minnesota Public Radio and in recital on the “Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series” on WFMT in Chicago. Other radio appearances include American Public Media’s Saint Paul Sunday and A Prairie Home Companion. As a recording artist, Ms. Sewell can be heard on the Centaur, Bridge, and Innova labels.
Pianist Sonja Thompson has enjoyed a varied career as a pianist, chamber music collaborator, conductor, vocal coach, and educator. A graduate of The Juilliard School and University of Minnesota, Thompson’s performing credits include a wide array of chamber music and Art Song, new music, Music Theater and opera, from appearances at the International Grieg Society in Bergen (Norway) to cruises with A Prairie Home Companion. Locally she has performed for the Schubert Club and Source Song Festival; theater credits include Skylark Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Minnesota Orchestra and Florida Grand Opera in Miami. Thompson was the music director for Theater Latte Da’s 2022 presentation of La bohème.