The Smile of Maud Lewis

Release of the recording - Friday, May 20, 2022

Tribute to Nikolai Korndorf (1947-2001) -A Life Committed to Beauty!

It is difficult to Imagine a better introduction to Korndorf’s music; sterling performances in a fine recording conspire to create an indelible impression. Five stars.

-Colin Clark (Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec, 2022)

Performances are excellent….I was happy to be introduced the music of Nikolai Korndorf by this album….

-Peter Burwasser (Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec, 2022)

The Canadian music of Nikolai Korndorf has been a wonderful discovery for me, and this disc blasts some other one off my 2022 Want List.

-James H. North (Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec, 2022)

This is a lovely and most satisfying hour of music-making. Recommend.

-Ken Meltzer (Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec, 2022).

Sound is absolutely first-rate throughout, as these superb performances demand.

-Ivan Moody (Gramophone - November, 2022)

Yarilo Contemporary Music Society is proud to announce the release of a new album dedicated to the music of Nikolai Korndorf and his legacy. Available for the first time on May 20th are three of his finest compositions: “The Smile of Maud Lewis” for chamber orchestra, “Triptych” for cello and piano, and “Lullaby” for two pianos. Also included is Jocelyn Morlock’s memorial tribute “half-light, somnolent rains” for two pianos. Performers: Leslie Dala, conductor, Ariel Barnes, cello, Anna Levy and Jane Hayes, pianos.

The featured work, “The Smile of Maud Lewis”, (1998), is one of the most unique music compositions created on Canadian soil. This piece is so special in capturing the invisible, and yet present, the artistic spirit of two different worlds - the composer ‘s native Russia and the newly adopted country - Canada. He recasts his Russian piece “Lullaby” (1984), written on the occasion of his newborn baby son Alex in his new Canadian work, “The Smile of Maud Lewis”, by uniting the sense of simplicity, innocence and purity, features that lay above national identity. In his musical portrayal of the Nova Scotia artist Maud Lewis, Korndorf transforms the Russian Lullaby ( “Baiu, Baiushki”) into the most Canadian of all sounds by implementing the folk style of Nova Scotia. “The Smile of Maud Lewis” preserves the structure, small tonal and dynamic range of Lullaby, but brings the particular performing technical characteristic for the “time and space” of Maud Lewis’ s art. The undeniable purity in her art, the children drawings full of life, and the smile on her disfigured face became the “secret passage” Nikolai Korndorf walked through when he became a true Canadian composer!

The Smile of Maud Lewis belongs to the National treasure of Canada and now it will be preserved for future generations. In the words of producer Denise Ball this recording “….is a truly invaluable contribution to Canadian music”!