Sometimes the Devil Plays Fate is an album featuring three pieces for large ensemble that investigate existential and experiential themes. The album’s title track sets to music poetry by acclaimed Toronto-based author Dane Swan and Charles Mingus, the great American jazz bassist and composer. A meditation on the interactions and collisions of peoples, lovers and celestial bodies, the piece explores destiny and questions whether we have the power to be transformative in our own lives. The performance features rising star American mezzo-soprano Mary Beth Nelson. The second work, Cloak, Concerto for Clarinet and Ensemble has a mysterious film noir vibe. It is inspired in part by growing up in Montréal, a vibrant city with a colorful reputation. Dominic Desautels, principal clarinetist of the COC, is the soloist here. The final piece, Voluptuous Panic, tries to capture the thrilling feelings produced by vertigo-inducing activities such as car racing, reaching escape velocity on a rocket, experiencing zero gravity and fast dancing. Conductor Gemma New masterfully leads the amazing musicians of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra through the music.

About Paul Frehner 
Acclaimed composer Paul Frehner has written music for the concert stage in a wide variety of contexts.  Ranging from expressionistic and evocative to exciting and gritty, his works often reflect on the existential and experiential aspects of human life.

Frehner’s works have been commissioned and performed by an array of outstanding artists including Soundstreams, Almeida Opera and Aldeburgh Productions, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the New Music Ensemble of the Glenn Gould School of Music, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, The TSO, the Esprit Orchestra, The HPO, the Stuttgart Chamber Choir, Aventa Ensemble, The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal.

Paul Frehner has received numerous awards for his compositions, including First Prize in the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra’s International Composition Competition, First Prize in the Prague Philharmonia’s Symphony of the Third Millennium Composition Competition, Second Prize in the Genesis Prizes for Opera, and the Claude Vivier National Award in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s International Composition Competition and the 2012 K.M. Hunter Artist Award.

Frehner also actively composes electroacoustic and acousmatic music. His acousmatic work, Submerged Echoes, is featured in Jason Young’s award-winning short film, Gun Killers (2019), an NFB production.

Paul Frehner is an Associate Professor on the Faculty of Music of Western University where he teaches composition, orchestration, electroacoustic music and is the Director of CEARP, the faculty’s electroacoustic music studio.

1. Sometimes the Devil Plays Fate  [20:11]
Mary Beth Nelson, Mezzo-Soprano

2-4. Cloak, Concerto pour Clarinette et Ensemble
Dominic Desautels, Clarinet
I. Misterioso     [6:24]
II. Sultry, with Panache   [2:15]
III. With a Steady and Incisive Groove  [5:37]

5,6. Voluptuous Panic
I. Escape Velocity    [6:07]
II. Saltarello – Proxima Centauri  [7:17]