SILVER ANGEL – world premiere recording released December 24, 2022 at 23h45m

World Premiere recording with scrolling score – release scheduled for 23h45m December 24, 2022

SILVER ANGEL [2015] for solo bassoon and string orchestra by Constantine Caravassilis

I. Prayer Among the Ruins

2. A New Dawn Nadina Mackie, solo bassoon Constantine Caravassilis, conductor

Notes by Composer [all credits below]

SILVER ANGEL is a two-movement concerto for solo bassoon and string orchestra, commissioned by the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra (Ottawa) and premiered by soloist Nadina Mackie. The project was initiated by conductor Kevin Mallon, generously supported by an Ontario Arts Council Commissioning Grant.

The title references Archangel Gabriel, an important figure featured in both the Old and New Testaments, also very prominent in the Islamic tradition (referred to as Jibra’il). Both in Christianity and in Islam, Gabriel has the role of the messenger to various prophets and to specific people. The bassoonist embodies the role of the messenger in the concerto and ‘silver’ refers to one Nadina’s extraordinary concert outfits, an element of this artist that is as well-known as her virtuosity.

The first movement, Prayer Among the Ruins, is a requiem to the lives lost in the Middle East during the catastrophic events of 2014-2015, composed while members of the ISIS were beheading people and destroying a number of ancient ruins, including the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud. With the reports of these violent events, my late grandmother’s health started to deteriorate rapidly, bringing a number of her stories related to the Nazi occupation in Greece to the surface. The contemporary events and my grandmother’s memoirs are reflected in the music with the requiem being interrupted by the voice of the Archangel introducing us to sounds from the Eastern Mediterranean, Asia Minor and Middle Eastern regions, signalling a desideratum for peace among all nations and peoples. Tragedy dominates and the orchestra interrupts the voice of the Archangel with a number of passionate and violent passages.

The fast second movement is New Dawn and the message of hope permeates throughout. This movement was completed on the very day that my grandmother’s death was announced, and uses the melody from one of her own songs that she sung to her grandchildren. To celebrate a long life of a very positive, energetic and cheerful person, I turned my grandmother’s melody to a Manheim rocket and used a number of western musical elements including baroque, jazz and a touch of tango, all of which culminate to a joyful dance, just as she would have liked it. A number of sarcastic entrances from the bassoon are in place to lighten the atmosphere created by the first movement. Just before this big feast comes to an end, we are reminded of the struggles of the past through interjections of deeply-felt laments reminiscent of ecclesiastical music from the Byzantine era.

SILVER ANGEL is dedicated in loving memory to Maria Caravassilis (1920-2015).

Constantine Caravassilis, Toronto, May 2015/2022

Constantine Caravassilis, composer and conductor

Nadina Mackie Jackson, solo bassoon

CREDITS Robert DiVito, Society of Sound – Recording, mix and mastering engineer Keith Horner – Producer Dennis Kwok – Video editor Nadina Mackie Jackson – Executive Producer Commissioned by Thirteen Strings, Ottawa Kevin Mallon, conductor Funded by the Ontario Arts Council Commissioning Grant Published by Pythagorean Editions SILVER ANGEL ORCHESTRA Violin 1 – Rebecca MacLeod Violin 2 – Bijan Sepanji Violin 3 – Steve Sang Koh Violin 4 – Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh Violin 5 – Amy Spurr Violin 6 – Charna Matsushige Violin 7 – Jennifer Murphy Violin 8 – Alice Hong Viola 1 – Rory McLeod Viola 2 –(Alex McLeod Cello 1 – Bryan Lu Cello 2 – Amahl Arulanandam Bass: Joe Phillips and Theo Chan Premiered by Nadina Mackie Jackson and Thirteen Strings, Kevin Mallon, conductor June 12, 2015, Ottawa Toronto premiere, October 24, 2016, Nadina Mackie Jackson and the SILVER ANGEL Out Of This World Orchestra, Constantine Caravassilis, conductor Recorded at Heliconian Hall, Toronto, October 23, 2016 Robert di Vito SOCIETY OF SOUND recording equipment tracked using DPA, Schoeps and Royer microphones through Millennia, Neve, Cranesong, Earlybird and NPNG preamps. ADDA converters by Apogee.

Nadina is playing Heckel #15202



World Premiere of CARNIVAL: BASSOON CONCERTO by AUGUSTA READ THOMAS for solo bassoon and wind ensemble, April 30, 2022. Commissioned, performed and recorded by State University of New York at Fredonia Wind Ensemble (26 players), DR PAULA HOLCOMB, conductor.

NADINA MACKIE JACKSON, solo bassoon playing blue Bell bassoon #202





Very colourful instrumentation, Stravinsky-like, and fun, CARNIVAL has a sense of humor, playfully crisscrossing arrays of sonic colors. Animated, rhythmic, intricately constructed, and very fresh, unique composition, informed by layers of drawings, charts, and visual artistry. The music is colorful, clean and very intentional. Thomas played trumpet for 14 years and grew up playing in the Wind Ensemble and band. Thus, she has an affinity for and understanding of the instrumentation from the inside out. You can hear that she heard every note and that every dynamic and articulation was sculpted. Thomas said: “I believe music feeds our souls. Unbreakable is the power of art to build community. Humanity has and will always work together to further music’s flexible, diverse capacity and innate power.” Relatively speaking, bassoon concerti with wind ensemble are very rare. CARNIVAL showcases the bassoon and soloist with inventive music that seamlessly embraces lyrical, jazzy, spirited, stately, expressive, CARNIVAL is a CELEBRATION.

ADVANCE REVIEW Dec. 16/22 Augusta Read Thomas’s new CARNIVAL for solo bassoon and wind ensemble is a tour-de-force. Thomas commands wind and percussion textures to create an energized, captivating soundscape. She balances the thickness of the score with ease, allowing the solo bassoon to dance, converse, and assert itself. Nadina Mackie Jackson responds in force. Her trademark virtuosity combined with Thomas’ writing is simply mesmerizing. The SUNY Fredonia Wind Ensemble under the direction of Paula Holcomb is a pillar of precision and vibrancy throughout. This collaboration of musical titans is not to be missed! — Dr Christin Schillinger


BIRDS – Commissioners’ Club

BIRDS – Commissioners’ Club

Inspired by a casual suggestion from my son, I began this series of paintings in the summer of 2021 for the McKellar Market near my home in Ontario.

Jake (#1 son) challenged me to do the paintings within an hour, which I did for the first 20 and discovered that to be oddly exhausting; I now allow myself more time. I do love rapid sketch style of the early beta birds, I also love the detailed emotions and colors of current avians.

I have painted 60 birds since August, 2021, all in acrylic on small wood gallery panels, 8″ x 8″ x 1.5″.  And you can see my larger works on my website.

The next commissioning cycle starts in August 2023. The paintings will be 12″ x 12″ on custom birch wrap panels, $480 plus shipping and HST/GST (in Canada). The commissioner  pays when painting is completed.

Write to me if you want to commission. And if you cannot afford original art, there are some lovely prints on my Society 6 page. And credenzas.