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Classical Music Review

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Red Lilies of Bells, Golden Lilies of Bells, White Lilies of Bells


Composer: Alla Elana Cohen
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 March 2017

Composer Alla Elana Cohen presents a full album of chamber works in her first Ravello Records release Red Lilies of Bells, Golden Lilies of Bells, White Lilies of Bells.

The album opens with 'Inner Temple Vol. 2 Ser. 1 “Brachot” (“Blessings”)', a dramatic string quartet in three movements. The first movement begins with gliding lead violin lines before turning more brooding and less fluid, with bursts of sliding chords countered interspersed. A steady pizzicato shapes the second movement, played in turns by two violins and by viola and cello throughout nearly the entire length of the piece.

Cohen returns to the 'Inner Temple' theme later in the album with 'Inner Temple Vol. 1 Ser. 12 “Brachot”' and 'Inner Temple Vol. 1 Ser. 11 “Shabbat Nigunim”', both works for chamber orchestra which continue the spirit of the initial 'Inner Temple' installment.

The mood shifts slightly with the next composition, a triptych for chamber orchestra entitled Homage to Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais. The review files we received had the second and third pieces transposed. On the sleeve notes the title movement 'Red Lilies of Bell...' is the third collection, but on our files it's the second. This does actually change the whole feeling of the release.

The title track suite, 'Red Lilies of Bells, Golden Lilies of Bells, White Lilies of Bells' is presented as a trio for violin, cello and piano. The first movement and third movements are almost entirely spoken word with just the hint of a melody. Personally, this was the one aspect of the album that turned me off and made the whole thing seem a little too pretentious.

The album contains 26 tracks (1 hr, 13 min, 42 sec) and while it's not an album I'm likely to return to too often, fans of modern, classical music may find some aspects of this to be rather refreshing.


Darren Rea

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