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Classical Music Review

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Off the Edge


Composer: Alicia Terzian
Conductor: Vladimir Lande and Andrew Shenton
Performed by: Siberian State Symphony Orchestra and Choir of the Art College of Krasnoyarsk
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 May 2017

Argentinean composer, conductor, and scholar Alicia Terzian’s new album. Off the Edge, represents a journey into the heart of the string orchestra. The four works on the album introduce listeners to Terzian’s compositional perspective and treatment of this ensemble’s sonic potential. Her writing focuses heavily on the drama, nuance, and contrasts accessible through instrumental colour, and Off the Edge showcases numerous audacious textures involving the string orchestra, with different percussion instruments, chorus, soloists and voice...

Over the album's 6 tracks (50 min, 57 sec) Alicia Terzian shows off her versatility as each is radically different to the others. We start with 'Carmen Criaturalis', which is one of the most eerie pieces I've heard in quite some time. I've reviewed countless horror genre movie scores over the years, and very few of them come anywhere close to capturing the feeling of isolation, and suspense as Terzian has managed to deliver here. But there's a deep layer of beauty hidden beneath the surface, which makes it a very memorable piece. In fact, that's the one thing I took away from this release: that Terzian would make one hell of horror score composer - this is meant as a compliment.

Segments of 'Tres Piezas - I. Cancion del Atardecer' bring forth an incredible feeling of melancholy. I was reminded, in places of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet ballet.

'Tres Piezas - III. Danza Rustica' has a suspenseful opening, before moving into a realm that's not a million miles away from Bernard Herrmann's score for Psycho (1960).

While this album won't be to everyone's tastes, there's enough interesting pieces to make it worth at least giving it a chance. At times (for me that was when the choir went a bit experimental) this can sound a little arty and pretentious. But stick with it...


Darren Rea

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