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Classical Music Review

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Music for Voices


Composer: Allen Brings
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 June 2017

Originally released by Capstone, Music for Voices is being re-issued by Navona Records. Composer and pianist Allen Brings presents a collection of pairings for vocals and instruments, often marrying the forces of chorus and orchestra. Brings’s compositions feature a wide range of performer credits, including the Ars Brunensis Chorus and the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, both from the Czech Republic; the New York Virtuoso Singers; the Kent Singers from Connecticut; conductors Toshiyuki Shimada, Marguerite Mullée, and Harold Rosenbaum; soprano Mara Bonde; and pianist Genevieve Chinn...

If you're a fan of Classical music then you're going to love what Allen Brings delivers with Music for Voices. There's such diversity on display here that it's almost impossible to pick out high points.

We open with 'At the Round Earths Imagin'd Corners' from 'Three Holy Sonnets'. And straight away we're transported to another plain. The music conjures up images of entering Heaven... but then you suddenly realise you're not in Heaven, but Hell. It's a wonderful way to open the album. If you're a soundtrack buff, it may also reminded you of a cross between both John Williams's scores for Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi ('Emperor's Throne Room') and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ('Approaching the Stones' - from the expanded edition of the soundtrack). Both of which made a similar choral impression on me as a teenager.

'To Live Merrily, and to Trust to Good Verses' from 'A Herrick Suite' is as close to Christmas music as I want to get in the middle of June (when I was reviewing this album). But it's a wonderful track.

So, you can see the diversity on display here already and there are so many more elements to discover over the course of the album's 15 tracks (59 min, 41 sec). You really can't fault this release.

Track listing:

Three Holy Sonnets (1988)
For chorus & orchestra (ASCAP)
Ars Brunensis & The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Toshiyuki Shimada (conductor)
01 - At the Round Earths Imagin’d Corners
02 - Death Be Not Proud
03 - Batter My Heart, Three Person’d God

A Herrick Suite (1977)
For chorus & piano (ASCAP)
The Kent Singers | Marguerite Mullée (conductor)
Allen Brings (pianist)
04 - I Sing of Brooks
05 - Corinna’s Going a Maying
06 - To Primroses Filled with Morning Dew
07 - To Live Merrily, and to Trust to Good Verses
08 - To Music, to Becalm his Fever

Three Songs of Blake & Donne
For soprano & piano (ASCAP)
Mara Bonde (soprano) Allen Brings (pianist)
09 - A Cradle Song
10 - Never Seek To Tell Thy Love
11 - Song

12 - Cor Jesu Trinitatis (1954)
For a cappella chorus (ASCAP)
The Kent Singers | Marguerite Mullée (conductor)

13 - The Lament of Rachel (1997)
For chamber choir & piano, four-hands (ASCAP)
The New York Virtuoso Singers
Margery Daley, Melisssa Kelley, Cynthia Wallace (sopranos)
Karen Krueger, Mary Marathe, Nancy Wertsch (soloist) (altos)
Neil Farrell, Mukund Marathe, Michael Steinberger (tenors)
Frank Barr, Steven Moore, Jon Szabo (basses)
Genevieve Chinn, Allen Brings (pianists)
Harold Rosenbaum (conductor)

14 - From Psal Terium Davidicum (1994)
For chorus & orchestra (ASCAP)
Ars Brunensis & The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Toshiyuki Shimada (conductor)

15 - Encore: Mountain Song (1992)
For soprano & piano (ASCAP)
Mara Bonde (soprano) Allen Brings (pianist)


Darren Rea

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