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Classical Music Review

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Fleeting Realms
Chamber Works


Composers: Various
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 08 September 2017

Fleeting Realms is the latest compilation of chamber music from Navona Records. It features six composers, all with very different styles and approaches to the genre. The album’s tone is set by three works: Bruce Babcock’s 'Irrational Exuberance', Joyce Tang’s 'Snowy Landscapes', and Nora Morrow’s 'Luca’s Dream'. Each is powerful, yet gentle, and exudes a kind of musical warmth that draws the listener into the rest of the album...

Fleeting Realms offers 12 very diverse tracks (1 hour, 15 min, 37 sec) from six composers (Bruce Babcock, Joyce Wai-chung Tang, Nora Morrow, David Maki, Craig Madden Morris and Joseph Summer).

'Irrational Exuberance', for alto saxophone, cello, and piano, is thematic and rhythmically active, and features conversational imitation between its three instruments. Tang’s 'Snowy Landscapes' and Morrow’s 'Luca’s Dream' embody the subject matter of their titles. Luca’s Dream is scored for solo vibraphone, and Morrow exploits its bell-like sound to emphasize the work’s overall innocence.

Maki’s 'Five Impromptus for Two' and Morris’s 'Crosscurrents' are the album’s most dissonant works.

I have to admit to rather enjoying this album... But on balance I have to confess that the only tracks I would have liked to hear more of were 'Dawn' and 'Crosscurrents'.

It's an enjoyable album and acts as an introduction to composers whose work may have passed you by.

Track listing:

Bruce Babcock
01 - Irrational Exuberance
Doug Masek (alto saxophone), David Speltz (cello), Louise Thomas (piano)

Joyce Wai-chung Tang
02 - Snowy Landscape
Lucie Kaucká (piano), (Vít Mužík) violin, Jiří Fajkus (cello)

Nora Morrow
03 - Dawn
Xiao'an Li (conductor), Arielle Burke (flute), Michael Norsworthy (clarinet in A), Daniel Beilman (bassoon), Kinga Bacik (cello)

04 - Luca’s Dream
Matt Sharrock (vibraphone)

David Maki
Five Impromptus for Two
Solo Piano (Four-hands) - Lucie Kaucká & Martin Smutný (piano)
05 - I
06 - II
07 - III
08 - IV
09 - V

Craig Madden Morris
10 - Crosscurrents
Nan-Cheng Chen (cello), Kelly Yu-Chieh Lin (piano)

Joseph Summer
11 - They Bore Him Barefaced on The Bier
Kathryn Guthrie (soprano), Neal Ferreira (tenor), SangYoung Kim (piano)

12 - He Took Me by The Wrist
Kathryn Guthrie (soprano), David Salsbery Fry (bass), SangYoung Kim (piano)


Darren Rea

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