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Classical Music Review

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Ancestral Voices


Composers: Gilad Cohen, Arthur Gottschalk, Malek Jandali and Javier Farias
Performed by: Apollo Chamber Players
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 November 2017

Navona Records presents Ancestral Voices, the Apollo Chamber Players’ next installment in their 20x2020 project. 20x2020 is an initiative to commission 20 new folk music-inspired and multicultural works by the end of the decade. This fiery release comprises four 20x2020 works from composers Gilad Cohen, Arthur Gottschalk, Malek Jandali, and Javier Farias...

This latest release from The Apollo Chamber Players is worthy of your time for the sheer diversity of the music. But presented here, everything melds together beautifully to feel like one lovingly crafted work.

Cohen’s 'Three Goat Blues' is inspired by the Passover prayer 'Chad Gadya', a fable that concerns a goat that falls victim to the natural laws of predator and prey. Using an ancient Provençal Jewish tune of the prayer as a musical source.

Gottschalk’s 'Imagenes de Cuba' incorporates sounds and music from Cuban culture, from the Cuban national anthem to protest songs to the sounds of a busy Havana square.

Syrian-American composer Malek Jandali's 'String Quartet in E-flat Major' connects Middle Eastern modes and Western classical forms. His passion for humanitarian efforts and the music of his home country emanates through expressive and powerful settings of centuries-old Syrian folk melodies,

The soundscape of Javier Farias’s ' Andean Suite' is situated on the Andean mountain region, an intersection of geography and culture from several South American nations. He melds the sounds and virtuosity of a classical guitar with string quartet to evoke the ceremonial blood fight of the Peruvian Yawar Fiesta, the Altiplano (“high plains”) of the Andes, and La Diablada, the traditional dance of the Bolivian Oruro Carnival.

It was interesting to listen to these pieces and then read about their inspiration once I'd already got my own mental image of what was behind each work. Overall, it's a wonderfully performed collection of some interesting works.

Track listing:

Gilad Cohen
01 - Three Goat Blues 20x2020 No. 4
Anabel Ramirez (violin I); Matthew J. Detrick (violin II); Whitney Bullock (viola); Matthew Dudzik (cello)

Arthur Gottschalk
Imágenes de Cuba 20x2020 No. 7
Anabel Ramirez (violin I); Matthew J. Detrick (violin II); Whitney Bullock (viola); Matthew Dudzik (cello); Adel González (percussion)
- I. Manisero
03 - II. Guajira
04 - III. Timba

Malek Jandali
String Quartet in E-flat Major 20x2020 No. 8b
Matthew J. Detrick (violin I); Anabel Ramirez (violin II); Whitney Bullock (viola); Matthew Dudzik (cello)
05 - I. Moderato
06 - II. Moderato
07 - III. Vivo
08 - IV. Andantino
09 - V. Adagio
10 - VI. Allegro molto

Javier Farias
Andean Suite 20x2020 No. 10
Matthew J. Detrick (violin I); Anabel Ramirez (violin II); Whitney Bullock (viola); Matthew Dudzik (cello); Javier Farias (guitar)
11 - I. Yawar Fiesta
12 - II. Huayno
13 - III. Diablada


Darren Rea

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