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Classical Music Review

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The Mitten


Composer: Mona Lyn Reese
Narrator: Mona Lyn Reese (English); Daniel Helfgot (Spanish)
Conductor: Petr Vronský
Performed by: Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Label: Navona Records
Release Date: 01 December 2017

Based on the Ukrainian folktale of the same name, The Mitten presents a world built using simple narration as its foundation and a complex composition creating the surrounding universe. Composer Mona Lyn Reese needs only to speak a few short sentences from a children’s tale in each track, and then lets the performers in the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra carry the details of the story deep into the imagination...

While I did enjoy this release, I thing the biggest issue for me was that it sounded a little too similar in style and execution to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

The Mitten is the tale of a child who loses a mitten in the woods. Various animals find the garment and seek refuge inside of it, each animal growing larger and more absurd than the last. When composing the piece, Reese assigned each animal a unique instrument; the clarinet scurries like a mouse, the violin soars like the owl, the tuba bumbles like the boar...

The album contains three versions: an English narration; Spanish narration; and instrumental. It contains 21 tracks (32 min, 01 sec).

While it's an enjoyable enough recording, I can't help feeling it would have been better as part of a compilation packaged with some of the composer's other work.


Darren Rea

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