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Classical Music Review

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East of the Sun & West of the Moon


Composer: Daniel Crozier
Conductors: Gerard Schwarz and Stanislav Vavrinek
Performed by: Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 13 January 2018

Navona Records release Daniel Crozier’s enchanting East of The Sun and West of The Moon, orchestral album. Using music, rather than words, to tell his story, Crozier’s work is full of startling detail and narrative. The two pieces comprising this album serve as windows into Crozier’s theory of musical story telling...

I don't know where to begin singing this album's praises. Cutting to the chase, you don't need to read any more - just go out and buy this! Every lover of classical music and classic movie scores should have this in their collection.

Firstly, on its own merits this is a rousing, heartbreakingly melancholic, uplifting, beautiful work of art. But, for me there's so much more to discover and cherish in this incredibly rich album. It would appear that Daniel Crozier is either a huge fan of the work of John Williams (as well as the classical music that has inspired his work over the years) or he happens to have the same tastes and writing style. There appeared to be a lot of little homages to Williams's work throughout this album's 4 tracks (45 min, 40 sec).

For me, the opening piece, 'Symphony No. 1 "Triptych for Orchestra": I. Ceremonies' reminded me of classic Hitchcock scores, most notably Bernard Herrmann's romantic output in films like Vertigo, as well as Trevor Jones's work on The Dark Crystal.

'Symphony No. 1 "Triptych for Orchestra": II. Capriccio' opens with a segment of music that is very similar to 'Jawa Sandcrawler' from Williams's score for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. There are also the occasional nods to Williams's scores for Jaws and the Indiana Jones trilogy.

'Symphony No. 1 "Triptych for Orchestra": III. Fairy Tale' represents not only more impressive and memorable themes in a Herrmann and Williams style, but it also prepares the way for the last piece in the album.

'Ballade - A Tale After the Brothers Grimm' brought to mind the work of Sergei Prokofiev, especially his Romeo and Juliet ballet.

It's true that Crozier paints a vivid world with his music, as represented here. Just listening to this, with no distractions, conjures up a wealth of visual imagery. You don't need to know that the final piece is inspired by the Brothers Grimm, the music perfectly sets the ground work for your imagination to do the rest.

A stunningly rich album which you'll get years of listening pleasure from.


Darren Rea

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