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Classical Music Review

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Grecian Urn


Composer: Mark G. Simon
Performed by: Linda Larson (soprano), Mark G. Simon (clarinet) and Aleeza Meir (piano)
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 13 April 2018

Composer and Clarinetist Mark G. Simon makes his Parma debut with his first-ever recorded album, Grecian Urn. All selections were composed by Simon, who is also the clarinetist on every track...

Mark G. Simon's Grecian Urn contains 3 movements, spread over 8 tracks (48 min, 11 sec). It opens with the three-part 'Anniversary Sonata' (1998) commemorates the 50th wedding anniversary of the composer’s parents. This sonata ends with 'Pleasant Hill,' which is based on a pop tune that came to the composer while visiting the retirement community where his parents spent the last years of their lives. There's no escaping the fact that this is a true love song to Simon's parents.

'Un Buen Piola Porteño' (2001) is a tango/fantasia for clarinet and piano. Simon promises an "out of body experience" in the second of three tango melodies.

In the four-part 'Ode on a Grecian Urn,' soprano Linda Larson guests. In this setting of four of the five stanzas of the John Keats poem, in which the poet describes his visits to the British Museum, Simon reincarnates Keats’s experience noting that “The poem’s very existence to the power of art to affect people’s lives.”

This is an engaging and beautifully produced album. I was particularly moved by the ending of 'Anniversary Sonata - II. Angel Music'.

There's a good balance of styles over the course of this release. It's certainly one that Classical music fans will cherish.


Darren Rea

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