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Classical Music Review

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Light and Shadows, Waves and Time


Composer: Gregory Wanamaker
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 13 April 2018

An exploration of the unique timbral characteristics and technical extensions of wind instruments, Gregory Wanamaker’s Light and Shadows, Waves and Time is comprised of eight compositions that collectively illustrate the composer’s ability to integrate various genre influences into a distinctive whole...

Gregory Wanamaker's new album is something of an acquired taste. If you're a lover of experimental classical music then you'll be happy to hear that Light and Shadows, Waves and Time does push the boundaries. But if you're looking for an engaging and deeply emotionally enriching experience you're going to be, for the most part, very disappointed.

It opens with 'des ondes et les temps', which explores the saxophone’s full range of possibilities. It's a pretty safe bet to say that if you don't gel with this piece then the majority of this album will not be for you.

However, even in amongst the discord and experimentation of pushing of instruments to their limits, there are moments of beauty. In the chaos that is 'Of Light and Shadows - I. Luminant Shadows' there are many examples of how an unconventional structure and delivery can still produce much to touch the soul.

Likewise, the somber, poignant 'Elegy,' written for and performed by the Akropolis Reed Quintet, was originally composed in memory of those who died in the September 11 attacks and is arguably this album's most moving piece.


Darren Rea

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