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Classical Music Review

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Cosmic Wheel of the Zodiac


Composer: Margaret Brandman
Lyrics: Benita Rainer
Performed by: Matěj Chadima, Barbora Polášková and Prague Mixed Choir
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 May 2018

The twelve songs in Cosmic Wheel of the Zodiac cover a universal span, from each sign’s deepest motivation for love, to each soul’s most heartfelt desire for spiritual expression. Journey with Aries, the first primal force of the calendar year, to Taurus’s expression of security, and onward to Gemini’s mercurial desire for freedom...

The sleeve notes for this release waffled on a bit about supernatural nonsense: "Let yourself relax down into what are the key feature blueprints of your life’s sun sign. What is your essence? Your essential features that guide your inner world’s expansion, your externalizations?"

For me the answer is "food"... but millions of gullible fools truly believe that the stars hold the key to their future and happiness.

This recording, I was a little unsure of. There are 24 tracks (1 hr, 04 min, 09 sec). Firstly, each of the 12 zodiac signs are delivered by soloists Matěj Chadima and Barbora Polášková and then all 12 are revisited, but with performances by the Prague Mixed Choir.

Personally, I preferred the choir version of the tracks. This could be because the lyrics were harder to fathom. Some of the words are truly cringeworthy, with most opening with lines like: "I am a Water Dragon...", "I am a goat".

Also the performance sounds a little rough around the edges. A piano is the only accompaniment. And I'm sure that's down more to budget requirements, as this would sound sumptuous with an orchestral backing. As it is, it sounds like a slight step up from a village hall production.

While I wasn't a huge fan, I did enjoy the music, which at time is truly uplifting, and all the singers deliver perfect performances.


Darren Rea

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