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Classical Music Review

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Composer: Joanna Estelle
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 May 2018

Composer/arranger/lyricist Joanna Estelle presents Emergence: a compilation of works produced under her personal philosophy that “quality music uplifts humankind.” The album includes a generous list of collaborators: John Gordon Armstrong (arranger), Laurence Ewashko (baritone), Morgan Strickland, Susan Elizabeth Brown and Laura Dziubaniuk (soprano), Brandon Wilkie and Roland Gjernes (cello), Frédéric Lacroix (piano), and two choral ensembles, Ewashko Singers and Capital Chamber Choir...

I'll go along with Joanna Estelle's philosophy that "quality music uplifts humankind". Sadly these days there are too many albums released where "quality" isn't a major concern. It's all about being "alternative"; "different"; or "exploring what the medium can do". The end result, the majority of the time, is sadly disappointing.

With Emergence, Estelle doesn't mess about trying to grab your attention with gimmicks. This album's 19 tracks (1 hr, 12 sec) represents good old fashioned composing which means we have a collection of uplifting tracks which touch the heart and elevate the soul. In fact, the opening ten tracks, 'Umori' tackles ten familiar dispositions of the human condition: Ardent, Determined, Energetic, Whimsical, Shimmery, Repentant, Reflective, Wistful, Solemn, and Hopeful.

For me, the highlights were 'Susannah’s Lullaby', a once heard, never forgotten piece, and 'Qu’est-ce que c’est la vie?' (What is life?) a homage to the late Princess Diana.

Overall this is a deliciously diverse and emotive album.


Darren Rea

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