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Classical Music Review

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Waking the Sparrows


Composers: Various
Performed by: Duo Sureño
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 13 July 2018

Classical and baroque guitarist Robert Nathanson and soprano Nancy King, performing as Duo Soreño, release their new album, Waking the Sparrow, through Ravello Records. King and Nathanson have worked together for twenty-years, exploring the grandeur of the human voice blended with the vibrancy of the guitar. Here they Interpret the work of five notable modern composers who were, in turn, inspired by the words of poets throughout the ages...

Waking the Sparrows is going to be an album you fall in love with or really don't get. Stylistically this is a flawless album. The production is impressive and King and Nathanson's performances are captivating. But - and for some this will be a big "but" - some of the tracks are just not melodic, being a little too avant-garde. This would be fine if the entire album were like this, but there are also several incredibly moving pieces too.

It opens with the beautiful 'Out of Darkness into Light' by William Neil. This is probably the one track that really showcases King's incredible vocal range to its full. 'Waitin' is another beautiful song, and it's quite clear to see that, given the right situation, King's voice has the ability move you to tears.

Personally, I enjoyed the conventionally melodic tracks and took quite some time to get my head around the rest. While interesting, they can be a little distracting, not to mention a tad grating, if this isn't your thing.

Track listing:

William Neil
01 - Out of Darkness into Light
Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi (violin)
Laurent Estoppey (saxophones)
Helena Kopchick Spencer (bassoon & contrabassoon)
William Neil (digital acoustics)

Andrew York
02 - Open the River
Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi (violin)

Jing Jing Luo
A Song of Unending Sorrow
03 - Act I.  The Nightmare
04 - Act II.  In the Jade Tower: Love Scene
05 - Act III.  The Dream Scene

William Bolcom
Three Cabaret Songs
06 - Waitin
07 - Song for Black Max
08 - Amor

David Kechley
Waking the Sparrows: Five Haiku Songs
09 - The Ancient Pond
10 - The Pheasant’s Voice
11 - Sparrows and a Nightingale
12 - The Woodpecker
13 - Spring Rain


Darren Rea

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