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Classical Music Review

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Secrets for Free and Other Works by Ferdinando De Sena (EP)


Composer: Ferdinando De Sena
Conductor: Petr Vronský
Performed by: Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra and Pedroia String Quartet
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 August 2018

Miami-based composer Ferdinando De Sena is the subject of Secrets for Free, released through Navona Records. This 5 track (28 min, 07 sec) EP boasts adventurous yet accessible compositions that balance real instruments with computer-generated sound, acting as the perfect springboard to catapult old school classical music lovers into the joys of modern classical music...

Ferdinando De Sena's new release, Secrets for Free, opens with 'Deciphered Reverencea' (10 min, 10 sec), which manages to mix traditional classical pieces with a classical Hollywood feed. It's a beautiful piece with elements that brought to mind Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet as well as a Bernard Herrmann-esque cinematic feel. The track previously appeared on Navona's Reason & Reverence which was released earlier this year (2018).

The electronic-infused 'Secrets for Free' (6 min, 03 sec) is an acquired taste. It took many listens before I grew to enjoy it. On a first play thorough it's fun and intriguing - as it sounds different to anything you'll have heard before. The easiest way to describe it would be to say that it could easily be playing in the background of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

The EP concludes with the three part 'String Quartet No. 1' (11 min, 54 sec), which is a more traditional work, and will easily be embraced by lovers of traditional classical music.

It's a wonderfully diverse release that showcase De Sena's versatility as a composer. I wasn't a fan of his Spalding's Bounce and Other Chamber Works (2016) mainly because that album was everything that this album isn't. Secrets for Free is captivating in places and heartbreakingly beautiful in others.


Darren Rea

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