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Classical Music Review

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Gentle Winds
Chamber Music of Samuel A. Livingston


Composer: Samuel A. Livingston
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 November 2018

International folk dances and Western film scores meet in Gentle Winds, a richly tonal collection with melodic, songlike phrases that highlight each instrument equally. Each piece moves through syncopated rhythms that add lift and airiness without feeling contrived. Inspired by international folk dances, where uneven rhythms are a natural element, Samuel A. Livingston’s compositions create a sense of energy as each measure leaps from its final beat to the first beat of the next...

Navona Records's Gentle Winds opens with the titular 'Gentle Winds', a three-part movement that features flute, oboe, clarinet, and horn. This is followed by the three-part 'The Old Man is Dancing' Here the flute, clarinet, and oboe effortlessly hand the main theme back and forth, as if taking turns on the dance floor.

The three-parts that make up 'Call to the Mountains' reflect the influence of classic Western film scores, with the flute, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon responding to the rich call of the horn.

And, finally, the three-part 'Quiet Summer Night' for string quartet and clarinet follows a similar structure to 'The Old Man is Dancing', passing the melody through the quartet to the second violin and viola - instruments often delegated to less interesting sections.

The album is a gentle, beautifully melodic collection which should chase away the Winter blues and get you in the mood for Spring.


Darren Rea

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