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Classical Music Review

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For the Peace of Cities
Works for Orchestra


Composers: Various
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 26 July 2019

For the Peace of Cities incorporates pieces for orchestra by composer Philip Koplow (1943-2018), as well as three additional 20th-century works that commemorate the lives lost in war tragedies...

Koplow’s two pieces on the album, 'For the Peace of Cities' and 'How Sweet the Sound', were both written from a place of desire to bring hope and healing into a violence-torn world. The title track, inspired by the Dayton Accord in Koplow’s home state, commemorates the lives brutally lost in Bosnian War at the end of the 20th Century.

'How Sweet the Sound', originally written for solo cello, is inspired by the tune 'Amazing Grace' - which has brought comfort and hope to generations of people in times of pain. The piece is filled with variations on the old hymn - as Koplow explained: "Each variation is in a new key, implying that God's love and inspiration is available to all people in all times."

This collection also features pieces by Karel Husa, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Bohuslav Martinů. Each honouring the lives lost in three wartime tragedies: Husa’s 'Music for Prague 1968' which retold the story of the Soviet Union crushing the Prague Spring reform movement in Husa’s homeland; 'Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima', which Penderecki dedicated to the Japanese victims after hearing the piece live and being moved by the emotional charge of the performance; and Martinů’s 'Memorial to Lidice' honours the victims of the massacre in Lidice, Czechoslovakia in 1942.

This is an incredible moving collection. If you're a lover of melancholic yet, paradoxically, uplifting orchestral music then you'll get much pleasure from this deep and multi-layered album.

Track listing:

Philip Koplow
01 - For the Peace of Cities (1998) (13:18)
Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra
Paul Nadler (conductor)
Jorja Fleezanis (violin), James Braid (violin)

Philip Koplow
02 - How Sweet the Sound (9:53)
Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra
Paul John Stanbery (conductor)

Karel Husa
Music for Prague 1968 (1968)
Rutgers Wind Ensemble
William Berz (conductor)
03 - I. Introduction and Fanfare (6:07)
04 - II. Aria (4:48)
05 - III. Interlude (4:34)
06 - IV. Toccata and Chorale (7:52)

Krzysztof Penderecki
07 - Threnody: To the Victims of Hiroshima (1960) (9:00)
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Antoni Wit (conductor)

Krzysztof Penderecki
08 - Památník Lidicim (Memorial to Lidice) H. 296 (1943) (12:01)
Philadelphia Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach (conductor)


Darren Rea

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