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Classical Music Review

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Vol. 2 - Works for Orchestra


Composers: Various
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 October 2019

Dimensions: Vol. 2, the second in Navona Records’s series for orchestra, presents five organically inspired compositions, with music that is as multidimensional and richly textured as the subject matter is multifaceted. Traverse through each unique work and witness what vast results can be drawn from the creative mind...

For me this album's highlight, other than each piece is wonderfully realised, is that the collection is diverse, yet each work has its own inner beauty.

Erich Stem's orchestral rhapsody 'Portland' is indescribably vivid; Allowing the listener to hears the bustle of a big city. 'Bonzai Down', composed by Bill Whitley, takes the listener on a precarious mountain bike journey. The piece is a musical depiction of the steep Bonzai Trail in Oregon. Written in the rondo form, Whitley's composition is almost cinematic in its scope, bringing to mind classic Westerns or an early, jazz-based John Barry score.

Brian Field's 'A Letter from Camp' illustrates the emotional turmoil of war and its far-reaching consequences. Walt Whitman's eponymous poem, here set to music for soprano and orchestra, dramatically brings the Civil War-era poem into the 21st Century by highlighting the universality of human suffering beyond the battle field, to the farms and families of those engaged in armed conflict.

'Concerto No. 2' by Mark Francis bears the subtitle In somnis veritas, "in dreams there is truth"; and there is plenty of dreaminess and true musicianship to be found in this concerto for guitar and orchestra.

The album concludes with Jan Järvlepp's 'Street Music' is a lighthearted piece for percussion and brass, evocative of a walk on a hot, sunny day off with nothing but cheerful thoughts in mind.

Track listing:

Erich Stem
01 - Portland (9:05)
Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra
Jiří Petrdlík (conductor)

Bill Whitley
02 - Bonzai Down (12:34)
Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Michalis Economou (conductor)

Brian T Field
03 - A Letter from Camp (11:02)
Poem by Walt Whitman
Pavel Šnajdr (conductor)
Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Lucie Silkenová (soprano)

Mark Francis
Concerto #2 for Guitar and Orchestra “In Somnis Veritas”
Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
Michalis Economou (conductor)
Dimitris Kotronakis (guitar)
04 - I. Quarter note = 72 (7:39)
05 - II. Quarter note = 120 (5:31)
06 - III. Quarter note = 160 (6:15)

Jan Järvlepp
07 - Street Music (4:38)
Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Petr Vronský (conductor)


Darren Rea