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Classical Music Review

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Symphony No. 3


Composer: John A. Carollo
Conductor: Miran Vaupotić
Performed by: London Symphony Orchestra
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 October 2019

The origins of John A. Carollo's Symphony No. 3 date back to the late 2000s, when he connected with English soprano Sharon Selman on the social media platform MySpace. Selman suggested that Carollo use the poetry of William Blake as a starting point to create a piece about nature. Carollo came up with a song cycle named 'Awake Humanity to Nature’s Beauty' which was composed, then reworked, resulting in two different instrumentations. Then in 2017 Carollo fashioned the song cycle into Symphony No. 3...

John A. Carollo's Symphony No. 3 is presented in four parts (27 min, 54 sec). Perhaps the most striking feature of this work is found in the occasional appearance of a wordless soprano, which is used to accentuate certain key phrases. Carollo chooses not to have the vocalist take centre stage, and instead treats the voice as simply another instrument in the orchestra.

The symphony opens tentatively with 'Morning', which builds slowly and beautifully. 'Gestural Rituals' has a classic Hollywood feel to it, as well as housing elements that hark back to the Romantic era, most notably composers like Grieg, Dvořák and Elgar.

'In the Garden of Earthly Delights' is more experimental. It's a little disjointed and chaotic, being easily the most modern sounding piece here. The work concludes with 'Let the Evening Stillness Arouse', a wonderfully melancholic piece that leaves the listener wanting to hear more.

It's a meticulously composed and evenly paced symphony that builds a bridge between traditional classical music and more experimental works.


Darren Rea

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