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Classical Music Review

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Maternity / Ulysses, Home


Composer: Anthony Brandt

Conductor: Jerry Hou and Alastair Willis
Performed by: Del Sol String Quartet and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 08 November 2019

Anthony Brandt makes his Navona Records debut with Maternity / Ulysses, Home. 'Maternity' for soprano and chamber orchestra is based on neuroscientist David Eagleman’s short story 'The Founding Mothers,' published in Slate Magazine on Mother’s Day, 2010. 'Ulysses, Home' imagines Homer’s story of Ulysses and his return to Penelope after the Trojan War in a more contemporary context, portraying the hero as a modern soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder...

Maternity / Ulysses, Home offers up two very different works by composer Anthony Brandt. The opening 'Maternity' is 17 min, 08 sec piece based on a short story by David Eagleman. Eagleman actually appears, reading the entire story on the track 'The Founding Mothers' (13 min), which traces a maternal line back through history. Brandt's composition touches on the lives of twenty-one mothers spread across millions of years of history. It begins with a fragment of a lullaby sung to a child; as the piece progresses, that lullaby becomes more and more distorted as the evolutionary chain rewinds to early humans, primates, aquatic creatures, and eventually to a single cell. This track alone is worth buying the album for.

'Ulysses, Home' is a work, spread over six tracks (43 min, 58 sec) which drags the story of Ulysses in Homer's Odyssey into a more contemporary setting. The work is scored for soprano, baritone and string quartet.

This is a wonderfully realised project which will touch your soul.

Track listing:

Anthony Brandt
David Eagleman (librettist)
01 - Maternity (17:08)
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
Karol Bennett (soprano)
Alastair Willis (conductor)

David Eagleman
02 - The Founding Mothers (13:00)
Read by David Eagleman

Anthony Brandt
Neena Beber (librettist)
Ulysses, Home
Karol Bennett (soprano), Liam Bonner (baritone), Del Sol (String Quartet), Kate Stenberg (violin), Peter Masek (violin), Charlton Lee (viola) and Kathryn Bates (cello)
Jerry Hou (conductor)
03 - Prologue (1:26)
04 - Scene 1 (9:01)
05 - Scene 2 (6:20)
06 - Scene 3 (10:23)
07 - Scene 4 (10:05)
08 - Scene 5 (6:46)


Darren Rea

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