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Classical Music Review

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Worlds Translucent
Visions, Vignettes, and Other Phantasies


Composer: Leonard V. Ball, Jr.
Performed by: Michael Heald (violin), Timothy Lovelace (piano) and Maggie Snyder (viola)
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 13 December 2019

In his first album with Ravello Records, World's Translucent, composer Leonard V. Ball, Jr. presents a collection of works completed across the span of nearly a decade that capture the joys, fears, and fascinations of everyday life...

World's Translucent features music for violin, viola, and piano and tackles the somber realisation of human mortality alongside the simple amusements of domestic life that counterbalance it. The works on this album represent almost a decades worth of material from the composer and represents a varied and rich tapestry of styles and moods. There's experimental modern classical music, more traditional pieces as well as works that are almost cinematic in their structure.

The collection opens with 'Night Visions', a series of three movements – the composer refers to them as “visions.” 'The Forest (f)or the Trees' is a series of musical memorials to Ball’s loved ones. In this work’s two 'dance' movements, individual characters from Ball’s own life are personified.

'Vignettes du Jour' breaks the tension with a degree of levity inspired by the scurry of backyard critters and the adventures of a wily housecat. The string lines often erupt into pursuit of one another, clambering up scales only to fall back down.

Lastly, 'Within ~ Without' is an exploration of life’s duality, pairing sparse silences with strident viola strains and concluding with a rousing and definitive finale.

It's a rich and varied palette that Ball draws upon. The diversity may be a little off putting for some - it's doubtful that you'll enjoy every piece here as the work is so varied. For me, 'Vignettes du Jour - I. Early Morning Quiet' was by far the eeriest and most captivating piece. At times there was an almost Herrmann-esque quality to it.


Darren Rea

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