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Classical Music Review

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Prisma: Vol. 3
Contemporary Works for Orchestra


Composers: various
Conductors: Robert Kružík and Jiří Petrdlík
Performed by: Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 February 2020

Navona Records brings us the third volume in its Prisma series of contemporary works for orchestra. Featuring the works of seven composers, Prisma Vol. 3 builds on the success of the first two installments in the series with symphonic music that is both innovative and deeply alluring...

Following on from Prisma and Prisma: Vol. 2, Prisma: Vol. 3 opens with 'Ascension' for solo clarinet and string orchestra by Ahmed Alabaca, which pairs clarinet lines with the cinematic grandeur of a string orchestra. 'Dark Glass Sinfonia' by Sarah Wallin Huff, capitalises on the full dynamic range of the orchestra.

'The Defiant Poet', by Noam Faingold, lovingly commemorates the outspoken Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Raisa Orshansky’s 'Spring Fantasy' explores themes of birth and renewal in nature, as inspired by another Russian poet - Alexander Blok.

'Songs of the Seasons' by Craig Morris uses chromaticism to evoke colourful images from nature, with all its hope and uncertainty. The second-to-last piece on the album is 'Restoration' by Scott Brickman, which he describes as a “symphony in one movement”; the music, with its flirting allusions to Eastern European folk songs, celebrates Brickman’s Latvian and Polish heritage.

Lastly, in 'Prelude & Fugue' for orchestra, Audun G. Vassdal takes liberties with classical forms to create music that is at once playful and intensely evocative.

While all of the pieces on this album are different in style, one thing unites them. Each have segments that will break your heart; they all feature beautifully melancholic moments. This is one of the finest classical music albums I've heard in a very long time. Anyone who was worried that contemporary classical music has started to be all about being as atonal as possible will fall in love with this perfect collection. Each of the composers is worth looking out for in the future.

Track listing:

Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra | Robert Kružík conductors (Tracks 1,10) Jiří Petrdlík conductor (Tracks 2-9)

Ahmed Alabaca
01 - Ascension for Solo Clarinet and String Orchestra (7:52)
Karel Dohnal (clarinet)

Sarah Wallin-Huff
02 - The Dark Glass Sinfonia (7:38)

Noam Faingold
03 - The Defiant Poet: Elegy in Memory of Yevgeny Yevtushenko (11:50)

Raisa Orshansky
04 - Spring Fantasy (5:13)

Craig Morris
Songs of the Seasons
05 - Winter Snowfall (2:27)
06 - Spring Raindrops (2:28)
07 - Summer Waves (3:33)
08 - Fall Colors (3:37)

Scott Brickman
09 - Restoration (10:54)

Audun G. Vassdal
10 - Prelude & Fugue for Orchestra (11:16)


Darren Rea

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