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Classical Music Review

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Composer: James Primosch
Conductor: Donald Nally
Performed by: The Crossing
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 22 May 2020

Following on from The Arc in the Sky (2019, which showcased the work of Kile Smith) and Evolutionary Spirits (2019, which saw the choir bring to life the compositions of six composers), The Crossing breathe life into the work of James Primosch, in their latest album for Navona Records, Carthage...

Carthage spans the work of James Primosch with pieces that date from 1998 right up until last year (2019). In this latest offering, artistic director Donald Nally leads the choir through six striking pieces that confront the most elemental questions of Western philosophy.

Carthage opens with 'Journey', a solemn meditation in which the men of The Crossing chant text based on the work of 13th-century monk and mystic Meister Eckhart.

The title track, 'Carthage', features prose by Marilynne Robinson from her novel Housekeeping, which employs the devastated city of Carthage as a metaphor for desire and imagination. Following is 'Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus', a work in five-parts. Here, four soloists sing the Latin Mass texts, while the main choir sings Denise Levertov’s cycle of poems which gives the work its title.

The album concludes with 'One with the Darkness, One with the Light', a setting of poetry by Wendell Berry which features cascading harmonic textures to explore the tension between light and dark, waking and sleeping, life and death.

Anyone who enjoys choral music with a little depth to it, will get a lot of pleasure out of this release... and while you're at it, check out The Crossings' back catalogue. I can't recommend their previous releases enough.


Darren Rea

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