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Classical Music Review

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Points of Departure


Composer: Robert Moran
Conductor: James Allen Anderson
Performed by: The University of Delaware Symphony Orchestra
Label: Neuma Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 04 December 2020

Robert Moran releases five works for orchestra performed by The University of Delaware Symphony Orchestra on Points of Departure, available through Neuma Records...

It's great to discover a modern classical artist who captures the spirit of composers like Handel, Pachelbel, Haydn, Wagner, Feldman, John Luther Adams, Philip Glass, and John Cage. On this album we witness Robert Moran's take on contemporary Romanticism, quirky Baroque-ness, and seductively throbbing Post-Minimalism, all composed between 1973 and 2018.

We open with the titular 'Points of Departure' which feels like a piece by John Williams - as though someone had taken his most intricate themes and moulded them together to create something new and fresh, but still keeping the essence of his work. It's engaging and memorable and a wonderful way to open the album.

'Angels of Silence' is made up of passages of long harmonic notes. It's relaxing and calming as well as being subtle and beautiful. You'd think that the concept would grow old quickly, that after a minute or so you'd be tired of the same, similar sound. But at over 22 minutes in length it's surprising how disappointed you'll be when it's over. This was by far the most rewarding piece on the album.

The operatic setting of 'Frammenti di un’opera barocca perduta' is wonderfully realised. The opening 'Introduction' is particularly powerful.

'Star Charts and Travel Plans' is a slow and painfully beautiful melancholic collection of multilayered themes.

The album concludes with the rich operatic 'Yahrzeit' which feels traditional, while still being fresh and modern.

There's a good selection of Moran's work here - enough to act as a taster to encourage you to seek out more of his work.


Darren Rea

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