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Classical Music Review

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Woven in Time
Contemporary Orchestral Works


Composers: Various
Conductors: Various
Performed by: Various
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 22 October 2021

An eclectic collection of cultural themes, Woven in Time is grounded in connections made through distant timestamps. Each piece weaves culture and ideas of the past with a modern approach to composition, revitalizing and repurposing the popular culture and literature of yesterday into contemporary music for our enjoyment today...

The words "contemporary classical music" make me apprehensive. Why? Well it usually means one of two things. It can be a beautifully orchestrated work that enriches your soul... or... an avant-garde piece, where the aim of the game seems to be to find new and frustrating ways to make the musicians torture their instruments resulting in torturing the listener with off kilter and unappealing noise. Thankfully, Woven in Time is of the first variety.

Over the course of these 9 tracks (1 hr, 13 min, 02 sec) we are treated to some modern masterpieces. The album opens with Richard E Brown's three-part 'Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra', a beautiful, meandering work, that builds as it moves forward.

Scott Brickman's 'Symphony No. 5' is rousing, bordering on cinematic. This is followed by Marilyn Bliss's 'Veils', a suspenseful piece that has elements of Bernard Herrmann to it.

My personal favourite is Jay Anthony Gach's 'Gangsta’ Noir', which has a mysterious, eerie quality and reminded me of the work of Prokofiev. And finally, Joseph T. Spaniola's three-part 'Thomas Jefferson: Life Lines', while engaging is spoilt for me by having the wonderful orchestrations interrupted by narration. I know it's part of the piece, but I'd prefer to just hear the music. There's a particular point of truly beautiful music ('I. Journal of Life') where the narrator just ruins it with his "I never go to bed..." waffle.

This is a wonderfully curated collection with many moments that will touch your soul.

Track listing:

Richard E Brown
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek (conductor); Karel Dohnal (clarinet)
01 - Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra: I. Sostenuto; Poco allegro; Tempo I
02 - Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra: II. Adagio; cadenza (8:13)
03 - Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra: III. Allegro; Più allegro (7:31)

Scott Brickman
04 - Symphony No. 5: I. Allegro con Spirito
Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra | Ivan Josip Skender (conductor) (8:45)

Marilyn Bliss
05 - Veils
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Jiří Petrdlík (conductor) (12:13)

Jay Anthony Gach
06 - Gangsta’ Noir
Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra | Ivan Josip Skender (conductor) (6:31)

Joseph T. Spaniola
Brno Philharmonic | Pavel Šnajdr (conductor); Markéta Cukrová, Jakub Kubín, Pavel Valenta, Kornél Mikecz
07 - Thomas Jefferson: Life Lines: I. Journal of Life (8:59)
08 - Thomas Jefferson: Life Lines: II. Adieu (5:30)
09 - Thomas Jefferson: Life Lines: III. Monticello (4:45)


Darren Rea

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