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Classical Music Review

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Composer: John Mitchell
Performed by: Benda Quartet, Jakub Černohorský (violin), Ondřej Pustějovský (violin), Petr Benda (viola) and Tomáš Svozil (cello)
Label: Navona Records
Release Date: 04 February 2022

Just as each season brings its own sensations and expressions, so does composer John Mitchell’s Seasons from Navona Records. Performed by the award winning Benda Quartet, the compositions envelop the various characteristics and hallmarks of each time of year, capturing both their beauty and the emotions they evoke. 'Autumn' exudes the subtle warmth left from summer, 'Winter' brings suspenseful chills and flurries of notes, 'Spring', a shedding of winter coats, and 'Summer', a regal and relaxing musical soundscape, all conjured from a dynamic and expressive string quartet performance...

When I first sat down to listen to Seasons, I had no idea how long it was (four tracks - 30 min, 57 sec). But obviously my first thought, before even listening to it, was that it was going to be a challenge not to compare it, in some small way, to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

On the first play through the album ended, and having no idea of the amount of time that had passed, I thought: "Ah, that was 'Spring' I wonder what 'Summer' will be like". I'd sat through all four seasons without realising. On relistening I was conscious of each track, but still I was hard pressed to fathom which season was which. While I enjoyed the album, it does all sort of blur into one piece and I didn't really pick up on any "seasonal" vibe.

It's a rich and enjoyable album, that didn't really conjure up, in me, any feelings of what it was designed to represent in music form.


Darren Rea

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