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Classical Music Review

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Ready or Not


Composers: Various
Performed by: Palaver Strings
Label: Azica Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 15 April 2022

Musician-led ensemble Palaver Strings releases its new album of music by diverse female composers, Ready or Not, on Azica Records. Works on the album include Grażyna Bacewicz’s 'Concerto for String Orchestra'; 'Non può il mio cuore' by Venetian singer, lutenist, and composer Maddalena Casulana; composer Barbara Strozzi’s madrigal 'Lagrime mie' featuring a performance by mezzo-soprano Sophie Michaux; Chicago-based multi-genre composer, vocalist, pianist, and producer Akenya Seymour’s 'Fear the Lamb'; and a set of fiddle tunes by two Portland-based fiddlers, Liz Knowles and Palaver’s own Elizabeth Moore...

Diversity is key on Palmer Strings' Ready or Not. While it's an interesting hook, it's not overly important that this is an album made up of works by women. What matters is the quality of the material, and here each and every piece has been carefully chosen to ensure that the album, as a whole, showcases many aspects of the classical genre.

We have the traditional 'Concerto for String Orchestra', the more modern 'Non può il mio cuore'; the operatic 'Diporti di Euterpe, Op. 7'; the jazz-based avant-garde 'Fear the Lamb' and the Celtic feel of 'Treehouse - Jig for John'.

It's a beautifully produced release, the only possible issue is that its main strength, that of diversity, may also be the aspect that turns some people off. Personally I didn't care for the avant-garde elements, even though I appreciated their inclusion. Overall, though, an enjoyable collection that will enrich your music library.

Grażyna Bacewicz
Concerto for String Orchestra
01 - I. Allegro (05:04)
02 - II. Andante (04:44)
03 - III. Vivo (05:03)

Maddalena Casulana
04 - Il desiderio: No. 3, Morir non puo il mio cuore (Arr. J. MacDonald for Strings) (01:52)

Barbara Strozzi
05 - Diporti di Euterpe, Op. 7: No. 4, Lagrime mie (Arr. A. J. Simon for Voice & Strings) (09:37)

Akenya Seymour
Fear the Lamb
06 - I. Bobo's Blues (03:13)
07 - II. Gorgeous and Gallant - Gory and Galvanizing (04:02)
08 - III. Elegy for Emmett Louis Till (06:43)

Liz Knowles and Elizabeth Moore
09 - Treehouse - Jig for John #2 - Fore Street (10:14)


Darren Rea

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