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Classical Music Review

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Last Notes
Chamber Works


Composer: Eric Biddington
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 27 May 2022

Navona Records presents Last Notes, an album tracing the musical footprint of composer Eric Biddington’s compositional history through revived works of the past. Some written nearly 30 years ago, the unearthed gems featured on this album speak in a fresh tone, effusing elegance and thoughtfulness across varied orchestrations and moods. From the tender sentiments teeming in 'Peace for Julie' to the playful nature of 'A Little Dance' and his deeply moving passages for bassoon and piano, Biddington covers a wide gamut of expression in these chamber works...

One of the joys of this job is that I get to hear work from composers I probably wouldn't have gotten to hear. A lot of times they are as part of a compilation, but the real gems are albums like Last Notes which showcase a composer's work through his career.

Eric Biddington was born in Timaru, New Zealand in 1953, and received his schooling in Timaru and Christchurch. Upon leaving school, he began part-time work as a labourer and studied at the University of Canterbury, although this was interrupted by illness in 1974. In 1979 he returned to study, labouring work, and musical composition and graduated with degrees in music, arts, and science. Despite suffering from schizophrenia and depression since his teenage years, Biddington has become a prolific and widely performed composer. Now living in Hillmorton, a suburb of Christchurch, New Zealand on Torrens Road with his cat Meg, Biddington continues to inject anecdotes of his personal life into his thoughtfully crafted compositions.

Through these 11 works (20 tracks - 58 min, 15 sec) we uncover highlights of the composer's output over the years. While a diverse collection, this is traditional classical music at its finest. It's an album that will have you reflecting on the world around you and your own life. It's thoughtful, melodic and at times heartbreakingly beautiful.


Darren Rea

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