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Classical Music Review

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Composer: Michael Murray
Conductor: Stanislav Vavřínek
Performed by: Genvieve Fulks (soprano), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Minju Choi Witte (piano) and Allison Storochuk (clarinet)
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 27 May 2022

Composer Michael Murray’s album Passages is released via Navona Records. It brings the words of iconic 19th and 20th century poets to life through stirring music for solo soprano and instruments. Murray has selected poetry from the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson, William Butler Yeats, William Wordsworth, John Keats, and Walt Whitman, with poems detailing childhood adventure, hope, and tragedy. Celebrated soprano Genevieve Fulks performs throughout; most of the music heard on the album was written specifically with her voice in mind...

Passages is an interesting release. There's so many elements to love about it. Firstly, it's a wonderfully engaging collection of themes from a technical point of view. Then there's the wonderfully rich delivery of soprano Genvieve Fulks and then there's the fact that the pieces are based around the work of notable poets.

The album consists of four separate works, spread over 16 tracks (53 min, 10 sec). It opens with 'Passage to Nod', which incorporates Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child’s Garden of Verses. 'Genevieve’s Cats' features cats at different stages of their lives, from William Wordsworth’s kitten through William Butler Yeats’s adult cat to John Keats’s older cat. 'Penny Whistles' revisits Robert Louis Stevenson A Child’s Garden of Verses. And finally, 'The Last Invocation' was written by Walt Whitman in response to the ending of a life and expresses a sense of release and lightness overcoming fear and darkness.

It's a wonderfully rich collection which doesn't disappoint.


Darren Rea

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