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Classical Music Review

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The Music of Edie Hill and Michael Gilbertson


Composers: Eddie Hill and Michael Gilbertson
Conductor: Donald Nally
Performed by: The Crossing
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 August 2022

The Crossing Releases Born: The Music of Edie Hill and Michael Gilbertson, an expedition into themes of extinction, relationships, loss, and love. Hill’s avian-inspired 'Spectral Spirits' paints a colourful study of recently-extinct birds and their interaction with humankind, while Gilbertson’s 'Born' and 'Returning' address in raw and authentic language the complexities of our intimate relationships...

The album opens with Michael Gilbertson's title track, 'Born', which is a slow builder. By the halfway mark it has morphed gradually into a beautifully eerie, hauntingly complex mix of voices that sweep up the listener and transport them to another world.

Eddie Hill's 13-part 'Spectral Spirits' opens with 'These Birds', another hauntingly compelling piece that sets the way for the rest of the work, although for me 'These Birds' is the highlight.

The album concludes with Gilbertson's 2-part 'Returning' which once again builds slowly to deliver a choral work that sends chills down your spine.

The work of these two composers wonderfully compliment one another. This is a truly captivating release that will propel you on a spiritual adventure even if, like me, you're not religious. A chillingly beautiful work of art.

Track listing:

Michael Gilbertson (b. 1987)
01. Born [9:45]

Edie Hill (b. 1962)
Spectral Spirits
02. Spectral Spirits: I: Prelude: These Birds [2:22]
Maren Montalbano, soloist
03. Spectral Spirits: II. Eyewitness: Henry David Thoreau and the Passenger Pigeon [1:40]
James Reese, soloist
04. Spectral Spirits: III. The Naming: Passenger Pigeon [0:15]
Maren Montalbano, soloist
05. Spectral Spirits: IV. Passenger Pigeon [6:41]
06. Spectral Spirits: V. Eyewitness: Gert Goebel and the Paroquets [1:43]
Dominic German, soloist
07. Spectral Spirits: VI. The Naming: Carolina Parakeet [0:17]
Maren Montalbano, soloist
08. Spectral Spirits: VII. Carolina Parakeet [3:27]
09. Spectral Spirits: VIII. Eyewitness: Lucinen M. Turner and the Migration of the Curlews [3:50]
Rebecca Myers, soloist
10. Spectral Spirits: IX. The Naming: Eskimo Curlew [0:20]
Maren Montalbano, soloist
11. Spectral Spirits: X. Eskimo Curlew [3:55]
12. Spectral Spirits: XI. Eyewitness: Mr. Wilson and the Ivory-bill [2:07]
Dominic German, soloist
13. Spectral Spirits: XII. The Naming: Ivory-Billed Woodpecker [0:19]
Maren Montalbano, soloist
14. Spectral Spirits: XIII. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker [5:11]

Michael Gilbertson
15. Returning: Part 1: What knits us [9:32]
16. Returning: Part 2: I thought of staying quiet [9:23]


Darren Rea

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