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Classical Music Review

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Warrior Monks


Composer: Carl Vollrath
Conductor: Petr Vronský
Performed by: Moravian Philharmonia Wind & Percussion Ensemble
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 September 2017

Warrior Monks is a collection of two clarinet concerti and a trumpet concerto by Carl Vollrath that span topics of war, solace, fascination, and reverence among many others. Of particular note is 'And Bugles Sang' which draws inspiration from the unique juxtapositions in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem and explores the many ways the trumpet is used as a symbol throughout human history...

Carl Vollrath gives us three very different pieces here, opening with the three part 'Dragon Land'. The one overall impression I had when listening to this segment of the album was how much it sounded like incidental music for '60s TV shows - most notably Nelson Riddle and Billy May's work on the Batman TV series. This is most notable on the opening track 'Dragon Land: I. The Last Emperor's Palace'.

'Dragon Land' explores Vollrath’s time in China, approaching his experience with a heightened sense of drama. Angular clarinet melodies, quick dynamic changes, and flashes of folk melodies present vignettes that reflect a society where ancient practices and modern influences coexist, at times in discord and at times in harmony.

Vollrath's powerful impression of China as “a complex culture which contained an old traditional heritage with a new contemporary injection,” forms the inspiration of 'Land of Lanterns'.

Overall, this is a beautiful collection of varied themes which are wonderfully woven together to provide a flowing and compelling narrative. The album contains 7 tracks (58 min, 41 sec).


Darren Rea

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