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Classical Music Review

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Places in Time
The Musical Journeys of Richard Brooks


Composer: Richard Brooks
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 August 2018

Ravello Records releases Places in Time, an album that travels through composer Richard Brooks’s career to date. Each piece represents a different period in the composer’s life. Many of these recordings were originally released by Brooks’s label, Capstone Records, but this is the first time they've been released collectively...

Places in Time opens with 'Seascape: Overture to Moby Dick' from 1997’s And the Eagle Flies, a grand yet suspenseful soundscape, the piece rises and swells with the droning low brass and tense tremolo strings, as if waiting for the emergence of the great white whale.

'Choral Variations for Two Horns and String Orchestra', from 1995’s Tonus Tomis, is one in a collection of pieces recorded in Constanta, an ancient city on the shore of the Black Sea in Romania. This piece is a complex, theoretical, and emotional traverse through the realm of tonality, where the mood is described as “almost anguished in its search for resolution.”

'Prelude and Lament' from 1986’s Music Visions demonstrates both academic and raw elements of Brooks’s compositions. It represents an example of the composers work in twelve-tone composition, a method devised by Arnold Schoenberg wherein each note in the chromatic scale is given equal emphasis. The track takes on a heavy, emotional tone in the Lament in response to a personal tragedy: the death of Brooks’s younger brother in a traffic accident before the completion of the work.

Of this album's 8 pieces (1 hour, 30 min, 39 sec) the standout highlight for me was 'Chorale', a beautifully melancholic and at times discordant piece which is incredibly haunting.

Over time you'll find that each piece holds its own reward - that you'll find beauty in every track depending on your mood and mind set.

This is an essential collection of varied works by an incredibly gifted composer.


Darren Rea

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