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Beneath the Tide
A Collection of Concertos


Composers: Michael G. Cunningham, Rain Worthington, Ssu-Yu Huang, Bruce Reiprich and Beth Mehocic
Conductor: Miran Vaupotić
Performed by: Croatian Chamber Orchestra
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 22 March 2019

Parma Recordings, through their label Navona Records, release Beneath the Tide, a reflection on human emotion and experience through a collection of five concertos. Performed by the Croatian Chamber Orchestra under the direction of conductor Miran Vaupotić, the album delves under the surface, examining underlying human realities that rise to the surface with the arrival of life’s changes...

Beneath the Tide opens with the three-part 'Clarinet Concertos' by Michael G. Cunningham. A weighty, dissonant performance, the solo clarinet is carried by the sometimes urgent, sometimes quietly brooding harmonies of the orchestra.

This is followed by Rain Worthington’s 'In Passages for String Orchestra', where the solo violin and orchestra pass the lead voice back and forth. This action mimics the interplay between human emotion and experience, as emotions sometimes take the lead and other times fade into the background.

Ssu-Yu Huang’s 'Guitar Concerto No. 1 (Remembrance of Hometown)' is a reflection on nostalgia after moving to a foreign country. The guitar plays a motif inspired by a Hengchun folksong 'Nostalgia', which is balanced by the accompanying orchestra.

Bruce Reiprich’s 'Lullaby', written upon the birth of a friend’s child, is a harmonically lush composition for violin solo and orchestra. Tender and sentimental, the piece reflects on the wonder of new life and the love that comes as people gather to help a child grow.

The album concludes with the triumphant three-part 'Concerto for Piano and Orchestra' by Beth Mehocic - triumphant not only in character, but also for the fact that the piece has finally been brought to life after its creation 40 years ago. The piece, which had been considered “too conventional” by Mehocic’s instructors, is a grand, thematic performance with bright brass, lively percussion, and swooping piano gestures.

Navona Records deliver a wonderfully balanced compilation album. These five compositions offer up incredibly deep and multilayered works which flow naturally together. It's hard to single out highlights, but Bruce Reiprich 'Lullaby' really stuck with me. In places it felt like a classic '50s Hollywood film score.

Rain Worthington's 'In Passages' was also another standout piece. It's possible the most subtle track on the album and is a real mood setter. Beautifully constructed it rewards the listener the more times they return to it.

And finally, I was reminded very much of Alan Silvestri's soundtrack for the movie Back to the Future (1985) when listening to Michael G. Cunningham's 'Charivari'. Incidentally, 'Clarinet Concerto Op.186' is taken from Cunningham's Mezzanine Seat, an album I highly recommend.

Track listing:

Michael G. Cunningham
Clarinet Concerto Op.186
Bruno Philipp (clarinet)
01 - Dithyramb (5:35)
02 - Lithe (4:01)
03 - Charivari (5:25)

Rain Worthington
04 - In Passages for violin soloist & string orchestra (10:12)
Mojca Ramušćak (violin)

Ssu-Yu Huang
05 - Guitar Concerto No. 1 (Remembrance of Hometown) (15:13)
Pedro Ribeiro Rodrigues (guitar)

Bruce Reiprich
06 - Lullaby (5:51)
Goran Končar (violin)

Beth Mehocic
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
Charlene Farrugia (piano)
07 - I, Moderato (6:03)
08 - II, Lento (4:41)
09 - III, Allegretto (7:05)


Darren Rea

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