Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Sir Paul McCartney, Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Tavener|
A Garland for Linda: A Commemoration of the Life of Linda McCartney
This album is designed as a tribute to the life and memory of Linda McCartney (who died of breast cancer in 1998) and includes the work of nine contemporary British composers. Portmanteau albums such as these always raise ... more »
This album is designed as a tribute to the life and memory of Linda McCartney (who died of breast cancer in 1998) and includes the work of nine contemporary British composers. Portmanteau albums such as these always raise the question of stylistic unity, but actually the composers have mostly responded to the theme of illness, suffering, and hope in very similar ways: the tone of the whole album is one of calm reflection, punctuated by moments of visionary ecstasy. Unity is also achieved by the awe-inspiring singing of the Joyful Company of Singers, who produce a cool cathedral-type sound that gets red-blooded at exactly the right moments. There are some extraordinary moments: Judith Bingham's Debussy-esque multilayered soundscape is one, as is Giles Swayne's setting of the 10th-century poem "The Swan's Lament" with contributions from flute and cello. Thankfully, the percentage of beautiful, imaginative, or interesting music is high, even if it's not all at the level of the two pieces mentioned above. Fans of John Tavener or Arvo Pärt will certainly find much to enjoy, while Paul McCartney himself contributes the choral piece Nova to this garland.. A percentage of the proceeds go to the Garland Appeal, which supports cancer research and British music. --Warwick Thompson
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Gorgeous music...but perhaps a touch too much.
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 04/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Linda McCartney was much more than just the wife of an ex-Beatle who was awarded a knighthood. Us Female Photographer of the year, rediscoverer of sun-printing, animal advocate and vegetarian whose cookbooks became international best sellers, co-performer with her husband, composer, and ultimately cancer victim, she is celebrated in a collection of 10 musical works under the title . This has been recorded by EMI and is now available on CD (7243 556961 2). Not all these works were composed specifically for Linda. The opening Vaughan Williams piece, for example, was composed for Queen Elizabeth in 1953. But all of the ten pieces are appropriate and, as performed by The Joyful Company of Singers under Peter Broadbent, beautiful in the extreme. The other contributing composers are Paul Mc Cartney, John Taverner, Richard Rodney Bennett, Roxanna Panufnik, Michael Berkeley, Judith Bingham, David Matthews, and Giles Swayne. Phillipa Davies (flute) and Robert Cohen (cello) accompany on two tracks. However I found all these riches to be (in my mind, please bear in yours) a problem. The most delicious meal needs some contrast, the brightest painting needs some darkness, and the most beautiful commemorative music needs some variety. Although a careful listening will reveal thousands of differences among the pieces, there is a certain point at which I had to turn off my player and hear the rest later on. The music that came to my mind playing this one was Tallis' "Lamentations of Jerimiah"--utterly ravishing but a little too much to take at one sitting, if you follow. Yes, this might be a strange point of view; but what else has a listener to go by except personal impressions? I still give this album the highest rating; but be prepared."
Pay tribute to the life of a respected figure
Mark Swinton | 05/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With this CD, EMI have helped "The Garland Appeal," which aims to help in the fight against cancer through the healing and uplifting power of music.The pieces on this disc all reflect that in various ways. Using as their model "A Garland for the Queen," written in 1953 to honour Queen Elizabeth II and her Coronation in that year, the organisers of the Garland Appeal (headed by Sir Paul McCartney) have commissioned nine similar works from leading British composers. Each is a tribute to the life of Linda McCartney, whose death in 1998 from breast cancer was a tragic loss of a much-loved person. Some of the composers represented here knew Linda- amongst them John Tavener, David Matthews and Richard Rodney Bennett. Others were moved by the circumstances of her death and saw the Garland Appeal as a good cause to support- an example being Roxanna Panufnik who lost her father to cancer. Two composers (John Rutter and Giles Swayne) offered up independent works that they felt addressed the issue of illness and hope for recovery. Finally, McCartney made a simple and effective tribute of his own, much in the style of his previous cantatas (such as "Standing Stone").With names such as those described above, you can imagine even before listening to this that there are a lot of contrasts in the programme, as each composer responds to the sense of loss, the plight of the sick and the promise of healing and hope in a very personal (therefore unique) way. It stands to reason that some pieces may appeal to the listener much more than others. Even so, they all fit together quite well as a sequence (including the Vaughan Williams "Garland for the Queen" piece, "Music and Silence"- an outstanding choice to serve as a prelude for the disc). It is hard to single out any one that is more moving or heartfelt than the others; all are written with genuine feeling. Perhaps the most beautiful tribute is Bennett's "A Good-Night" at the very end- described in the booklet as "a wonderful gift," bidding farewell to an obviously special friend. Throughout the programme, the Joyful Company of Singers under Peter Broadbent provide a most wonderful and moving tone that sounds just right for a farewell tribute. In addition, the two solo instrumentalists (featured in the works by Rutter and Swayne) add a sensitive touch to the vocal music.Taken as a whole, this is a lovely work. In addition to being available on CD (the sales of which will raise money for the Garland Appeal), the programme will be repeated as frequently as possible throughout 2000 and beyond, both by the Joyful Company of Singers and hopefully other choirs. To that end, the nine tributes have been published in a single volume by Chester Music, as a further means of generating royalties for a very worthy cause."