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Circle Of Moons
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Circle of Moons adds yet another dimension to BILL DOUGLAS' legacy as an artist of uncommon versatility and melodic sensitivity. While most musicians strive to succeed in one genre, this multi-talented composer/keyboardist/bassoonist has already made his mark in the fields of classical, jazz, pop and new age music, weaving together influences from all in his critically-acclaimed performances and his recordings with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.
Jewel Lake (Hearts of Space, 1988), Bill's first album as leader of his own ensemble, showcased his warm, heart-filling brand of lyricism. "From the opening bars," wrote a critic for Keyboard, "It's obvious that Bill Douglas is endowed with a real gift for creating superb, unforgettable melodies." His subsequent HOS releases, Cantilena (1990) and Kaleidoscope (1993), garnered similar accolades for a unique combination of liquid, Celtic-inspired originals enhanced by subtle classical, jazz, and world music influences. He contributed four of the fourteen tracks on Celtic Twilight, Hearts of Space's 1994-95 bestseller - nearly a third of the album.
On Circle of Moons, the composer reaches a new level of refinement in thirteen enchanting, gently romantic tunes. The opening track, a choral setting of the poetic sentiments of William Blake, also reveals his deep-seated love for the transcendent melodies and sumptuous harmonies of Renaissance sacred music. "This era, especially as it relates to the English choral tradition, is my favorite," says the artist. "That's what I listen to for the sheer pleasure of it; pieces by William Byrd, Josquin de Prez and Thomas Tally really inspire me."
"Heaven in a Wild Flower," performed by the Boulder, Colorado-based ARS NOVA SINGERS conducted by Thomas Morgan, brings some of Blake's most evocative images to life with sublime melodies and emotionally-charged harmonies that combine the exultant ideals of the Renaissance with Douglas' flowing style of modern romanticism. The music creates an overall feeling of ecstacy that echoes through the room long after the vocalists sound their final chord.
Further on Circle of Moons, the Canadian-born composer again returns to the rich traditions of his Scotch-Irish ancestors. "I'm still very moved by Celtic music - not only its joyousness, but also the poignancy of the melodies." A host of world class performers on clarinet, English horn, flute, cello and percussion, join Douglas' dreamy synthesizer textures, eloquent bassoon melodies, and expressive piano lines, which place his orchestrations firmly in the 20th century. Still, the music dissolves the fabric of time, transporting listeners back to a simpler, more innocent era filled with fantastic legends and magical landscapes.