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Songs Of Earth And Sky

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MP3 Album Price:
$9.99
CD Price:
$16.98
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Product Description

Working once again with the ARS NOVA SINGERS, Douglas creates choral settings for the most beloved poems from the English Classical poetic tradition. "If you liked the original, you're going to love the sequel." While it's rare that this sentiment is expressed about a favorite book or movie, it's a safe bet that fans of last year's Deep Peace will be enthralled by BILL DOUGLAS' new album Songs of Earth and Sky. Returning for this release are the ARS NOVA SINGERS, some of the world's greatest poets, intricate, lovely, and spirited melodies, and superb ensemble playing. What's added is an air of earthiness and celebration to complement the depth of thought and feeling inherent in the immortal words of the poets.


The album takes its title from both the contrasting musical moods of the pieces herein and the imagery present in the poems. Percy Bysshe Shelley's "The Cloud" leads things off, and is a perfect illustration of the Earth and Sky dichotomy:

I am the daughter of earth and water,
And the nursling of the sky;
I pass through the pores of the oceans and shores;
I change, but cannot die.

Also represented in the choral pieces are Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Wind of the Western Sea," William Blake's "The Echoing Green," Robert Burns' immortal "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose," Shakespeare's "Willow," and Douglas' version of "I Shall Not Live in Vain," which combines verse from both Emily Dickinson and Blake to excellent effect.

As for the choral arrangements, they are sheer poetry themselves. Performed flawlessly by the Colorado-based Ars Nova Singers, conducted by Thomas Morgan, they hearken back to the works of Renaissance-era composers for whom choral arranging was a way of life. Which is not at all surprising, given that Douglas describes his choral composition technique as being most influenced by Josquin de Prez (1440-1521),Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), and William Byrd (1543-1623).

The instrumental ensemble playing is also up to the usual high standard that we've come to expect on all of Bill Douglas' recordings. Douglas himself deftly handles piano, synthesizer and bassoon chores, while sundry woodwinds take their turns with melody. And, since he has written some of the most memorable tunes for clarinet in the modern era (owing to his 30 years of collaboration with Richard Stoltzman), it will surprise no one that clarinet takes the occasional lead on several of Songs of Earth and Sky's seven instrumental pieces, particularly "Lady of the Lake" and "The Gardens of Loch Nair." But the album also features solo piano on the Bachlike "Autumn Song," oboe and flute trading melody lines on "The Secret Rose," and the (goosebump inducing) interplay of piano and clarinet playing in harmony on "The Smile of a Breeze." For anyone who enjoys a good Celtic romp, there's "Feast" and "Balyshannon," manual dexterity for flute and violin (nee fiddle).

In short, like Deep Peace before it, Songs of Earth and Sky combines the words of the great Western poets with the melodic gifts of a celebrated contemporary tunesmith to a brilliant end. Or, to put it in an earth and sky metaphor: Lightning of the brightest kind has struck once again.

2-HOS-11083

Digital Downloads
Songs Of Earth And Sky (Full Digital Album)  
$9.99
Feast
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The Cloud
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Balyshannon
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The Smile Of A Breeze
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The Echoing Green
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My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose
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Lady Of The Lake
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Wind Of The Western Sea
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The Secret Rose
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Autumn Song
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Willow
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The Gardens Of Loch Nair
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$0.99
I Shall Not Live In Vain
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