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CD review: The Beauty Within

Sheona White adds further engaging explorations to her musical journey of artistic evolution with her latest release.


Soloist: Sheona White 
Featuring: Foden’s Band; Lauren Scott (harp)
Conductor: Michael Fowles
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD430

Sheona White’s latest solo album continues her explorations of musical connectivity and inspiration.

It follows her recent release with Grammy nominated composer Jeffrey Kaufman featuring works with string orchestra and pianist.

Its subtle elegance offered the intriguing prospect of avenues of future potential, whilst this album, although ostensibly a return to familiar hinterland (Foden’s accompany with refined consideration), also burrows with a sophisticated boldness into her evolving artistic identity.

Past and present

Past and present gel successfully: Peter Graham’s ‘Soliloquy’  and ‘A Time to Love’  moulded from the test-pieces ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’  and ‘Essence of Time’  reflect on a personal link to the composer that spans almost 30 years. The sepia musical feel of Erik Leidzen’s ‘The Old Rustic Bridge’  harks back even further (written in 1960) to her early days as an emerging solo talent.

Kevin Houben’s ‘Legends of a Giant’  was given its world premiere with Foden’s at the RNCM International Brass Band Festival earlier this year.

Originally written for alto sax, it in turn triggers both disturbing as well as delightful dream sequences as the synapses flicker in a child’s REM-induced sleep.

Originally written for alto sax, it in turn triggers both disturbing as well as delightful dream sequences as the synapses flicker in a child’s REM-induced sleep.

‘Romance for Horn’ (a reprise of the Kaufman work featured on the ‘New Music for Eb Tenor Horn and String Orchestra’ release) has an embracing serenity, although there is no tender romance to be found in the ‘The Battle’  and ‘Violet’  from Martin Green’s coruscating ‘Split the Air’ production. 

Uninhibited immediacy

White revisits her remarkable lead role as Keli, the angry, disenfranchised voice of a young woman torn apart by frustration and despair: It cries with a poignant, uninhibited immediacy in its unbreakable resolve. 

White revisits her remarkable lead role as Keli, the angry, disenfranchised voice of a young woman torn apart by frustration and despair: It cries with a poignant, uninhibited immediacy in its unbreakable resolve. 

Measured virtuosity

Contrast comes with the folklore waspishness of Andrea Price’s ‘Enter the Dance’,  whilst Margaret Antrobus provides a trio of cultured, delicately tempered arrangements.

The haunting simplicity of Andy Scott’s ‘And Everything is Still…’, accompanied by harpist Lauren Scott, draws an enriching chill of melancholy deep into the marrow of your bones.

Gabaye’s playful ‘Boutade’,  Handel’s tender sarabande ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’  (from the opera ‘Rinaldo’), and Brandt’s ‘Concert Piece No. 2’  each retains the origin of their inspiration through White’s chameleon-like tonal malleability and measured virtuosity.

Philip Harper’s title track (written for this album) has a reflective quality that is a showcase of the soloist’s lyrical artistry.

The haunting simplicity of Andy Scott’s ‘And Everything is Still…’, accompanied by harpist Lauren Scott, draws an enriching chill of melancholy deep into the marrow of your bones on a release of absorbing thought and purpose.

Iwan Fox


To purchase:

CD: 
https://www.sheonawhite.co.uk/

https://www.worldofbrass.com/102122

Download: https://www.worldofbrass.com/102122-download

Wobplay: http://www.wobplay.com

Play list:

1. Legend of a Giant (Kevin Houben)
2. And Everything is Still… (Andy Scott)
Harp: Lauren Scott

3. Boutade (Pierre Gabaye arr. Margaret Antrobus)
4. Lascia ch’io ianga (Handel arr. Margaret Antrobus)
5. Concert Piece No. 2 (Vassily Brandt arr. Margaret Antrobus)

6. Soliloquy (Peter Graham)
7. A Time to Love (Six A Capella Studies) (Peter Graham) 

8. Enter the Dance (Andrea Price)
9. Romance for Horn (Jospeh Turrin)

10. The Battle (Martin Green arr. Benjamin Woodgates)
11. Violet (Martin Green)

12. The Beauty Within (Philip Harper)
13. The Old Rustic Bridge (Erik Leidzen)

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D. Phil. (Oxon) [Ph.D Oxford University], GBSM, LTCL, ABSM, ALCM, Cert. Ed.


               

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