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Marshall & Moravec




Ingram Marshall

Savage Altars The Tudor Choir, Doug Fullington, director Authentic Presence Sarah Cahill, piano
Five Easy Pieces Sarah Cahill, Joseph Kubera, piano
Soe-pa Benjamin Verdery, guitar


New Albion NA 130 [2006, 59 mins]



Paul Moravec

Naxos American Classics 8.559267 [2002/2004, 56 mins]




















Two North American composers to remind us of our insularity in UK!

ngram Marshall's Savage Altars is an important addition to the chamber choir repertoire. With a text from Tacitus, the Marian Magnificat and others (including two different versions of "Sumer is i cumen in") this is a complex conception which repays the closest study.

The choir is supplemented just a little with obbligato violin and viola soloists and some taped interpolations. It is a substantial and significant addition to the growing repertoire of liturgical and quasi religious repertoire for small forces in church concerts, and it is superbly realised in a live performance at St Mark's Cathedral in Seattle.

Marshall's fresh and enquiring mind (nourished by minimalism, but a very free musical thinker, no slave to system music) is represented also by solos for guitar and piano, and some entertaining not-too-easy piano duets; again, a genre which needs expanding.

Good recording and presentation, with a stunning cover image.

Don't miss it all !


Naxos is continually in our debt, not least with their ongoing collection of American Classics (at £5.99 we can all afford to explore) and Paul Moravec well deserves his inclusion.

The Time Gallery, inspired by a visit to Greenwich, (four movements, 42 minutes) heads off with medieval bells (predating mechanical clocks) to introduce the six musicians of Eighth Blackbird, and is a meditation on the monastic life. Time Machine is "mechanical and metronomic", Pulse explores and actual heart beat and the rhythm of breathing and Overtime reflects upon the previous movements. Fresh, invigorating music.

Glad to have fill-ups of pieces full of energy and originality from Peter Sheppard Skærved & Aaron Shorr, the exploratory violin/piano duofrom London's RAM - the next release of their Beethoven Explored for Metier is eagerly awaited. Protean Fantasy soon becomes "a virtuosic thriller" and Ariel Fantasy "passes in a dazzling blink".

© Peter Grahame Woolf