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Rebecca Dale is a graduate of New College, Oxford, and a fellow of the Sundance Composers Lab. She has written extensively for film and television and her flowing, lyrical, descriptive music comes from that background. Her Materna Requiem is a very personal and heartfelt tribute to her late mother, and a homage to parents everywhere. Set to the text of the Roman Catholic rite and contemporary poetry, it has moments of solemn, introspective beauty which can build to a startling climax. Dale has an expert’s grasp of orchestration that illustrates whichever text she is setting, though she could use more variety in her thematic material. All the performers here give a very moving performance of the work; conductor Clark Rundell has a complete grasp of the idiom and gives Dale the best start for her debut disc. When Music Sounds was premiered on BBC Radio 3 and has lush, descriptive writing and an interesting instrumental part. It is given a fine performance by Nazan Fikret, the Cantus Ensemble and instrumentalists under the baton of Jeff Atmajian.

Decca Classics have done much to announce Rebecca Dale as the first female composer to sign for the company. They could have served her better, however: the review disc I received had only the cover of a booklet (nothing inside) and a press release giving no information about the sources of the text, little about the composer and no catalogue number; and I had to search online to find out that the Requiem was recorded in Liverpool, but When Music Sounds was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with a different set of musicians.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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