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The title work of this varied anthology of music by Joanna Marsh is actually an orchestral piece, but the recording is bookended by short cantatas, persuasively sung by the Choir of Royal Holloway. The atmospheric Pearl of Freedom has a libretto by opera producer David Pountney; commissioned to mark the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, it vividly tells the story of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison’s fatal demonstration at the Derby of 1913. The Tower represents the building of the Tower of Babylon and was inspired by the building of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, where Marsh has been partly based since 2007. Four settings of poems on the theme of womanhood by contemporary male Arab poets, originally commissioned by The King’s Singers, are particularly impressive, given extra warmth and bloom by the larger forces of the BBC Singers, who are also in fine form under Owain Park’s direction in Weighing the Earth, an adaptation (with permission) of a song by the Syrian Assa’aleek Band, interwoven with a text by Syrian-American activist Amal Kassir. Marsh originally made her name in the UK as an organist; she has developed into a composer of real skill and sophistication.

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