NOTHING PROVED – New works for viols, voice and electronics – Parthenia Viol Consort – MSR Classics 

A fascinating collection of music by women composers. A feast for the mind and the ear!

NOTHING PROVED – New works for viols, voice and electronics – Music by Hildegard Von Bingen, Kristin Norderval, Tawnie Olson, Frances White – PARTHENIA (viol consort)/ Beverly Au, bass viol/ Lawrence Lipnik, tenor viol/ Rosamund Morley, treble viol/ Lisa Terry, bass viol/ Kristin Norderval, soprano/ Dashon Burton, bass-baritone/ Valeria Vasilevski, narrator – MSR Classics Stereo CD [MS1635] (4/10/18) ****:

This disc contains music by woman composers, starting with a chant by Von Bingen, then following with three contemporary works. Here’s the program to give you a brief idea of the music on offer:

HILDEGARD VON BINGEN
CHANT “Alleluia, O Virga Mediatrix” (1150)

FRANCES WHITE
A FLOWER ON THE FARTHER SIDE for viol quartet and electronic sound (2010)

KRISTIN NORDERVAL
NOTHING PROVED CAN BE for viol quartet, soprano, and interactive audio processing (2008)
I. On the Execution of Lord High Admiral Thomas Seymour
II. The Doubt
III. Grieve and Dare Not
IV. Fortune

TAWNIE OLSON
THORNS for viol quartet and bass-baritone (2013)

FRANCES WHITE
FROM A FAIRY TALE for viol quartet (2013)
Story by JAMES PRITCHETT

The four compositions on this disc are all pieces that tell stories in one way or another. Included here are stories of the sacred: of God, his creation of light from darkness, and his sacrifice for humanity; of visions, transformations, redemption, and hope; of both faith and the impossibility of faith. There are also secular stories, like the story of a powerful woman of the sixteenth century, a woman who became Queen of England even as men in high positions tried to bring her down.

There’s much to like about this disc. The music is uniformly interesting and filled with thoughtful depth. The performances and the recording are first rate, with silky highs and deep bass where required. I can’t imagine this won’t be a fascinating listen for classical and contemporary music fans.

The performances seem spot on and are tailor made for the adventurous listener as well as those whose tastes may run to the traditional but are willing to explore a bit outside the boundaries.

Recommended.

—Mel Martin

 

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