Lydia Kakabadse is a British composer who combines her Greek/Russian heritage with strong contrapuntal technique, and a devout interest in Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox liturgy choral traditions. This CD’s works, composed from 2004 to 2016 utilize traditional harmonies and are melodic, tho’ mildly to moderately sad. The images depicted are well described in the booklet. The Coachman’s Terror is based on Pushkin’s poem “Devils.” Dance Sketches (2011) are three diverse pieces: Arabic, courtly, and a study in staccato. The Concertato (2014) is a duet that seeks confrontation between the cello and double bass. Two Chamber Songs (2004; 2007) for mezzo-soprano and string quartet are set to a poem by Emily Dickinson (sic) and Edgar Allan Poe, respectively. Cantus Planus (2011) is a plainsong whose three mvmts represent canonical hours of prayer. Recitativo Arioso + Variations (2012) is an adaptation of an earlier work, here set for the string quartet Kakabadse favors, with double bass. The piece displays the composer’s ability to create counterpoint and color treatment of her lyrical idea.
Gary Lemco (March 2017)