LYDIA KAKABADSE – ITHAKA DIVINE ART DDA 25188
Lydia Kakabadse was born in 1955 of Georgian/Russian and Greek/Austrian parentage and grew up in a quiet market town in Cheshire. She worked as a solicitor but has been composing music since the age of thirteen, writing both chamber and choral works that include songs, string quartets, musical dramas, a cantata, song cycles for unaccompanied male vocal choir and a concert Requiem Mass. Her richly textured music reflects Lydia Kakabadse’s wide cultural heritage. This is strongest in her choral music and is also heard to good effect in her chamber works, which are often written in modal intonation. This new album includes the stunning and ambitious choral work ‘Odyssey’, commissioned by the Hellenic Institute at Royal Holloway College in 2018 to mark its 25th anniversary. Its seven movements symbolize an inspiring musical journey through centuries of Greek history, culture and literature. The second part of the album features songs written in 2018 and 2019 and spanning a range of styles from ballad, to arioso to folk jazz, Romantic, antiphonal and minimalistic. The excellent Choir of Royal Holloway, directed by Rupert Gough, perform the beautiful ‘Odyssey’, with Cecily Beer (harp) and Sara Trickey (violin). Outstanding Liverpool-born mezzo-soprano Clare McCaldin, accompanied by pianist Paul Turner, sings ten elegant and thoughtful songs with assurance and subtlety. Highlights include The Ruined Maid (based on Thomas Hardy’s wonderful satirical poem) and Way Through the Woods (set to Rudyard Kipling’s evocative poem of the same name, telling of ghostly happenings as well as nature’s power over mankind).
John Pitt (December 2019)