Lydia Kakabadse was raised in the Russian and Greek Orthodox traditions and brings considerable learning as well as freshly accessible music to this Royal Holloway Hellenic Institute commission. The music draws, though in no schematic way, on the succession of styles that dominated the eastern Mediterranean: Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and modern. The aim is not to do music history but to portray the progress of a human life, from the monophony of early days to the triumphant recognition that destination is less important than the journey – familiar enough, to the point of cliché, but delivered with honesty and feeling by the Royal Holloway choir. There are also songs for mezzo and piano, but it’s Odyssey (‘Ithaka’ follows the Greek national anthem in the final section) that dominates the set and could have stood alone. A fine addition to Kakabadse’s Divine Art catalogue.
Brian Morton (Choir & Organ – February 2020)