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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: January 13, 2012
  • Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • Label: ECM
  • Copyright: (C) 2011 ECM Records GmbH under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 57:35
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0073Y9IMW
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,221 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

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Format: Audio CD
This is a strange combination of old 17th century music by Henry Purcell and the 20th century ballads by Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake as well as Susanna Wallumrod,the singer's 21 st century compositions.Harpist Pessi's arrangements of Henry Purcell songs are at the album's core.They are all rendered timeless by the early music instrumentation and Susanna's pure,understated style.The whole is given impetus by the nickelharpa of Ambrosini and Jane Achman's viola de gamba.The beauty comes from hearing the songs and instrumentation of Purcell threaded through with more modern fare of singer-songwriters.Susanna'a pure voice and Giovanna's subtle and evocative arrangements bring a continuity to the repertoire.Love of the music is shown by the commitment of the participating players.The etherial nature of the music,the musical personality given dramatic life by Purcell,subtler than anything the spoken word could achieve,the expressive power of the grief,achieved by bold harmonic effects and counterpoint.Proud fire and sacred fear.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Giovanna PESSI, Susanna WALLUMROD, Marco AMBROSINI, Jane ACHTMAN. If Grief Could Wait. ECM. (2011). $17.92. GP, baroque harp; SW, voc; MA, nyckelharpa; JA, viola da gamba.

This exceptional album is the second example this month for me of how well ECM traverses the area between straight-played classical music and creative reimaginings of them, with no loss of the music's integrity or quality of performance. I have written in an earlier posting of my admiration for ECM's 75th birthday surprise for the Georgian composer Giya Kancheli, Themes from the Songbook, with Kancheli's lovely themes for movies and plays rendered by violinist Gidon Kremer, bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi, and vibraphone player Andrei Pushkarev, in different combinations of instruments. A month or two ago, I got Lisa Smirnova's stunning 2-disc recording of Handel's harpsichord suites, performed brilliantly on piano instead of on the older instrument.

Now there is If Grief Could Wait, with the decidedly unorthodox instrumentation of soprano voice, harp, viola da gamba and an unusual late medieval instrument (14th century) from northern Europe called the nyckelharpa, a keyed fiddle which is played slung around one's neck on a strap and bowed or plucked. (Look it up on Wikipedia.)

Eight of the thirteen songs are by Purcell: six are vocals and two are for instruments only. The other songs are by `60s poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen ("Who by Fire" and "You Know Who I Am"), one by English songwriter-musician Nick Drake, who died at the age of twenty-six ("Which Will"), and two by Wallumrod. The songs mix together surprisingly well. Wallumrod has a beautiful voice, clear and plaintive. She sings the Purcell melodies differently from any other singer I have heard.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is definitely a CD for solo listening. Turn everything off, turn down the lights, and focus exclusively on this very sensitive recording to appreciate and gain for yourself the gentle repose that this CD is capable of generating. Susanna Wallumrod's beautiful voice is perfectly presented. The accompaniments have just the right weight. Highly recommended.
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