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Isle of Lucidity

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 13, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

When Boston-based singer and composer Emily Lau embarked on her honeymoon cruise in January 2012, she had no idea that voyage would change her life forever. But just a few days after setting sail on the Costa Concordia, the ship ventured into shallow water off the coast of Italy and smashed into the rocks. After the captain abandoned ship and the lifeboats left the young couple behind to fend for themselves, they found a discarded rope and rappelled down the hull of the sinking ship, desperately hoping for rescue. For the next three hours, they would cling to that rope, wondered whether anyone would come for them at all.

This album of original compositions -- written by Lau in the year following the disaster -- provides the listener with a window into the couple's terrifying and surreal ordeal, each piece illuminating a different dimension of the disaster. Lau draws from her experience as an active touring classical musician to craft the haunting melodies and enlists an all-star cast of collaborators to construct the vivid soundscape. Virtuosic vocal performances are supported by lush violin and harp accompaniment, while a mournful wind section of bassoons & bass dulcians recreates the slow relentless movement of the sea.

Grounded in medieval polyphony and colored with modern chromatic sonority, Lau develops a unique musical language and paints a series of vignettes, alternately depicting the seascape in turmoil and the hope of the survivors. With texts taken from a variety of eastern and western faith traditions, as well as the work of contemporary poets, Lau asks the listener to accompany her on a journey in search of truth and beauty in the aftermath of a tragedy.

The couple's harrowing story has been told on CNN, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and Vanity Fair, as well as in the memoir "Abandoned Ship" written by Lau's husband, Benji Smith.

  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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1:50
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5
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3:13
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2:16
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1:25
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8
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Product Details

  • Performer: Emily Lau, Camila Parias, Jessica Petrus, Clare McNamara, James Dargan, et al.
  • Conductor: n/a
  • Composer: Emily Lau
  • Audio CD (January 13, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: The Broken Consort
  • ASIN: B00AUXU63I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,498 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've now listened through this CD twice. The first time I did, the music absorbed me in a way that made not want to analyze it, but to simply experience it. I had the same experience the second time listening to it, but this time I was able to identify different levels and new colors to it that I didn't notice the first time. Simply put, this is an incredible series of music. I've read that Emily Lau (composer) was a survivor of the Costa Concordia shipwreck and composed this CD as a musical expression of her experiences through that event. Much like I can feel a connection to a movie or book that portrays an amazing true story, I felt a distinct connection to this CD. Emily Lau has a phenomenal voice, but her composition here is (I believe) the most impressive achievement. You can feel something very personal here. Very real and honest. And Emily's talents put her among the great composers (and singers) alive today. Her unique experiences and rare talents have combined to make something completely singular and, in a word, beautiful. Buy this CD.
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Format: Audio CD
As a classically trained musician and professor of music, I bought this CD knowing that I would listen to the work critically (as I usually do when assessing new music written by young and emerging artists), and I hoped I would hear something unique or remarkable. Hearing the first few tracks, I became aware that this was not a disk with just a few moments, but in fact a work that was moving, intelligent, soulful and musically intricate and diverse. Knowing a little bit about the story of how Emily and Benji survived the experience of the sinking Costa Concordia(as written in the description), the event that inspired this cathartic work was conveyed in a musical form so transparently as to reach a much broader philosophical resonance. The music clearly resonated with the discord of such human experiences of separation and anxiety as we all can feel in everyday life.

The "Mass" is a brilliant, modern yet ancient sounding journey through a familiar structure, but spoken in an almost Buddhist voice- the desire to return to the simple, and to the love of puppies... (My favorite track- "I Believe.")

I highly recommend this CD to anyone wishing to listen to a fresh, new voice, and a rich musical listening experience. Kudos to Emily Lau and her colleagues!
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not a music critic or authority, but I enjoyed the beautiful music performed by the very talented musicians on this CD. The music was composed by Emily Lau, a survivor of the Costa Concordia shipwreck. The harrowing experience that she and her husband endured and the healing process afterwards was the inspiration for the music on the CD.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been listening to this CD regularly over the last week or two, and it gets better with each listen. I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard "music inspired by the Costa Concordia shipwreck", but I quickly discovered it to be a haunting, soulful collection of music that expresses so much emotion from beginning to end. I'm not any kind of music critic, nor am I a musician and I can't carry a tune to save my life, but I know what I like, and I like this a great deal. This may sound strange, knowing what inspired the music, but for me the music is like the soundtrack to a dream that hovers just out of my consciousness. The dream is nothing like what Ms. Lau experienced, but a dream place where great things are possible. For me that's the beauty of the world...out of such tragedy rises this wonderful collection of songs.
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Format: Audio CD
I have listened to this CD several times and its beauty comes more alive each time I listen. The inspiration composer/singer Emily Lau derived from her harrowing experience on the ship-wrecked Italian cruise ship, Costa Concordia, in January, 2012, moved her to compose eleven pieces of music for this CD. She is being assisted by eight other able musicians. The result is ethereal and moving. Her voice is pure and rich. Highly recommended. Serendipitously I discovered a book Emily's husband wrote It is an intimate description of the experiences the author and his newly wed wife, Emily Lau and it is a gripping read. Abandoned Ship: An intimate account of the Costa Concordia shipwreck
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