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Julian Wagstaff: Breathe Freely

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Julian Wagstaff: Breathe Freely
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Audio CD, October 9, 2015
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Editorial Reviews

Breathe Freely is a new opera by contemporary Scottish composer Julian Wagstaff.

Written for three singers and piano trio, it is a chamber opera in two acts set in 1943 against the backdrop of the Second World War.

At its heart Julian Wagstaff's opera is a manifold celebration of human endeavour, history, interest, compassion, and, of course, chemistry at the University of Edinburgh.

It recounts the semi-fictional story of several real and extraordinary chemists who helped to make the Chemistry department the extraordinary institution it is today: Romantic pragmatist Stanislaw Hempel, endearing perfectionist Chrissie Miller and Professor James Kendall FRS, whose book is the basis for the synopsis.

Breathe Freely was premiered in 2013 to celebrate the tricentenary of the appointment of the first Chair of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh.

Also included on the recording is Wagstaff's piano trio A Persistent Illusion commissioned to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry, 2011. The title refers to Einstein's observation that the distinction between the past, present and future is merely a 'stubbornly persistent illusion'.


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