Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A remarkable, life-affirming collaboration

Sadie Harrison is a composer of considerable stature, with a significant oeuvre that shows variety, depth and originality. She has been engaged in two additional professions which enhance her music. She's a professional gardener, which gives her insights into the natural world and organic processes, and also an archaeologist, which opens windows into other cultures and to the past.  The Rosegarden of Light project is a fascinating partnership with Cuatro Puntos (with whom Harrison is working closely, as composer in residence), a chamber music collective dedicated to global cooperation and peace, and student ensembles of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (including the girls' Ensemble Zohra and the Junior Ensemble of Traditional Afghan Instruments).

The combination of Harrison's special writing for strings, full of deceptively simple, open tunes and intricate rhythms and harmonies, and the joyful traditional Afghan music with its delightful sound palette gives this music an uplifting feeling. You can play clips from each track [the entire album] at the Toccata Classics website, and get a hint of this highly successful cross-cultural project. It makes one at least a tiny bit optimistic that music can indeed change lives, even for young people looking for life and joy against such high odds.

While waiting for the release of this disc on June 10, 2016, why not check out Harrison's earlier music.  From her work ...Under the Circle of the Moon..., on the 2015 album Solos and Duos for Strings and Piano, this is The Vision of Anne Catherine Emmerich (an early 19th century Catholic mystic):

And here is the title work for chamber orchestra from her 2012 album An Unexpected Light:


  1. In fact, you can listen to the entire album on the Toccata Classics site, not just clips.
    Martin Anderson
    Toccata Classics