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Music Review: Living Breathing Earth, Warshauer Impresses

Meira Warshauer.jpg


            This album contains Warshaur’s two symphonies that explore places that most contemporary classical composers dare not go. 

            The album begins with Living Breathing Earth, which is Warshauer’s first symphony, but an expansive one at that.  As an art piece that shows the 4 images of the earth in through an interestingly orchestrated piece.  The beginning of Call of Cicadas, the first movement, pulls as many instruments together that sound as a whole like cicadas on a summer night.  An interesting combination of lively tempo, snare drum, trumpet flutter-tonguing and xylophone riffs pulled me deep into the piece.  Though the symphony is contemporary, written in 2005, it is nice that there are still ties to form in the symphony, which makes this a very interesting listen. 

            An unusual but ambitious first symphony, Living Breathing Earth grabbed me from the very start of the album.  The Moravian Philharmonic did a wonderful job preforming a very difficult and intricate piece, and the subtle harmonies in the second and third movements were well balanced and sounded beautiful.  The fourth movement did not return full circle to the pace of the energetic first movement, but instead explored the earth as a whole and reached a very great conclusion with wonderfully dynamic chords and melodies.

            The second symphony, entitle Tekeeyah, is a call that begs us to ask questions of the fundamental truths of life, Warshauer describes in the pamphlet.  Tekeeyah translates to “a call” and that is what the shofar, a ram horn instrument, does in this three-movement symphony.  Trombone soloist Haim Avitsur does a wonderful job adding the shofar to this piece, and his solos definitely ask longing questions.  Breaking Walls begins wonderfully and is just as impressive the first movement of Living Breathing Earth.  Though the piece is difficult to comprehend if you focus on any one part, as a whole it forms to the same idea as the first movement, but trying to answer some of those “why are we here?” type questions.  Through breaking down walls we are revealed the truth in the beautiful third movement Dance of Truth.  The trombone soloist is prominently featured and the virtuosity of Avitsur is evident in this piece.

            I thought this whole album was magnificent because both symphonies were very impressive.  If I could only recommend a part of the album, it would be the first movement of Living Breathing Earth and all of Tekeeyah.  The percussion sounds were brilliantly placed and the shofar, an uncommon instrument was put to its best use in the second symphony.  As a whole I would recommend this piece to anyone who is interested in unique sounding classical contemporary music.