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VOCES8 - Equinox, on New Classical Tracks

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New Classical Tracks is a syndicated feature heard nationally on C24 and statewide on Minnesota PR. LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT

READ THE TRANSCRIPT - "We've been having a great time touring all around. We've got a wonderful new soprano as well, Eleanor, and perhaps most excitingly of all, we have a very brand-new composer-in-residence, called Jonathan Dove."

That's what the British vocal ensemble Voces8 has been up to, according to Barnaby Smith, one of the group's founding members. At the heart of their latest recording, Equinox, is a song cycle written by Dove.

"We wanted to record Jonathan's piece, which is called 'The Passing of the Year,' and we had the opportunity actually to do that at Abbey Road Studios, recording in the same room as the Beatles on John Lennon's piano. So that was very, very exciting. And this particular piece, tracks the passing of the year, as the title suggests, with a series of seven poems.

"Probably the most virtuosic of the seven poems is 'Answer July,' where the piano part really is incredibly difficult. During the recording, Jonathan was saying, 'I thought I could play this when I wrote it,' and I think it gave him difficulties. And actually the choral parts, as well, are incredibly fast, very, very intricate and really beautifully written.

"The favorite of my tracks from this particular series is 'Ah, Sun-Flower!' And the reason I particularly like it is because of the way the guys sing the solo line at the beginning of the song. And actually much like the second track from the set, it's sort of the music opens up so it starts with just a single vocal line sung by our tenors and basses in unison. But then as the piece progresses, it works its way into an eight-part canon, again sort of beautifully showing how the sunflower's face opens and is so radiant."