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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Rain Worthington, Passages Through Time


In my series of reviews on this site there are certain composers I have been happy to cover come what may. One of them is Rain Worthington. (Type her name in the search box above for additional review articles). Her latest is a collection of eight works that go together well in an album entitled Passages Through Time (Navona NV 6398).

Ms. Worthington's music is marked by an eclectic folk-local-archaic sacred-pan-stylistic timelessness.  The liner insert to the album tells us that the album centers around a universality of communicability in the nonverbal world of instrumental music. And indeed there is unmistakability a mood and expressivity in a minor or quasi-modal archaic-based idiom unfolding in each of these works. The musical syntax should be quite comprehensible to anyone musically inclined. The music fuses or references multiple stylistic elements so that there is no definite singularity as much as there is a manifold multiplicity--in the case of this music you hear a kind of World Music archaicism, a commonality at times with Medieval, with Postmodern Radical Tonality, with a sort of World Folkishness.

Each piece embodies a sonarity born of the instrumental configuration of each and a common minor expressivity.. The musical trajectory is meditative and contemplative and then expansive in turn.

So we listen.  "Full Circle" starts things off for orchestra, followed by "Night Stream" for two violins, "Within Deep Currents" for orchestra, "Balancing on the Edge of Shadows" for violin and piano, "Shadows of the Wind" for orchestra, "Resolves" for solo cello, "Dreaming Through Fog" for orchestra, and "In Passages" for violin and chamber orchestra. Performances are first rate throughout. The music hangs together like a series of Japanese woodcuts, each at base related in a continuum, like as a set series,  but each decidedly distinct in its end sequence and overall sonarity. 

I cannot think of a single thing to say negatively about this offering. It is beautiful and original, rugged and tender, seriously expressive and an uplifting example of what musical humans are doing these days. I have found Ms. Worthington ever her own stylist and ever inspired. This volume is no exception. It is a joy to hear.

Strongly recommended.

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