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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Gene Pritsker, Cloud Atlas Symphony, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony, Kristjan Jarvi


I've appreciated composer Gene Pritsker since I first started listening to his album releases. Nothing has changed and I am always glad to hear more whenever I can. The new one is especially special because it gives us a wonderful reading of the Cloud Atlas Symphony (NEscapes Records), a compelling thing to hear indeed. This album fulfills the Pritsker promise of an assumption of all that has come before but then something only Gene might create as the furtherance, the comeback, the rejoiner and the return volley? Well yes, yes it does.

I am perfectly serious about all that above. It is ever an adventure when Gene gets a project going. And here with the Cloud Atlas Symphony we get an excellent performance and a high quality recording of the work. As Gene expresses it on the promo sheet, there is the original world of Cloud Atlas the novel, there is the film made on the basis of the story, there is the movie soundtrack Gene adapted for it, and then there is the symphony as it is an extension, expansion, and an abstraction of all of the above.

And as I listen a bunch of times I feel the story theme obliquely but I hear the symphonic presence of it all as a beautifully descriptive set of passages that somehow channel Brahms and everybody after yet make of it all something new!

Now the full symphony comes at us in six dynamic movements, and then there are three additional segments written by Tom Tykwer. Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, all masterfully orchestrated by Gene. I am not sure how they relate to the symphony but it does not entirely matter because they are intriguing and hypnotic and add something definite to the program. Well, OK I get it I just realized that underneath the Symphony notes it says "based on the music from the film Cloud Atlas written by" the three composers mentioned above. OK, right.

What we have in the end is one cohesive sequence of powerfully constructed and deeply expressed musical fare and another beautifully wrought feather in the Gene Pritsker compositional cap. Bravo! Very strongly recommended.

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