Fordante: The Arrival

~ Saturday, 23 January 2010
It's not often that we get to review a classical album. In fact this is the first. It is also refreshing to actually have a classical album of all new compositions rather than interpretations of well know works that seem to be the industry standard. Fordante are a quintet of musician, all with strong pedigrees, formed by composer and arranger Phil Mountford whose previous work includes television and film scores. Now, when many hear the word Classical they tune out and in many cases for good reason, but this album may just change that view.

Mountford takes his cue from many a great composer, Vivaldi and Karl Jenkins for example, and this may explain why much of the music has a familiar feel to it, but his writing also has elements of Latin, Middle Eastern and pop that makes this an accessible album for those who would not consider themselves a fan of this genre.

The playing throughout is passionate and uplifting. Great credit must go to Rebecca Dawkins, Shulah Oliver, Catherine Price
and Rebecca Rose for thier faultless performance and understanding of what Mountford is trying to achieve. Listening to this album it is obvious that Mountford has a background in composing for tv and film as many of the tracks feel like they could slot into an Agatha Christie period piece. You would not be surprised if the Latin flavoured Tango was to be heard in an episode of Hercule Poirot.

Not everything works though. Chase with its drum and bass style drum breaks makes for an uncomfortable bed fellow with the rest of the instrumentation. It really is a disastrous combination. This is the exception rather than the rule as Mountford proves he is capable of producing work of real beauty with
The stunning Italian Love and equally beautiful Lament. Both are touching and heartfelt piano based pieces that are brought to life by wonderful string arrangements and truly conveys the emotions of their titles.

This is an unexpectedly refreshing album that has broader appeal than its classical roots. While the overall sound of the album could not be described as original (as Mountford borrows to heavily from those who inspire him like John Williams and John Barry), it is still a wonderful piece of work.

[][][][] (4/5)