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BEEA: “Ride Or Die” – Classic soul tropes are juxtaposed with modern pop touches

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Stephen Edwards: “Requiem for My Mother” – powerful and emotional music

“Requiem for My Mother” is an award-winning documentary and a compelling musical and choral celebration of life and love, loss and acceptance. This master work composed by Stephen Edwards in honor of his late mother Rosalie Edwards, had its premiere at the Vatican, while the official release of the CD was released during May. In collaboration with the Continuo Arts Foundation, along with the renowned conductor Candace Wicke, the Requiem goes from a son’s personal lament to a soaring 160-voice choral performance with a 50-piece orchestra, staged in one of the most beautiful and sacred places in the world, the Basilica of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Rome.

Stephen Edwards

Stephen Edwards

The choir and orchestra used to execute this epic recording, is completed by the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus & The City of Prague PhilharmonicBeverly Coulter (Soprano), Kristopher Jean (Tenor) and Keith Spencer (Baritone).

Anyone used to the suave choral sound in performances of any past Requiems by other composers might be surprised by the textures induced here by Candace Wicke , in which the various choir voices makes its own distinctive contribution to enhance the opening emotional state of being on Requiem Aeternam” , and by the pungency with which the orchestral writing registers.

There’s a real energy, with tremendous climaxes that belie the scale of the forces involved. All throughout the eleven musical pieces, beautiful singing and playing combine to create powerful and emotional music that will move the listener through a myriad of moods and nuances.

Requiem (and its close slower cousin- the adagio) music, usually has a somber tone befitting its function in invoking the memory of the dead. Here however each shifting musical parenthesis is meant to transform “grief to healing and hope for the future.”

Hence the tones vary immensely as Stephen Edwards’ compositions transports and accompany the listener through his very own mutating emotions. Each movement seems to express just the right amount of poignancy and pathos, as conductor Candace Wicke’s interpretations make a compelling case for “Requiem for My Mother” as a work of cohesive greatness. Expertly paced, Wicke’s conduction combines expressive warmth with dramatic force.

Of particular note is the performance of the world renowned Prague Symphony Orchestra on “Dies Irae” which bathes itself in capricious tempos and complex scales. The children’s choir’s high and creamy notes readily capture the wistful passion of “Pie Jesu”, which Edwards himself regards as “the most tuneful movement of the entire work.”  

This happens just before the chorus sets in to completely carry the notes of “Agnus Dei”. “The Communion” marks a joyous turning point with epic sounding climaxes as the soundtrack move towards its elated conclusion of “In Paradisum”.

Each movement of a “Requiem for My Mother” could stand on its own; together, they form a powerful, dramatic body of work, rich in sound, full of gravity and importance, as well as being beautiful and evocative – a modern take on the essence of spirituality.

More About: Michigan native Stephen Edwards – a prolific composer, who  has scored more than 60 movies, from comedy to action, martial arts to documentaries –  began his music education began at an early age, with training by his mother, Rosalie Edwards, followed by studies at Interlochen Music Camp and Lawrence University where he was recipient of the “Outstanding Classical Soloist” award sponsored by DownBeat magazine, and selected as a participant in the All-American College Orchestra National Talent Search sponsored by Disney. Mr. Edwards continued his studies at the Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles, and immediately started working as a session musician for film and TV composers like Mike Post.

“Requiem for My Mother” can be purchased here through Amazon.

OFFICIAL LINKS:
Label: Music For Moving Images • Publisher: Sixfeetfive Music Promotion: Majorhitrecords
Publicist: GENEVIEVE SPIELBERG INC.
12 Princeton Street, Summit, New Jersey 07901
Phone: (908) 608 1325 • email: info@gsiartists.com • info@stephen-edwards.com • www.requiemformymother.com • www.stephen-edwards.com

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