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Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, April 2014

…[Brown]’s in her full dramatic glory, but she shows no unease whatsoever with the vernacular, in either Angelou’s earthy text, or Danielpour’s strutting, syncopated, occasionally swooping setting.

Versatile soprano Hila Plitmann, possessed of shimmering tone and seemingly effortless breath control, creates an engrossing, deeply human portrait.

Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero does excellent work with the first-rate Nashville Symphony. © 2014 Opera News Read complete review

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, March 2014

Ms Brown sings with loving understanding. The Nashville players sound great… © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Cinemusical, November 2013

The recording here is an interesting pairing of works that shifts from Danielpour’s Persian heritage but still creates a very American-sounding work. The connection with women in the opening symphony makes for a great companion to the Angelou-based texts that complete this release. © 2013 Cinemusical Read complete review

John Terauds
Musical Toronto, November 2013

The marquee piece is Darkness in the Ancient Valley, subtitled Symphony in Five Movements…it is a substantial and moving work depicting the tribulations of Iranian people under religious dictatorship.

Danielpour aims for poetry in music rather than slamming his listeners over the head with a political argument.

In short, it’s a stewpot of accessible, current art-music styles from a master of the narrative. Danielpour knows when to raise the dynamics and tempo and when to get into a more contemplative mode.

The Finale, titled “Consecration” is a setting of a text by Rumi gorgeously sung by soprano Hila Plitmann.

The album concludes with A Woman’s Life…Soprano Angela Brown has a rich…voice…she fills every movement with moving conviction.

Danielpour is wonderfully economical in his orchestration of the accompaniment, and Guerrero gets a beautifully clear and balanced sound from his orchestra.

New music is rarely this satisfying to listen to. © 2013 Musical Toronto Read complete review

Brenda Nelson-Strauss
Black Grooves, October 2013

Award-winning American composer Richard Danielpour is celebrated in this new CD from Naxos, issued as part of their American Classics series. The album captures the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in live performances of three of Danielpour’s works…All three performances, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, offer excellent interpretations of Danielpour’s compositions…

Brown is a diva in the best sense of the word, with an effervescent personality that allows her to deftly inhabit her roles. This ability serves her well in A Woman’s Life…One of the highlights is “My Life Has Turned to Blue,” featuring wonderfully evocative writing for vibes and harp in the intro. Brown handles this idiom with ease, darkening her timbre in the lower register and adding bluesy inflections. The closing “Many and More” is beautifully sung, the legato phrasing enhancing the contemplative text and blending with the lush strings of the orchestration.

A Woman’s Life is a wonderful vehicle for Brown, showing off a different side of the acclaimed Verdi soprano, as documented in this fine performance with the Nashville symphony. © 2013 Black Grooves Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2013

Welcoming a disc of Richard Danielpour, just over a year ago, I described his style of composition as ‘modern tonality’ where the remnants of atonality still exist. All three works are from the present century, Darkness in the Ancient Valley…is performed with great beauty by Hila Plitmann. Taken from live performances, the Nashville strings were living dangerously in the fast fourth movement, but they survive. Elsewhere the playing is very assured under their Music Director, Giancarlo Guerrero. A Woman’s Life is an orchestral song-cycle in eight movements to poems by Maya Angelou, and traces the life of a woman from childhood to old age. Each lasting around three minutes, the performance features the soprano Angela Brown for whom it was written. Lovingly Americana from the days of the young Aaron Copland, it is a readily likeable score. World premier recordings, all taken from concerts—thankfully minus applause—and all in superb sound. © David’s Review Corner

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