|Wendy Weatherby - "Daybreak on the World's Edge" - Amber Music AMCD01|
here's an oddity - and a truly delightful one. Multiple Wendys on multi-tracked
cello, with Rod, Mick and Lester singing - Wendy's settings of William Souter's
poetry. Do cellos work in this "folk" setting? Of course they
do. There's a long history of the cello in Scots music - Niel Gow's brother
often accompanied him on cello and the instrument lies in approximately
the correct range for the male voice - so it works spectacularly well. This
sits, however, somewhere between folk and chamber music. The word "fusion"
is a detestable one, but this music really does straddle the folk-classical
divide - quite deliberately, I suspect. The total absence of more normal
folkie instruments and the use of singers with what a broad-minded classical
enthusiast would concede are "good" voices, accentuates this.
It sounds like quite hard work for the singers and a couple of the songs
don't work for me too well. It is overall, however, a stunning achievement.
The overwhelming majority of Wendy's arrangements and settings leave Souter's
words room to breathe - they are sufficiently sparse that they support,
rather than interfere with, the poetry. File this under "intriguing",
"musically very clever" and definitely NOT under "easy-listening".
On second thoughts, don't file it at all - just buy it and be intrigued!