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The Jukebox Album

Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano, cello etc) (Orchid Classics)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

The Jukebox Album
Works by L Boulanger, Chaminade, Frances-Hoad, Kern, Piaf/Louiguy, M Simpson et al
Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano, cello etc)
Orchid Classics ORC 100173   54:27 mins

If necessity is the mother of invention then surely love, laughter and hope give it wings. Upon lockdown in March 2020, violinist Elena Urioste and pianist Tom Poster faced unemployment. Initially aiming simply to keep motivated, their response became an online phenomenon and has birthed this wonderfully life-affirming album.

With daily posting of a new video with the hashtag #UriPosteJukeBox, requests for their genre-busting performances flooded in, creating a huge digital community and spreading the joy of music far and wide. Captured here are 17 of those performances. From lyrical arrangements by Poster of classic songs by Piaf and Porter to poignant snippets of unjustly neglected composers such as Lili Boulanger and Cécile Chaminade, it’s an eclectic mix that combines ‘Jukebox’ nostalgia with a modern, shuffle-play sense of adventure. Crucial to the latter – alongside Poster as zany, swanee-whistling ‘Pteromost’ – are the ‘corona commissions’ by six very different composers. Each expresses the sadness and uncertainty of isolation while finding gifts of inner strength, such as Clarice Assad’s Emotiva and Jessie Montgomery’s Peace, while Donald Grant remembers the Gaelic proverb Bha là eile ann(There was a different day) in folk-inspired reflection of the past. As Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s Bloom finds luminosity in the changing seasons, Huw Watkins’s Arietta suspends time in a haunting present. Most stirringly passionate, having inspired the series, Mark Simpson’s An Essay of Love sums up its purpose – and the entire project.

Steph Power