Christine Tobin Sailing To Byzantium

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Christine Tobin
LABELS: Trail Belle Records
ALBUM TITLE: Christine Tobin Sailing To Byzantium
WORKS: Sailing To Byzantium
PERFORMER: Christine Tobin (voice, piano), Gabriel Byrne (reading), Liam noble (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: TBR02

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There are several interesting things to be noted from this recording. Jazz and poetry have a traditional affinity: both are volatile, evolutionary and multifaceted and both are always open to reinvention. And these 12 settings of some of the best-loved poems by the Irish Symbolist William Butler Yeats – such as ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ and the title track ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ – constitute a delightful piece of work.

Tobin, who has set the works of other notable poets in the past, turned her attention to WB Yeats after being asked to perform by the National Library of Ireland, which in turn inspired this project. Her voice, robust and subtle by turns but characterful throughout, is of course to the fore, but it’s her empathetic arrangements, crafted around each text with the skill of a watchmaker, which make this sonically impeccable disc unique. Do buy this, but also watch out for live dates.

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Roger Thomas