This album of sacred choral works for the 21st century is a delightful CD, with some surprises as far as its background goes: Lydia Kakabadse has her roots in Greece, Austria, Russia and Georgia, but was born in Southport and grew up in Altrincham.
Clearly a compulsive overachiever, she started composing at 13 and after studying music, took up dancing, even appearing on the The Six O’Clock Show . Needing funding for her composing, she took up law, qualified as a solicitor and landed a master of law degree. Her interests include mediaeval music and — to our untutored ears — you’d happily take this as a modern rendering of mediaeval church music, with exotic influences.
The opening piece, the medieval Spectre of The Maiden Scorned, is a story devised by Kakabadse herself, a Game of Thrones tale of a lovelorn monk being stitched up by an unscrupulous abbot, the work using original Latin text. The music features chant, monotonic singing and a two-octave stretch for the maiden’s lament. The next work, the title piece, is Greek orthodox in style and written in memory of the composer’s mother, as moving and solemn a piece as you would expect. It sets the monotonic male voices against the polyphonic choir. The third piece, Kontakia, also features the male voices and has the Greek influence. The closing Theotakia is made up of Marian hymns set to sacred Latin text.
It is performed by former members of Clare College Choir and is out on Divine Art, dda 25135.