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Somnium (track 9) has seemingly nothing to do with Johannes Kepler's Somnium seu Astronomia Lunari ('Dream or Astronomy of the Moon', first published 1634), a fantasy in which a student of Tycho Brahe is transported to the Moon by occult forces.

Nor at 4'36" can it relate to the seven-hour DVD Somnium (2001) by Robert Rich; a distillation of Rich's sonorous, hypnogogic all-night Sleep Concerts, first performed in 1982.

Schwartz' Somnium is simply a 4½ minute opus for violin, rippling harp and seemingly disembodied voice -- separated from Soledad, the final, gorgeously wistful 5½ minute violin and piano item [listen -- track 11, 1:49-2:43], by Salve Regina for soprano, choir and quartet. On this penultimate Latin track Broadway singer-actress Rebecca Luker is soloist.

State of Grace III is more notable for consistently pleasing, somewhat innocuous, easy sounds than the merest skerrick of depth or substance.

Paul Schwartz regards himself as an eclectic: 'I often listen to one track from a pop record, followed by one track from a classical record, and so on,' he explains. 'I tend to listen for research purposes; to learn what people are doing that's new.'

'I especially admire the work of Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister, an Austrian duo known for their downtempo-dub remixes of pop, hip-hop, and drum and bass songs.' Kruder and Dorfmeister's mixes are usually flavoured with sampler-processed vocals, deep bassline dub, trip-hop elements, bossa grooves and smoothly-shaped echoes, resulting in their distinctive sound. Many of their remixes are collected on the double album The K & D Sessions. Kruder and Dorfmeister use their own record studio, G-Stone Records in Vienna.

Copyright © 7 January 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


State of Grace III

KIC-CD-7692 Stereo NEW RELEASE 49'32" 2006 Zakatak Music Productions/Koch Entertainment

Lisbeth Scott, voice; The New Amsterdam Singers; Quartet: Peter Winograd, Laurie Carney, Daniel Avshalomov, Wolfram Koessel; Billy Sideman, guitars; Randall Wolfgang, cor anglais; Lucia Micarelli, violin; Rebecca Luker, voice; Paul Schwartz, piano, conductor

Paul Schwartz: Christe Redemptor; Agnus Dei; Beams of Heaven; Center of my Heart; Lux Aeterna; ... et lux perpetua; To You; Listen; Somnium; Salve Regina; Soledad


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