Julian Curwin & Jane Sheldon ‘Crossing’

crossing cover

(ROM014)  Released June 1, 2018

CD / Bandcamp / UK

‘Crossing’ is the new collaboration between classical soprano Jane Sheldon (Pinchgut Opera, The Song Company, Elena Kats-Chernin, John Zorn) and guitarist Julian Curwin (The Tango Saloon, The Mango Balloon, Cannibal Spiders, Monsieur Camembert).

The pair first joined forces in experimental electronic pop band Gauche in the early 2000s (whose back-catalogue has just been re-released by Art As Catharsis). Now, more than a decade later, they bring together all of their intervening musical experiences for ‘Crossing’. Though difficult to neatly categorise, a shared love for western film scores, folk song and early music may give some clues. ‘Crossing’ is music that evokes other lands, sometimes real, often imaginary.

  1. Chanson d’amour
  2. La froidor
  3. Duérmete
  4. Ai flores
  5. Crossing
  6. Ophelia
  7. Fogwood
  8. Unseen, unknown
  9. Vigo
  10. El sol
  11. L’amour triste

Review in The Sydney Morning Herald (3/8/18) by John Shand (5 stars)

Out of the deluge of new music bursts an unexpected vision of beauty to rival Joseph Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne. Part bucolic dream and part sonic rainbow (arching from the 13th century to now), this has guitarist Julian Curwin and soprano Jane Sheldon composing settings for assorted French, Spanish and English poetry of lost or unrequited love. The 14th century Chanson d’amour and La froidor, for instance, impale you on the anguish of love unrequited, made all the more poignant by the bell-like, boy-soprano purity and innocence of Sheldon’s voice against Curwin’s classical guitar. The title track and El Sol both have otherworldly wordless singing, the former deploying an exotic counter melody and ghostly electric guitar laced with viola (Shenton Gregory) and percussion (Jess Ciampa), who also deftly colour other pieces. Rimbaud’s Ophelia, surely among the greatest pieces of Shakespeare-inspired poetry, now floats in musical pathos, and the one song in English, Unseen, Unknown, is by Shakespeare’s contemporary Mary Wroth. The music, gently bathing in the prevailing medieval ethos without descending to pastiche, is performed with an artistic rigour worthy of Jordi Savall. I know no higher praise.

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