Aurelia - The Hour of the Wolf
From the percussive, rhythmic chanting of the opening track “Vous et Nous” to the lilting finale “La mazurka du chat,” The Hour of the Wolf from Belgian trio Aurelia never lets the intensity subside. Even the softer, slower pieces have a powerful undercurrent that pushes through the individual tracks and the record as a whole.
The violin of Aurélie Dorzée provides the driving force for this record. Surrounded with an array of strings, percussion, keyboard instruments, and vocals, these mostly original songs move the listener on many levels. There are powerful songs like the opener, gypsy-flavored dance tunes, and a love song or two. The arrangements are particularly well done, moving effortlessly between acoustic and electronic, adding and removing layers while propelling the melody forward.
The challenge for me on this collection was the eight-minute setting of Franz Schubert’s well-known “Ave Maria.” On the first couple of listens I didn’t like the treatment with its waves of dissonance and polyrhythmic percussion underpinning the beautifully sung melody, and I’m not usually a listener who shies away from dissonance or polyrhythms. When I finally realized this track didn’t have the rhythmic drive and intensity that I enjoyed on the other songs, I opened my ears again and grew on me. I found it especially appealing as I listened to the track on its own, not as part the album. The setting is beautiful, haunting, and emotional. As much as I grew to love the piece, it still seems out of place with the other songs on the album.
But that’s nitpicking. All the songs on this CD are keepers. The Hour of the Wolf is a welcome addition to my library, and I know I’ll be enjoying it for a long time. - Greg Harness
The artists' web site: www.aurelia-feria.com
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