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Already impressed by Eric Whitacre's work the combination of his score and the poem by Charles Anthony Silvestre offers a quite exceptional experience of life and death as experienced by those surrounding a terminal diagnosis. It is emotionally charged and yet completely sympathetic to each aspect of involvement by those affected. As a simple listener it had a powerful impact on me, especially as my life has been engaged with the creation of healthy working environments in health and social care. It reminded me of one young, beautiful resident in a care home who chose to be there having been given weeks to live because she wanted to live 'normally' and not be the object of sympathy and empathy by those who couldn't face what she was facing.
This album is the most phenomenal thing Whitacre has put out to date. Normally, I have not been a fan of his instrumental inclusions, but I find that this time, it was exceptionally well done. The cello and piano are not add-ons. They are essential to the piece.
The intimacy of not just the music, but the lyrics contrasted with the sterility of the reading of the medical records of Silvestri's wife. The glissandi in "You Rise, I Fall".
The emotion of this piece is as raw as it comes, but it is done with style, respect, veneration. You see the height of love and happiness, and are also dragged down to depths of despair most people don't realize exists. The best of life, the worst of life. Contrasting feelings. Tension/release. Life. Death.
This is one of the most harrowing cathartic albums I've ever listened to that focuses on the journey of one families joy, grief and loss. Everyone can relate to this journey and I highly recommend a listen, even if it pulls at your heart strings to the point of misery. This audio journey was well worth it.