BWW Reviews: VAN WINKLE - A FOLK MUSICAL Concept Recording
Van Winkle - A Folk Musical is a retelling of Washington Irving's classic American tale 'Rip Van Winkle' with music and lyrics by Caroline Wigmore and musical arrangements by Jen Green. Folk is very much an acquired taste and SimG Productions have certainly taken a risk by taking on a recording which is hugely different to anything they have released before.
As a concept album, this recording is merely a taster for audiences to gauge a reaction. Wigmore is very passionate about the story having grown up in rural Minnesota and has drawn inspiration from music she used to listen to as a child, setting the story in early America in 1766 and is very stylised to the era.
Americana is the main musical influence with a blend of jazz, blues and gospels intertwined. There are stunning orchestrations throughout and the music is very clever. Based on the first couple of tracks, personally I did not feel I'd be able to see the recording through as it is not the kind of music I would normally choose to listen to. However, 'Watching the Door' by Rachel Kurtz is absolutely beautiful and is by far the highlight of the album.
Van Winkle features an international cast including Daniel Greco, Noel Harron, Jennifer Hepburn, Joel Hutchings, Adam Leonard-Burns, David McKechnie and Claire Sharpe. With the nine-piece orchestra, the recording is produced to a very high standard - to be expected of this Production Company.
Simon Greiff must be commended on his ability to pick original and authentic new pieces of musical theatre. Although this one isn't to my personal taste overall, many others will enjoy it immensely and it has great potential to do well in the future.
Van Winkle is released on 4th November and is available from iTunes or direct from www.SimGProductions.com.