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Inspired by (respectively) Plato’s Republic and the Buddhist Heart Sutra, these brief pieces might seem like snapshots from a spiritual tourist’s summer visit to the Old World. But Bono is a composer of infinite harmonic resource, and his concentration of Dorian and Phyrgian modes far from seeming either unduly academic or ethnomusicological. In fact, it’s Bono’s ability to recognise the ‘absurdity’ of some of Plato’s ideas about music that helps the piece to work and keeps it from wobbly piety. Filmmaker Ingibjörg Birgisdottír was apparently given a free hand to make her video for The Unexcelled Mantra. It certainly looks that way. To be avoided, if at all possible.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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