A majestic, timeless sound adorns the classical style of Rebecca Shorstein & Alden Gatt’s contemplative “Shir Hashirim.” The arrangements keep things to the absolute essentials – vocals and a piano. Yet, with such care, they can express so much with those two elements. Melodies have an inherent richness washing over the listener. Despite the simplicity of the approach, they manage to explore tempo, rhythm, timbre, and a slew of other items, delicately balancing them on a dime with ease. Her powerful voice takes on a commanding ethos.
“Chapter 1” opens the album on a high note, setting the tone for what follows. Her impeccable strength runs through it as she runs the gamut from soft to bold. Clusters of chords give “Chapter 2” this sense of life, where the rhythm has a pastoral bliss behind it, propelling the sound forward in glorious sunshine. Going for a call-and-response approach is the chamber classical splendor of “Chapter 3”. Impressionist piano emerges in the soothing cyclical style of “Chapter 4,” which takes a nod from Chopin’s overture. Like a sound constantly coming closer and closer is the sweet tenderness of “Chapter 5.” Much more reflective is the mellow “Chapter 6,” where the sustained vocals and decay of the piano add to its emotional heft. The slow and steady “Chapter 7” has a steely-eyed stare. Tying all that came before it together is the elegance of “Chapter 8.”
“Shir Hashirim” delivers the power of Rebecca Shorstein & Alden Gatt as they capture an entire history within a single album.