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Poetry and music have often been described as "beautiful sisters" in the European tradition, and American composer Benjamin C. S. Boyle sets out to prove just how harmonious this kinship can be. Owing to pianist and art song expert Laura Ward as well as to a selection of top-class singers, these elaborate yet easily accessible vocal compositions are resplendently brought to life on SPIRITS OF BONDAGE. The lyrics underpinning this double album are often fantastical, but Boyle prudently renounces any notion of musical pomp and instead sets them in an agreeably-reduced, crystal-clear tonal language. Ward and her high-carat assortment of vocalists empathetically, wisely oblige and perform them likewise - and the result is magnificent.