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Camille Thomas 'Voice of Hope' pays tribute to people's ability to triumph over adversity, create harmony in place of chaos, and overcome hatred with love / theWholeNote

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There's a very clear message in the programing of Voice of Hope, the new CD from the Franco-Belgian cellist Camille Thomas with the Brussels Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon 00028948385645 camillethomas.com/VoiceOfHope.php). Building a selection of songs, prayers and laments around the world premiere recording of the Cello Concerto "Never Give Up" Op.73 by the Turkish composer Fazil Say, it pays tribute "to people's ability to triumph over adversity, create harmony in place of chaos, and overcome hatred with love."

Say's three-movement concerto, a vivid, emotional and quite unsettling but extremely effective response to terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Paris, was written for and premiered by Thomas. It is performed here on the 1730 Stradivarius cello once owned by Emanuel Feuermann, with the orchestra's music director Stéphane Denève as conductor. The remaining tracks are conducted by Mathieu Herzog, who also made several of the numerous arrangements, only Bruch's Kol Nidrei appearing in its original form.

Also included are Ravel's Kaddisch, Dvořák's Songs My Mother Taught Me, John Williams' Theme from Schindler's List, Wagner's Träume from the Wesendonck-Lieder, Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirits and well-known arias from the operas Dido and Aeneas, L'elisir d'amore, Norma, Werther, Don Giovanni and Nabucco. 

Thomas says that she "wanted to choose works that represented this idea that beauty will save the world, quite simply." Quite simply, there's certainly beauty in her playing.