PHILIP GRANGE (b.1956): Cimmerian Nocturne, Lament of the Bow, Variations.
Catalogue Number: 04J120
Reference: MSV CD92083
Description: Two of these works were written for Grange's former professor Peter Maxwell Davies' "Fires of London" and all three share the instrumentation of that ensemble. Literary inspirations are important to Grange; the Nocturne reflects the sinister atmosphere and violence of Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'. From an obsessive, repeated opening gesture the work accumulates tension and motion, leading to a percussion-driven climax, before subsiding. Lament takes the Biblical lament of King David for Jonathan as the starting point for a meditation of grief; the work is essentially anguished and unsettled in mood, with a questioning, discursive quality. The tripartite Variations borrows the idea of three interwoven stories which develop independently and combine, from William Golding's 'Darkness Visible' (though not programmatically related to it). Three cycles of variations overlap throughout the three movements, forming a work in which continuity, rather than immediate contrast, is the predominantly audible feature. The use of untuned percussion as a thematic element and the assembly of the thematic material from, or its disintegration into, its component parts as the piece progresses adds to the sense of a continuous tableau rather than discrete variations on a single theme in the traditional sense. Gemini; Ian Mitchell.