AUGUSTA READ THOMAS (b.1964): Avian Capriccio for Brass Quintet, Plea for Peace for Soprano and String Quartet, Ripple Effects for Carillon 4 Hands, The Auditions - Ballet for Chamber Orchestra, 2 Thoughts about the Piano for Piano, Selene for Winds and Percussion Quartet, Your Kiss for Soprano and Piano.

Catalogue Number: 05V066

Label: Nimbus

Reference: NI6402

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: These varied works exude the light, airy rhythmic vitality, frequently with jazzy allusions, and the scintillating, luminous colors that are recurring trademarks of Thomas' music. Avian Capriccio begins with the darting, too fast to follow hocketing of Hummingbirds; then the slow, elegant gliding of swans; and finally, noisy, chattering, syncopated canaries. The Auditions is a ballet score that suggests a kind of metaphysical meaning for dance. The work is in 7 sections, with the auditions of the title being the even-numbered, action-packed sections, and the odd-numbered ones (all titled 'The Landscape') acting as slower, more otherworldly frames. As the dancers display their skills in the lively, restlessly syncopated auditions, they graduate to populating the static, glowing landscape. Selene is also balletic, with a sense of continuous forward motion; there is the feeling of close-up and far-away perspectives, with serene episodes suggesting the calm of the moon in the night sky, while the rhythmic energy reminds us that the moon's chariot is actually covering vast distances at breakneck speed. The original was for percussion and string quartet; this transcription for percussion and winds re-draws the images is high contrast shadows and hard-edged pale light, while preserving the harmonic richness of the string version. Ripple Effects rings the changes in every sense; for carillons and multiple players (two here; four hands, four feet) the piece is an ecstatic peal of jubilant bells, like the joyous cacophony of all the church bells in the city welcoming the day that can be heard in various European towns. Plea for Peace is a gentle, almost immobile vocalise, wordlessly supplicatory and innocently prayerful, while Your Kiss sets a typically enigmatic love poem by e.e.cummings with restrained passion, and Two Thoughts channels. Elliott Carter in title and texture, without quotation. Various performers incl. ICE Ensemble; Vimbayi Kaziboni (The Auditions).


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