CHERYL FRANCES-HOAD (b.1980): Katharsis for Cello and Ensemble (David Cohen [cello]), Quark Dances, A Refusal to Mourn for Oboe and Orchestra (Nicholas Daniel [oboe], Rambert Orchestra; Paul Hoskins), The Forgiveness Machine (Phoenix Piano Trio), Homages (Ivana Gavrić [piano]).
Catalogue Number: 07T077
Label: Champs Hill
Description: Frances-Hoad is a composer of considerable versatility and originality, and ready accessibility despite the diversity of her influences and styles. All her works have a strong tonal foundation, built on deliberate homages to other composers and styles of music. This is naturally most evident here in the piano pieces actually called Homages, which appropriate specific aspects of pieces by Janáček, Mendelssohn, Bartók, Schubert and others in seven delicious bagatelle-character pieces, very emblematic of the composer's æsthetic as a whole. The Quark Dances were written for dance (see also 06S090 from last month), ingeniously exploring the anthropomorphic characters assigned to the subatomic particles (after one of Joyce's elaborate rhyming games in 'Finnegan's Wake'). The six movements of the cello concerto Katharsis resemble a Baroque suite, but the music, with its intriguing Britten references, is imbued throughout with a neo-romantic impassioned intensity. This is also true of the early A Refusal to Mourn, alternately elegiac and sardonic, a miniature oboe concerto in all but name; here the source material is drawn from Lutheran chorales. Forgiveness Machine, after an art installation by the devastated widow of David Foster Wallace and based on material by Beethoven, explores 'catharsis' more explicitly than the cello concerto; the piece begins in elegiac solemnity, but rises to an emotionally wrenching climax.