BRETT DEAN (b.1961): Pastoral Symphony, The Siduri Dances for Flute and String Orchestra, Water Music for Saxophone Quartet and Chamber Orchestra, Carlo for Strings, Sampler and Tape.
Catalogue Number: 09L103
Description: Three of the pieces here use sampling synthesizers and/or recorded sounds; two of them address environmental concerns, and two feature Dean's extensive expertise in writing for strings. Pastoral Symphony starts with recorded birdsong, replaced by increasingly mechanical noises as the work progresses; the musical idiom varies widely, though enough of it is based in tonality to render the piece thoroughly accessible. Siduri sets an agitated and lively solo flute against a rustling, sonorous accompaniment of strings. Water Music is in three movements; the bleak and mysterious last movement is concerned with the absence of water (as in drought, and its consequences). Rushing, bubbling sounds (some of them produced by actual water being poured, bubbled through, etc. on stage) depict the motion of water; the saxophone quartet, used as a 'super-soloist', employ a variety of extended techniques to enrich the timbral palette. Carlo, the earliest work here (from 1997) concerns Gesualdo, and provides tension by contrasting 'pure' Gesualdo (in the form of extracts from his madrigal Moro lasso) with sampled, transformed Gesualdo, and Dean's own subtle, pointillistic string writing, which further disrupts the material of the original. Sharon Bezaly (flute), Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Swedish Chamber Orchestra; HK Gruber, Brett Dean.