MICHAEL STIMPSON (b.1947): The Man Who Walked with Henslow for Violin and Piano, An Entangled Bank for String Orchestra, String Quartet No. 2 “The Beagle”, Transmutations for Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 10T009
Label: Stone Records
Description: This work in four sections, each for bigger forces than the previous one, was written for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. From Darwin’s long walks discussing science with a professor at Cambridge through to the publication of “The Origin of Species”, Stimpson represents important events in Darwin’s life, material which opens the violin-and-piano piece evolving throughout and, at the end of the last movement of Transmutations, returning to its original shape. The music is tonal, often suggesting English music of the 19th century and Stimpson even uses motifs taken from recordings of Darwin’s finches for the Galapagos part of the string quartet. The composer goes into a bit of depth about his compositional structure and elements in his booklet note. The music takes up 81 minutes; the rest of the second CD contains various readings of Darwin-related material by six different speakers, including Robert Tear. 2 CDs. Maya Iwabuchi, Fiona Cornall (violins), Nicholas Bootiman (viola), Karen Stephenson (cello), Tom Poster (piano), Philharmonia Orchestra; Stuart Stratford.