THEA MUSGRAVE (b.1928): Power Play for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Keyboard and String Trio, CHRISTOPHER MAYO (b.1980): Supermarine for Cello, Double Bass and 4 Samplers, CLAUDIA MOLITOR (b.1974): 2TwoLO for Clarinet, Horn, Trombone, Cello, Double Bass and Electronics, DAVID SAWER (b.1961): Coachman Chronos for Cor Anglais, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, cornet/flugelhorn, String Trio and Double Bass, GERALD BARRY (b.1952): The One-Armed Pianist for Wind Quintet, Trumpet and String Trio, BARRY GUY (b.1947): “Mr Babbage is Coming to Dinner” for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Percussion, String Quartet and Double Bass.

Catalogue Number: 11R075

Label: NMC

Reference: D215

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: An interesting concept; invite five contemporary composers to write music inspired by exhibits in London's famous Science Museum. The composers are very different, and the pieces could hardly be more so. The closest thing to a 'conventional' piece of music by far - and a very good one - is Musgrave's exploration of the machines in the museum's Energy Hall. The composer has clearly taken the historical progression of the mechanisms on display to heart, as the intricate, Stravinskyan devices follow a stylistic narrative from neo-baroque through a musical history of the Industrial Revolution. Mayo and Molitor, in pieces about aircraft designer R.J.Mitchell and early broadcasting respectively, employ sampled sounds - aircraft engines and quaint radio announcements - to accompany assemblages of fragmentary instrumental gestures. Sawer's energetic, rather tonal piece evokes early mechanically assisted travel - the mail coach - including an evocative Romantic posthorn. Barry's work uses minimal repeated material to illustrate an odd artificial limb, and Guy's graphic score is a kind of flow chart of composed and improvised material to evoke Charles Babbage's early 'calculating engines'. Aurora Orchestra; Nicholas Collon.


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