POUL RUDERS (b.1949): Four Dances in One Movement, Nightshade, Abysm.

Catalogue Number: 12L094

Label: Dacapo

Reference: 8.226028

Format: CD

Price: $15.98

Description: Ruders' ability to conjure powerfully evocative musical structures with large forces is well known; this disc demonstrates similarly vivid tone-painting with smaller forces. The sinister Nightshade (taking its inspiration from the poisonous Belladonna plant) is a study in dense shadows and sepulchral, nocturnal terrors; truly unnerving in under ten minutes of unrelieved tension. Similar concentration of resources is apparent in the Dances which progress from the most hesitant opening via a calm waltz-based episode to jagged excitement and a final orgiastic climax. The outer movements of Abysm, suggested by texts from Shakespeare and William Blake respectively, share with Nightshade a sinister, threatening atmosphere, here heightened by the unearthly, astonishingly imagined, expanded timbres of multiphonic and harmonic effects, often suggesting far larger instrumental resources than are actually present. The tiny central movement presents a complete contrast; solo piano and wood blocks evoke a harsh over-lit desert environment and (possibly rather hostile) bird life. Ruders' eclectic vocabulary makes ample use of tonal elements among the more extreme coloristic timbral effects which combine to define his unique sound world. Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Oliver Knussen.

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