GLORIA COATES (b.1938): Holographic Universe for Violin and Orchestra (Peter Sheppard Skaerved [violin], Cambridge University Orchestra; Neil Thomson), Where the Eagle Flies for Piano (Alessandro Taverna), Among the Asteroids for String Quartet (Kreutzer Quartet), Lunar Loops for 2 Synthsized Guitars (Ruth Fischer, Stephen Stiens), The Silver Eyed Soul for Double Bass and Piano (Christine Hoock [double bass], Taverna [piano]).
Catalogue Number: 04O070
Reference: TZ 8096
Description: Coates' idiom is an interesting amalgam of fairly conventional harmony, with a modal flavor, and the added density of texture and sonority afforded by the over-layering of microtonal clusters and gliding clusters. This largely describes what is to be heard in the orchestral part of Holographic Universe (1975), which is often reminiscent of the sonorist experiments of Penderecki or Ligeti in the 1960s; sonically impressive floes of sound, with the solo violin contributing what sounds like an interpretation of shamanistic ritual chanting in the first and third movements. The piano work builds up massed sonorities through the sympathetic resonances of overtones of single notes, scale patterns or chords, with pedal effects and clusters adding density to the texture. Among the Asteroids - the earliest and most 'experimental' work here, from 1962 - is a viny tangle of sliding tones, with scarcely a stable note to be heard, while Lunar Loops retunes the strings of two guitars while they play propulsive repeated figures, producing a strange and oddly attractive variant of minimalism. The Silver Eyed Soul (2008) returns to the sonorism of the orchestral work, with both instruments producing their densest, richest colors by both conventional and extended means, from which lamenting melodies and chord sequences emerge sporadically before being reabsorbed into the darkness of the void.