JULIAN ANDERSON (b.1967): Ring Dance, The Bearded Lady, The Colour of Pomegranates, Prayer, Poetry Nearing Silence, Another Prayer, Van Gogh Blue.

Catalogue Number: 11V067

Label: NMC

Reference: D256

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Anderson’s music can be relied upon to be colorful, stimulating, accessible (based on tonal harmony, if less so on tonal processes), and unpredictable, and so it is with these diverse and divergent ensemble pieces and solos. The work that gives the CD its title is a movement of the suite based on The Heart of a Humument, a piece of partly controlled cut-up art by Tom Phillips. Random, evocative phrases are illustrated in music by vivid little vignettes, ambiguous but full of color and detail, some still and richly atmospheric, others jittery and propulsive. Van Gogh Blue, also written for the Nash Ensemble, is a tribute to that most color-conscious of painters in the form of a dawn-to-night cycle evocative of his teeming creative imagination and impulses as revealed in his letters to his brother as well as his work. Sonorous discords and wild energy alternate with the lament of depression. These characteristics are present in the two versions of Prayer (the recomposition for violin incorporating quarter tones); Anderson points out that in the Jewish tradition, prayers can be as active and dynamic, even protesting as they are calm and supplicatory. The early Ring Dance is pure resonant sonority, later a color on Anderson’s palette (as in Van Gogh Blue), here an end in itself; a dance in extreme slow motion, with overtones, sum and difference tones and bowing pressure creating a dense, textured progression. Nash Ensemble; Martyn Brabbins.


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