Luke Anthony’s name was new to me. He continues to study
jazz and classical music in parallel. Composition studies were
conducted at Royal Holloway College, at University of London
with John Woolrich and Peter Wiegold and in Milan with Anne-Marie
Turcotte. His work has been performed at the Queen Elizabeth
Hall, the Royal Opera House, the South Bank Centre, Green Man,
Lattitude and Edinburgh festivals. He has recently completed Montuno
a piece for Piano Circus (6 Pianos). Anthony is Composer-in-Residence
at Ibstock Place School, Roehampton.
The three movements of this ever so lightly jazzy Saxophone
are sub-titled Battle
The first of these begins Middle Eastern and mysterious then
jaunty and moves into steely mordant conflict. Minimalist euphoric
surging ostinato cells, wavelets and rhapsodising are in evidence. Death
the slow bloom of the Mahler Adagietto
. Its unhurried
breathing provides a humane and later chromium gleaming pulse
over which the saxophone idyllically soliloquises. It rises to
a keeningly poignant climaxing for the saxophone. It’s
just wonderful. The final Resurrection
reminded me of
the more lively Greek Dances
by Skalkottas. Some of this
writing is rather akin to Nyman’s Where the Bee Dances
the work championed with such triumph by John Harle. Don’t
miss it Classic FM. The 25-strong orchestra is real: not sampled;
for piano, drum-kit and breathy saxophone
is emotionally cool and laid-back - radiating a sort of contented
melancholy. Miss Julie
for the same forces is from
the music Anthony wrote for a production of the Strindberg play.
It is urgent and capriciously freewheeling. Get Carter
Anthony’s tribute to the long-lived American composer Elliott
Carter. As perhaps expected it steps away from the jazzy accessibility
of the other tracks and makes free with a higher acid content
in the harmonic collisions. There’s feral verve about the
more animated writing. Waltz
is cool, affectionate
and lyrical with the suggestion of moistening eyes. The piano
line bustles intermittently with Swingles-style Bach. The final
track is another take on Far Away -
on which to leave an intelligently smiling music collection.
The jazziness in the piano playing implies emphatic confidence.
This sometimes veers into commercialism but this is redeemed
by the feminine rhapsodising of the saxophone.
There are no background notes with the CD which is a pity although
there is some information at Anthony at his website
The clean design of the cover and insert is admirable.
Luke Anthony is one of a host of composers - including, each
in their different ways, Lionel Sainsbury and Graham Lynch) who
are announcing their presence outside the conventional label
scene. It’s a multitudinous trend so we will miss some
but I am glad to have encountered Anthony’s music and want
to hear more. His current projects include a Requiem Mass, an
album of piano music and a new folk/rock album. That Requiem
should be promising.