Thea MUSGRAVE Voices from the Ancient World.
Gordon McPHERSON Three Minute Philosophy.
Edward McGUIRE Celtic Knotwork.
Django BATES Bird Tableau.
Scottish Flute Trio (Laura
Baillie, Janet Larsson, Ruth Morley, flutes) with Tim Williams
Metier MSV CD92041
With programming skills revealing a searching imagination and technique to
match, the Scottish Flute Trio deserves every success. If the idea of
three-quarters of an hour of flute music for flute ensemble seems anathema
to you, I do urge you to at least try to hear this fascinating selection
of contemporary music.
Each of the six movements of Thea Musgrave's Voices from the Ancient World
presents an invocation of a different mythical figure. Eos, Goddess of
the Dawn, is portrayed mainly by scalic motion, whereas wind chimes help
to conjure up the gentle world of Pan. Flutes are, of course, eminently suited
to depicting Boreas (God of the North Wind): the rhythmic contributions from
Tim Williams help to offset and emphasise the various cross rhythms here.
Selene, the Moon-Goddess is treated to appropriately glassy textures. Musgrave's
imagination throughout is unfailing, and the Scottish Flute Trio rise to
Gordon McPherson is currently Composer in Residence at the Royal Scottish
Academy of Music and Drama. His Three Minute Philosophy (which
paradoxically lasts for nearly a quarter of an hour) has the flutes playing
mainly as a unit, with added percussion. It has a hypnotic quality that makes
sideways reference to minimalism without ever drawing on it directly.
Edward McGuire's Celtic Knotwork operates on an entirely different
time-scale, moving slowly from unison to elaborate polyphony and back again.
The opening is tremendously restful and its sense if inevitability is most
convincing. Finally, Django Bates' Bird Tableau (whose initial title
was to be Feasibility Studies) has the fascinating starting point
of trying to lure birds back to the urban jungle of London by describing
a day in the life of a group of birds in music. Almost inevitably, there
is a reference also to Charlie 'Bird' Parker in the course of things.
This is not a specialist disc for flautists: rather, it is a delightful,
multi-faceted outing into some of the side-roads of contemporary music. Why
not take a trip?