Circles, here performed
by its dedicatee, covers truly virtuosic territory. Evelyn
Glennie has an entire arsenal massed for her performance
and uses it all. The orchestra is, for the quieter sections
of the piece, divided into two concertino groups, one of
strings and harp with percussion, the other of woodwinds. The
overarching impression of this recording — and to me the
mark of a greatly successful one — is that this piece must
be incredibly interesting and exciting to experience live. Without
the benefit of a score it is difficult to see the extent
of Glennie’s achievement here, which is great, transferring
effortlessly from instrument to instrument over the half
hour duration. For those not used to hearing percussion
concertos — there aren’t many out there — this could be
a hard sell, but one soon warms to the musicality of hitting
things, and, in this recording, the fantastic artistry
of Evelyn Glennie.
Mandala begins with a melodic line that seems
almost pulled note-for-note from early church music. Performed on the trombone, the
orchestral ensemble picks it up; the drone of the first notes
held by the lower strings. Brouwer indicates in her notes
that this music moved in interwoven circles that spiraled
inwards and in truth this piece is not at all extrovert. It
is an introspective, immanent piece, from its meditative
opening statement to the final measures of its second movement.
The outburst toward the end reminds one, for those who have
heard him, of Giya Kancheli’s disturbingly primal symphonies,
filled with percussion and alarm.
is the use of the brass, which immediately calls up the ancient
instruments of many worlds, especially central Asia. Percussion
imitates falling water. The woodwinds become the restless
winds that blow the intricate sand mandala away. Not apparent
in this recording is the indication in the score that the
brass be situated in the auditorium so that, in spiraling,
the music spirals also around the audience. This is yet another
Brouwer piece that will simply need to be heard live. The
recording here is stellar, but on conventional disc, this
remains only an approximation of the live experience.
Pulse consists of multiple metrical parts all
tied to one overarching beat. A piece that has a constant itch to move. Earnestly
played by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the ending, either
through score or by performance, seems somehow unconvincing.
Remembrances of 1996 begins as an elegy, then
starts again as the opening music to a film — the intent to this piece is the portrayal
of a life and it does this ably — the opening sense of loss,
then the recollection of what one once was, and then, on
the basis of the life that was lived, a great sense of hope.
SIZZLE, on the heels of my review of Moravec’s Time Gallery,
is a piece that concerns itself with time, specifically clocks:
the focus on business, while still holding a sense of longing
for something less fleeting.
recorded, very well performed, I side with the other reviewers
of this disc in recommending it highly.
see also reviews by Glyn
Pursglove and Herbert Culot