Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


REVIEW


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


Availability
CD: Priory Records


Graham LYNCH (b.1957)
Undiscovered Islands
White Book 1 (piano) (2001) [19:04]
Mediterranean (flute and piano) (2007/8) [9:00]
Petenera (piano) (2005) [9:57]
Moon Cycle (solo flute) (2002/6) [4:31]
White Book 2 (piano) (2007/8) [20:51]
Three Tangos (flute and piano) (2003/7) [14:42]
Mark Tanner (piano); Gillian Poznansky (flute)
rec. 6-7 October 2008, St George’s Brandon Hill, Bristol
PRIORY PRCD1024 [78:33]
Experience Classicsonline


This CD made an immediate appeal to me. I listened to the entire album twice, although even on the first hearing I felt comfortable with most of the works presented. The reason, I guess is that the music passes the two fundamental tests: is the music original and is there an obvious trajectory of tradition that enables the listener to relate the pieces to something that is already familiar? The answers to both these questions is ‘yes’.

The first thing to be said on the originality aspect is that this music is both demanding and interesting. The stylistic parameters lead to a sense of variety that is well under control. Lynch’s music is not like, say, Einaudi, whose every piece seems to sound the same. Before I had a chat with the composer, I had decided that there were certain influences (conscious or apparent) at work in Lynch’s music - these included Debussy, Messiaen and for my money Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. Perhaps there were even hints of Fred Delius. However the composer told me that the Japanese composer Takemitusu and the Latin-American Astor Piazzolla also had an important contribution to his music. But as I have often said, listening to music is not about ‘hunt the composer’, unless the composer we are considering has been unable to develop and synthesise their own style.

I hope that readers will not think me unsophisticated if I suggest that they begin their exploration of this CD with the Three Tangos. These were written over a four year period and certainly nod to Piazzolla. The first, The Stolen Branch is sultry and suggests a hot day in Malaga. Milonga Azure is also lugubrious: it has been arranged for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. The final Tango, Pajaros del Mar or Seabirds, is a little livelier at first, but concludes in a reflective mood. All three dances are attractively scored for flute and piano.

After these Tangos, have a break. Then I suggest listening to Mediterranean which is also written for flute and piano. This piece “alludes to the composer’s increasing interest in Mediterranean music ... including flamenco, fado and the many animated, vivacious sounds of North Africa.” However this piece is not a compendium of folk dances, nor is it an impressionistic work. It is greater than the sum of its influences. At any rate it is more impressive and certainly more musical than the bit of ‘fado’ singing I heard in Lisbon the other day!

I enjoyed Moon Cycle which is designed to convey “various aspects of the phases of the moon”. The piece is constructed in five short sections. It is a reflective piece that carries the listener’s imagination. In a short note Gillian Poznansky points out that the work uses various technical devices, including harmonics and portamento. However she concludes by emphasising that the work’s basis is a form of dialogue, describing the moon’s “cyclical and fantastical journey.”

Petenera is one of three major cycles of piano music presented on this disc. The programme notes point out that the Petenera is a flamenco ‘palo’ or form. Furthermore it is also a legend concerning a femme-fatale. The present piece is built around thoughts suggested by Federico Garcia Lorca’s poems entitled Graphic of Petenera. Although I have not read these poems they are declared to be “dark, erotic, strange and make frequent references to the guitar”. There are four movements: Bell, Dance, The Six Strings and finally De Profundis. Although there is the suggested Spanish background to this work, it is not Spanish in the sense of Albeniz’s exploration into the folk music of Andalusia. It is more a mood than a style, yet the Iberian peninsula is never too far away.

The main event on this CD is the two volumes entitled White Book 1 and White Book 2. Both are composed for the piano and represent both the earliest and the latest works on this CD. Lynch has written that “these works depict the contrasting facets of life, evoking cultures and places that are both real and imaginary. The pace and personality varies significantly here, from the shadowed, sombre and evocative, to the charismatic and vivid.” The titles of these pieces seem to cover a wide range of imagery and mood. For example the first book has pieces called Night Garden, The Emperor’s Field and Midsummer Reds. The second book considers Undiscovered Islands, a Night Journey to Cordoba and the Sadness of the King.

The programme notes give a lot of detailed discussion on these pieces, some of which is a little esoteric for my taste for example, “in a musical way to defy gravity”. However, the important points to recall are that the composer has written two cycles of pieces that are well balanced, enjoyable, effective and owing much to the Mediterranean sound-scape. Finally he has created a work that is akin to Debussy’s Preludes in their use of pictorial and literary imagery and general cohesion of thought and in a considerable diversity of style. In that sense they are a major achievement.

The presentation of the CD is excellent - with the exception of all lower case proper nouns on the cover, which grates. I was particularly impressed with the programme notes - but see note above. A good essay introduces the composer and his music. There follows a more detailed analysis of each piece along with further comments from the performers. The middle pages of the booklet have a collection of photographs that reflect the mood and subject matter of a number of the pieces.

The playing by both the pianist and the flautist sounds excellent and appears to be sympathetic to the mind of the composer, although I have nothing to compare it to, nor have I perused the scores. My only niggle is that there seems to be a little bit of a hard edge to some of the piano tone.

However, this is an impressive CD that is well within the tradition of British (or Western) music. All the works are approachable, but like all good music continues to reveal their secrets with repeated hearings. I look forward to hearing other works from Graham Lynch: he is currently writing a Concerto for bandoneón (accordion) and Strings and a commission for the percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Both works will be well worth the wait.

John France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.