Tolga KASHIF (b. 1962)
The Genesis Suite (2010) [72:58]
Freddy Kempf (piano); Tomo Keller (violin); Caroline Dale (cello)
London Symphony Orchestra/Tolga Kashif
rec. July 2010, Abbey Road Studio 1, London. DDD

A necessary admission; I was at school with Tolga Kashif and heard him play the piano a number of times, when he managed to still several hundred very naturally rowdy boys through his playing. The school wasn’t noted for musical talent - so he stood out. That said, he undoubtedly wouldn’t remember me, so I can press on in a spirit of objectivity.
Rob Barnett has already reviewed The Genesis Suite and also The Queen Symphony (see review), which I’ve also heard and enjoyed. I shan’t reprise his comments, except to note that my thunder has been well and truly stolen, so this may be thought to be the ‘last knockings’ review.
Yes, I too sense a Carmina Burana influence in the opening movement of this ingenious suite, and a hint of Enya as well. The writing here is filmic - hints even of The Terminator music of Lord of the Rings - with its soaring chorus and percussion-proud passages. I agree as well regarding The Piano where one feels a kinship between Nyman and Kashif - it’s the treble runs, perhaps, that do it, adroitly negotiated by Freddy Kempf. Kashif ensures that things aren’t too mawkish however. Some of the orchestration sounds a touch French, especially the wind writing, though there are distinctly Rachmaninovian moments - try from 6:55 in this second movement. The third movement of this seven movement suite is called Mad Man Moon, a ‘fantasia concertante’ for solo violin, played by the LSO’s leader, Tomo Keller. This is a soaring and passionately high piece, richly textured and lovely to hear. Follow You Follow Me is - to me at any rate, but I have to admit I’m no follower of the group - one of the best known of the band’s songs. Kashif turns it into a slow love song for violin, and cello (Caroline Dale, always fine) that reaches the effulgence of a show tune. Some cadences in the fifth movement, Fading Light, put me in mind of Georges Delerue (that French input again). There’s a fiesta feel at the mid point of the finale though things slowly dissolve into a kind of raptness and end in quietude.
Strongly engaging music-making here. Kashif has taken the music of Genesis as a point of departure for his own richly textured writing and has again avoided all the tired clichés of Rock Classics and the like. One final thought; don’t order this online late at night and/or after a few drinks. You might end up ordering The Genesis Suite (1945) with contributions from Shilkret, Tansman, Milhaud, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Toch, and Stravinsky. Now that really would confuse you.
Jonathan Woolf  

Strongly engaging music-making. 

see also review by Rob Barnett