It’s always a real pleasure to discover a composer whose work
is new to you, whose work speaks to the senses and is packed
with real emotion.
Shredding Glass is Ms Worthington’s response
to the atrocity of 9/11, but it’s not a wild, violent, “Somebody
must pay” kind of piece; it’s about the mind-numbing unbelievability
of the situation. It’s when you stand open-mouthed, wide-eyed,
and speechless trying to take in what has happened.
This music is in a world of its own. It has an original voice
and is quite specific in what it has to say. Certainly there’s
much tragedy in the music, but Ms Worthington is no spectator
here, she is consumed with what has happened. The affront is
personal and she obviously felt the need to share her feelings.
Using a relatively small orchestra – no trumpets, and the most
subtle percussion – she allows us to be part of the outrage,
but not in any tub-thumping way, more in an intellectual and
intelligent way than merely hang ’em high rhetoric. Worthington
understands exactly how to convey painstaking agony without
ever lapsing into cliché or being maudlin.
This is a very beautiful work, which weaves intricate patterns
of sound in an hallucinogenic haze. It’s beautifully orchestrated,
the material is well handled and it creates a dreamscape of
exquisite allure. There are no heroes here, just we impotent
Shredding Glass makes for a superb disk, and one not
to be missed. Well worth investigating.
Not everything is cosy and nice in the nocturne Yet
Still Night. There’s a very disturbing undercurrent
to this music. Like the Swedish composer Allan Pettersson, Worthington
has achingly difficult things to say to us, and her use of chromaticism,
especially downward chromatic movement, to convey anguish, is
very effective. Yet Still Night starts as a kind of starry
night, the wrong notes in both harmony and melody only serving
to show that there are clouds on the horizon. It’s a child’s
vision, tempered by a child’s knowledge of the Bogeyman. There’s
a monstrous clock in the middle, somehow eating away at time
In its short playing time, Yet Still Night manages to
covey a lifetime of horrors, doubts perhaps, and when it stops
– it doesn’t end, it simply stops – we’re left none the wiser.
Disquiet is obviously Worthington’s aim, and she succeeds superbly.
This is a marvellous piece, with subtle orchestration and a
bold wash of melody and harmony. I am excited by it, and I hope
you will investigate it because, as they say, it’s well worth
it. The sound is brilliantly clear and precise.