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Music for my Love - Volume 2
Ukrainian Festival Orchestra/Paul Mann
rec. 2018, Lviv Palace of the Arts, Lviv, Ukraine

Series of classical discs appear easy to launch but the company doing the launching may lack the funding stamina and loyalty for anything more than a first volume; not so here. Martin Anderson's living aural tribute to his partner Yodit Tekle, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2014, has proved itself a project with staying power. It started auspiciously (review ~ review) a couple of years ago, and without detracting from its ignition (which has brought into existence more than 100 compositions by living composers) has transcended its origins.

This second tranche made up of thirteen pieces from twelve composers with the scores running between 2:12 and 13:34 has ranged far and wide - including those recognised from single-composer discs issued by Toccata Classics to new visitants with both familiar (Bacri, Corp, Serebrier) and unfamiliar (Hautekiet, Whild, Hickey) names. No women, though - perhaps in future volumes.

Just a few listening impressions: Bacri's short Prélude declares itself in complexity of scoring and intensity of emotion. While freestanding it forms a scene-setter for his song-cycle Chants D'amour. Kinsella has had his symphonies brought out on Toccata and RTÉ Lyric FM. His Amhrán do Yodit has an exposed and extended solo violin line: as surreptitious as it is eloquent. Kinsella wrote his 11th symphony at the age of 84 in 2016. Richard Whild's quite lengthy 176 Reasons conjures the hypnotic movement of many interleaving curtains and conveys a sense of ascent. While it apparently owes something of its structure to doubling of tempo and diminishing of dynamic it does not feel mathematically contrived. David Matthews, the brother of Colin Matthews, has written nine symphonies, six concertos, fourteen string quartets and, remarkably, five symphonic poems. His A June Song presents a vulnerable face and a lark-like sound. This cannot be entirely down to an extended task for the solo violin. Amid the shock of the new let's not forget a superb Chandos CD of his orchestral music.
Wim Hautekiet's Alex's Waltz is a delicate and dignified dance. It's light on its toes and flies wings of graceful melody. Two pieces by Gregory Rose have a touch of Tippett and Hovhaness about them. Sean Hickey, Detroit-born and already endorsed by Delos, contributed Single Malt. After some highly hyperactive writing comes what amounts to a quiet requiem. Amid a silvery and spidery line for solo violin this score noticeably possesses some of the flavour of Arvo Pärt's Cantus. Ronald Corp is well known as a conductor who I recall from the very late 1970s conducting the Finchley Children's Music Group. His The Wings of Memory has wings indeed and chalks up almost locomotive speed. It concludes in hymnal style with a melody with no syrup about it. Philip Ramey is another composer previously supported by Toccata to the label's credit. His Symphonic Song includes material from his Piano Sonata No. 10. Gerard Schurmann's chamber music has been well treated by Toccata and looks set for further volumes. His Nefertiti is wistful but optimistic for the future of Alex, the couple's son. I did not know, until reading the CD notes, that 'Nefertiti' is a name meaning "The beauty has come". Robin Walker, another composer who has been stirred to write symphonic poems, wrote She Moved through the Fair - a long piece in this collection - which is an absorbing composition and remarkably imparts that sense of losing oneself in the dance. Another fine conductor concludes the anthology with Last Tango Before Sunrise. Serebrier is an underrated senior composer. This tango has a Hollywood accent and feels like a soul-brother to Bernard Herrmann's main theme from Marnie. It's more about a reflective facet of the tango than about the dance itself. It is a companion to Serebrier's Tango in Blue and Almost a Tango.

Paul Mann regularly clocks up air miles to record unfamiliar music with orchestras who are not exactly well-known; credit to him for his work on this series. I did not know, until recently, that Mann worked closely with rock group Deep Purple and was a friend of the group's keyboard player, Jon Lord.

Across the booklet’s 24 pages each of these composers is profiled in substance as are the orchestra, the conductor and recounts with touching candour Martin Anderson's life with his partner.

Rob Barnett
Contents list
Nicolas BACRI (b.1961) Prélude aux chants d'amour [2:57]
John KINSELLA (b.1932) Amhrán do Yodit [4:49]
Richard WHILDS (b.1966) 176 Reasons [9:12]
David MATTHEWS (b.1943) A June Song [4:43]
Wim HAUTEKIET Alex's Waltz [2:24]
Gregory ROSE (b.1948) Eritrean Sunset; Tigrinya Dance [9:28]
Sean HICKEY (b.1970) Single Malt [6:01]
Ronald CORP (b.1951) The Wings of Memory [4:45]
Philip RAMEY (b.1939) Symphonic Song [7:56]
Gerard SCHURMANN (b.1924) Nefertiti [2:14]
Robin WALKER (b.1953) She Moved through the Fair [13:34]
Jose SEREBRIER (b.1938) Last Tango Before Sunrise [3:22]


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