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KEELING Hidden Streams& Meditatio; HUGHES The story teller & Chroma; REEMAN Symphony for strings   Opus 20, directed by Scott Stroman   Discipline Global Mobile DGM9908 [60 mins.]

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This is a fine collection of contemporary British music which should frighten no one. Andrew Keeling's Hidden Streams for string ensemble is discussed in S&H's review of Opus 20's bmic concert (November 4th). His Meditatio was inspired by a lexicon of alchemy, a conversation with someone hidden, represented by a dialogue between viola and ensemble, the composer's acute aural imagination displayed in the unique combination of solo viola, cimbalom (John Leach) and harp (Hugh Webb) with the string ensemble. John Reeman's Symphony is wholly abstract, a fine, vigorous and well wrought contribution to the genre.

Edward Dudley Hughes is an intriguing composer, his music accessible but original, well spiced with dissonance and glissandi. The Storyteller is in two parts, the first tense and melancholy, the second a response to a description of a fire during a storm. (Try also Orchid 777, devoted entirely to music by E. W. Hughes, Cambridge New Music Players, etc.)

This is an exemplary production on an independent label new to me. Recording (mostly at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where Scott Stroman teaches) is excellently clear and bright, notes are legibly black on white, informative and comprehensive (save for shyness about the composers' ages). The packaging, which dispenses with jewel case and separate booklet, is attractive and efficient. Discipline leaves copyright on its recordings with the artists, and inveighs against the 'common practice' of other record companies in that respect, which they believe is indefensible. All extremely interesting, and at mid-price a strong purchasing recommendation.


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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