Mr Darwin's Dances [24.30]
Precious Legacy suite [30.27]
various artists including
ATOLL ACD200 [54.57]
|Mr. Darwin's Dances
Up the Coast
Sail 'till the Seas run Dry
|Precious Legacy Suite
Jonathan Besser describes his work as a personal geography of the imagination.
The first suite was composed after reading Australian author Roger McDonald's
novel Mr. Darwin's Shooter.
The prelude, as you would expect, sets the tone for the piece, well-ordered
and very musical. Up the Creek has some very fine Clarinet playing from Bridget
Miles, she has an excellent tone on the instrument and a very even sound
over all of the registers.
The music is very descriptive, Church has a calm about it and Fiddle a slightly
Greek feel in both melody and rhythm. Sail till the seas has a vocal from
Warwick Broadhead, obviously selected more for his ability to create a 'sea
shanty' atmosphere than for the quality of his voice, but it is effective
for all that!
Becalmed starts with some more excellent clarinet from Bridget Mills. This
time, the equally fine sounding cello playing of Ann Rodda and the deft violin
work of Miranda Adams pick up the melody. The music fits the titles very
well and I enjoyed listening to this work.
The second work Precious Legacy was scored by JB after seeing a Jewish Exhibition
from Prague. The exhibition recorded the holocaust; the music followed the
visit. This is again descriptive, but this second suite is much more complex
than the former.
It starts with two slow movements which are followed by March, I must confess
that to me, this section would have been improved if the end had been a bit
nearer the beginning. Middle East however is one of the best tracks with
the rhythm section performing it's proper role, as it takes up the 2/4 rhythm
of the piece. The leader has to be congratulated for the way he prompts the
ensemble from the keyboard to play his pieces, as he wants them. The Jewish
theme of the second work could have given an opportunity for some klezmer,
musicians of this calibre I am sure would have been able to improvise and
this would have added another dimension.
The musicianship, the recording quality and the overall feeling of the music
is very good indeed and I hope to have the pleasure of hearing more of Jonathan
Besser and his ensemble. I preferred the more simplistic Mr Darwin but others
may equally prefer the second piece.
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