KATE WHITLEY (b.1989): Viola Concerto (Shiry Rashkovsky [viola], The Multi-Story Orchestra; Christopher Stark), 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano (Eloisa-Fleur Thom [violin], Kate Whitley [piano]), 5 Piano Pieces (Rolf Hind), Duo for Violin and Viola (Thom [violin], Asher Zaccardelli [viola]), I am I say (Choirs from Kender, Lyndhurst and John Donne Primary Schools, Ashley Riches [bass], Sarah-Jane Lewis [soprano], Multi-Story Orchestra; Stark).

Catalogue Number: 04S080

Label: NMC

Reference: D229

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Kate Whitley is one of the latest generation of British composers rising to prominence with their own, distinctive world view. Socially engaged, with a refreshing lack of ivory tower aloofness, Whitley has become known for her work in bringing music to unorthodox venues (semi-outdoor concerts in a parking garage, for instance) to attract an audience many of whom would not normally set foot in a concert hall; writing for amateurs and children without condescension or didactic intent; writing works concerned with issues of our time - the poems of I am I say deal with environmental concerns, and she set Malala Youzafzai's speech to the UN for International Women's day this year. The Viola Concerto was a remarkably accomplished student work, full of event and energy, tonal and broadly neo-romantically expressive, but tough and sinewy, distinctly urban rather than pastoral. The Three Pieces resulted from the composer performing Janáček's Violin Sonata, and the music has a similar terse tension, and a structure made up of short sections. The tiny Piano Pieces are of different character, the composer exploring her instrument's capabilities in little motifs that repeat insistently (but not in a minimalistic sense). The Duo was a dance piece inspired by Gaudier Brzeska's "Wrestlers", and the piece is balletic, poised, full of pent-up energy. I am I say is extremely approachable and tonal, with hints of John Adams in its restless activity.

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