BRYN HARRISON (b.1969): Piano Quintet, MARY BELLAMY (b.197?): beneath an ocean of air for Piano Quintet, MONTY ADKINS (b.1972): Still Juniper Snow for Fiddle, String Quartet and Electronics.
Catalogue Number: 12U064
Label: Huddersfield Contemporary Records
Description: This project is a product of the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) at the University of Huddersfield, a pivotal part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, one of the most important new and experimental music series in the UK. Harrison's 'experimentalism' lies in his extended explorations of memory and the perception of time, through endless spirals of repeated gestures in subtle, overlapping waves. Æstheticaly he has something in common with Feldman, in his music's avoidance of most features other than timeless meditation and rumination over what might be a mere transient gesture in more conventional music, but the music doesn't sound much like Feldman's, its insistent loops possessing a more beguiling, consonant and hypnotic quality. The hour-long Quintet sets short gestures made of chromatic scales in the piano in a mesh of curving lines formed of string glissandi. The effect is of watching an intricate mechanism performing not-quite-identically-repeated actions, while on a larger scale rotating very, very slowly so that the illumination under which it is viewed imperceptibly changes. Bellamy's work was inspired by James Turrell's installations which enable the viewing of framed patches of sky - hence the title. The work consists of little fluttering gestures, as transient as eddies and currents in the air and as unpredictable, produced through extended playing techniques. Equally immersive, but in a completely different way, are Adkins' fluid ambient soundscapes, based on transformed, often drastically slowed down, recordings of folk-inspired pieces for Hardanger fiddle and quartet, full of sympathetic resonances. These become the basis for layers of material superimposed, ebbing and flowing, shifting in and out of focus, evoking ancient landscapes and far-off times. 2 CDs. Quatuor Bozzini, Philip Thomas (piano), Sarah-Jane Summers (fiddle).