JOHN PICKARD (b.1963): Channel Firing, The Flight of Icarus, The Spindle of Necessity for Trombone, Percussion and Strings.
Catalogue Number: 03J097
Description: The Flight of Icarus is based on the Greek myth, but the composer's personal inspiration was his reflection on humankind's recent achievement of space flight, with its attendant triumphs, risks and tragedies. The piece begins in a mood of optimistic drama, sustains a powerful momentum through the central section, then suddenly falters and falls. The final section is an elegiac memorial for the fallen hero. Spindle alludes to a cosmological allegory of the afterlife, from Plato. T he solo trombone represents the protagonist of the story; the contrasting sections, some vividly depicted using strange and memorable instrumental effects, depict the soul's journey through the underworld and emergence into the cosmos. Like Icarus the music is colorful and dramatic, similarly based in an extended but secure tonal language. Channel Firing refers to a poem by Hardy, describing a scene in which pre-WWI gunnery practice literally wakes the dead. The piece is an extended, solemn funeral march, violently interrupted before subsiding once again to a resumption of the opening mood. In all three works the composer's sure sense of architectural form and originality of expression within an extended yet wholly recognizable tonal vocabulary are at the very highest level. There aren't many composers in their middle years producing epic orchestral canvases as impressive, vivid and bold as this; highly recommended. Christian Lindberg (trombone), Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins.