RICHARD CAUSTON (b.1971): Millenium Scenes (Hallé Orchestra; Nicholas Colton), Notturno, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, The Persistence of Memory, Chamber Symphony.
Catalogue Number: 05P091
Description: Millennium Scenes was composed as a response to the empty pomp and circumstance, and also the apocalyptic anxieties, that surrounded the advent of the year 2000. Despite the protesting mood, the strident whistles, aggressive fanfares, episodes of harsh dissonance and mechanistic percussion the piece is by no means especially modernistic, let alone aloof and unapproachable. The work is pervaded by a sense of sadness, and perhaps, warning, with moments of great sensitivity and gentle pathos among the angry outbursts. The substantial Chamber Symphony's first movement consists of haunting melodic episodes, simply and consonantly harmonized, confronted by increasingly menacing mechanical gestures and snarling brass; this opposition and the ascendance of the latter providing the potent sense of development and narrative progress of a conventional symphonic argument. A static, frozen episode separates this from the second part, an active, confrontational movement in metallic timbres, like an intricate mechanism spiralling out of control. Kingfishers draws inspiration from some lines of Gerard Manley Hopkins; Memory from Dali and a fever dream; of very different character, both are polyrhythmically complex and timbrally varied and inventive, while the three movements of the nocturne explore vividly imagined imagery of the night. Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Gerry Cornelius, Ryan Wigglesworth (Chamber Symphony).