MARTIN BUTLER (b.1960): Dirty Beasts for Narrator, Piano and Ensemble, Down-Hollow Winds for Ensemble, Lovesongs Waltzes for Clarinet and Piano, Rumba Machine for Piano, Fall for Flute and Piano, Preludes Inégales for Piano, Rondes d’Autome for Double Bass and Ensemble.

Catalogue Number: 06R074

Label: NMC

Reference: D212

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: A pleasing selection of Butler's elegant, accessible, clear-textured works for various ensembles. Dirty Beasts has become one of the composer's best known and most performed works (possibly somewhat to the composer's chagrin!). Its appealing harmonies and lively rhythms are quite typical of Butler, here serving as accompaniment for three of Roald Dahl's characteristically 'inappropriate' poems for children. Down-Hollow Winds borrows modalities from American folk music, but the pieces sound neo-classical, with suggestions of Stravinsky's 'Symphonies'. Rumba Machine is a jazzy piano toccata with a kind of post-minimalist propulsiveness, which also hovers in the background of the improvisational-sounding flowing or bustling Préludes. The large nonet Rondes d'automne (from which Fall derives its material and title) combines atmospheric impressionistic scene-painting with a distinct American-ness - early studies in the USA and American landscape and folk music are recurring influences in Butler's output. Falling melodic motifs and warm harmonies evoke the rich colors and gentle melancholy of autumn; then a lively moto perpetuo section speeds the music on its way to a gentle conclusion. Simon Callow (narrator), New London Chamber Ensemble, Martin Butler (piano), Neyire Ashworth (clarinet), Robert Manasse (flute), Leon Bosch (double bass).

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