BRYN HARRISON (b.1969): Three Descriptions of Place and Movement.

Catalogue Number: 08Y034

Label: Huddersfield Contemporary Records

Reference: HCR027CD

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Over the past decade and a half Harrison has been increasingly drawn to large timescales, realizing that his tangled labyrinthine compositions require an extended canvas in order to achieve the intended effect on the audience. His first string quartet exemplifies this approach; in basic terms it could be described as a combination of Morton Feldman and minimalism. Paradoxically, this piece, that depends entirely on repetition, or almost- repetition simply would not work on a more succinct timescale - this music has nothing in common with "Glassworks", for instance! Like Feldman, who (in another context) described the kind of effect that Harrison's music creates as ‘the formalization of a disorientation of memory’. The music consists of small cells played by the four instruments, which wind around one another in various formations, at different speeds, beginning and ending at different times relative to one another, and changing subtly as they go; like Feldman, the incidental harmony, or consonance or dissonance of intervals produced is of no importance. The quartet is divided into three movements; the first, "Opening" is short and introductory in nature, chromatic scale fragments, obscured by pitch and rhythm displacements spiraling, like an animation of an entwined helix; the second, "Clearing" is slow, minimalistic, and disorienting, its constant, expressionless, unison note values populated by repeated gestures entering canonically and slowly metamorphosing over a 25-minute span. In the third and longest section, "Burrow" the quartet, pre-recorded and electronically slowed down, is projected to left and right of the live ensemble, playing in complex canon with it, circling in a maze of continuously variable repetition, echo, and rhythmic displacement - the labyrinth projected into three dimensions, as it were.


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