JULIAN ANDERSON (b.1967): Symphony, Eden, Imagin'd Corners (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo, Martyn Brabbins), Book of Hours (Lamberto Coccioli, Scott Wilson [live electronics], Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Oliver Knussen), 4 American Choruses (City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus; Simon Halsey).
Catalogue Number: 12I082
Description: These works showcase Anderson's predilection for unusual tunings and temperaments, somewhat related to the work of the 'spectralists' in producing strange sonorities, evocative of half-forgotten ancient rituals and the natural world. Heterophonic elaboration of thematic material adds a level of intriguing complexity to music that is nonetheless remarkably listener-friendly as complicated modern scores go. The spatial effects generated by the mobile horn soloists in Imagin'd corners add to the non-tempered tunings native to the instrument in producing an otherworldly, disorienting effect in this active and emotionally diverse, highly concentrated piece. Spatial effects also play a part in the choral works, in which different sections of the choir are divided and perform their material with a degree of independence from each other; the lesser emphasis on surface activity here than in the instrumental works emphasizes the strange beauty of these effects. The symphony is another highly concentrated work, containing some melodic writing of great beauty and some marvelously sonorous orchestration, alongside the glittering, light-on-flowing-water textures (with some extended instrumental technique involved) favored by the composer. Here and elsewhere, echoes of Britten and Sibelius place Anderson in a recognizable tradition, which is not to deny his considerable innovative gifts or individual voice.