CEVANNE HORROCKS-HOPAYIAN (b.1986): Muted Lines (Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian [voice, reader], Trish Clowes [saxophone], Tim Giles [drums]), Welcome Party, The Cave Painter, Cave Painting. Swallows & Nightengales, The Ladies, Dancing Birds, A Poet, Inkwells, (Love), Walls & Ways, Lullaby Between Two, Bonus: Cassette (sketches).
Catalogue Number: 12X051
Description: "Eclectic" doesn’t even begin to cover the work of this Anglo-Armenian composer-performer, who draws on her own, and other cultures' artistic heritages; takes inspiration from written, graphic and plastic arts (quite literally - graphic elements in her scores derive from shapes in drawn and carved art); and blends jazz, "classical" concert music, and electronics in an entirely accessible and appealing polyglot idiom. Much of the music here was composed during her 2015-17 residency at 575 Wandsworth Road in London (hereafter "575"), the former home of the Kenyan-born polymath Khadambi Asalache, which Asalache decorated on every interior surface, covering it in carved wooden fretwork and an eclectic range of graphic designs, which was being used as an artist‘s retreat. Many of the pieces refer to themes of exile, migration, and homecoming. Muted Lines, to a text by 16th-century Armenian poet Nahabed Kouchag is in three sections, the first sounding like a richly accompanied setting of an Eastern folk song, the second a gorgeously lush piece of soft jazz, with saxophone improvisation, the third an amalgam of the two. Welcome Party is a lively concert overture that sounds rather like a combination of Lemminkaïnen's Return and the overture to The Marriage of Figaro. Cave Painting is constructed from the room resonances of the study at 575 in the manner of Alvin Lucier, the result being a series of overlapping drones from the instruments. Swallows and Nightingales (the title a hat-tip to Arthur Ransome's tales of migratory London children who have vividly imaginative adventures on holidays in the Lake District, Norfolk, and the Essex coast) sets poems by Gevork Dodokhian (1830-1908) and Sappho, exploring the cultural and emotional symbolism of the two birds. The Ladies was inspired by paintings of women (ranging from Bessie Smith to Cleopatra, Pocahontas to Madame de Pompadour) around 575, with texts sung in the style of Bessie Smith and music that combines post-minimalism with jazz. Dancing Birds illustrates Asalache’s carvings of birds and dancers in 575 with calm chorale-like chords traced with imitative birdsong gestures from solo strings and winds. Inkwells uses sampled sounds of tapping on the poet’s collection of - yes - inkwells, looped to construct a minimalistic accompaniment to Asalache's poem "A Poet", sung in flexible, ornamented cantabile. Walls and Ways also uses sampled sounds from inside and outside 575 to accompany the narration of Asalache's poem "Parting of Ways" that tells a story of a return journey from exile to a home country, along with layers of gestures, graphically notated, from the clarinets. The choral pieces glow like crystals in a dark place: one is a madrigal-like part song arrangement of a lullaby that the composer improvised to sing to her aunt, who was dying of Covid; the other, "Love", commemorating the Armenian genocide, uses the Armenian mode mugham chargia, which creates unexpected harmonic tensions when presented in a chordal setting out of the English choral tradition. Ziazan (reader), Members of the London Symphony Orchestra; Jon Hargreaves, Ausiàs Garrigós Morant (clarinet/bass clarinet), Choir of Girton College, Cambridge; Gareth Wilson.