MORGAN HAYES (b.1973): Dark Room (Mark van de Wiel [clarinet]), JONNY GREENWOOD (b.1971): Smear (Valérie Hartmann-Claverie, Bruno Perrault [ondes martenots]), DAI FUJIKURA (b.1977): Fifth Station (Louise Hopkins [cello]).
Catalogue Number: 02I093
Label: London Sinfonietta
Reference: SINF CD2-2006
Description: Hayes' Dark Room is a work of abrupt contrasts, with something in common with the 'complexicists' of a few years ago, insofar as highly active instrumental lines of diverse character add up to a whole of no fixed tonality. Particularly in the later stages of the work, though, Hayes' sharply etched textures become more focused - this is one meaning implied by the title, referring to photography - and as the ensemble thins out, a lyrical element emerges. Greenwood's piece stems from his passion for the Ondes Martenot, and uses two of these highly expressive instruments, interweaving their trademark gliding tones with acoustic analogues from the ensemble. This emphasises the instrument's singing qualities in the absence of the kind of whooping and swooping often associated with it, and a section using the keyboard suggests a slightly mad improvisation on an early portative organ. Many of Fujikura's works incorporate spatial effects or emulate the interaction between unrelated sound sources instrumentally; Fifth Station places performers around the auditorium - the effect that one would hear live is only approximately conveyed by this BBC 2-channel recording - and they each play precisely notated parts (often quite melodic, especially the solo cello part), which interact, moving back and forth in and out of focus and producing many intriguing sonorous effects. London Sinfonietta; Martyn Brabbins.