JONATHAN DOVE (b.1959): A Brief History of Creation (Hallé Children’s Choir, Hallé Orchestra; Mark Elder), Gaia Theory (BBC Symphony Orchestra; Josep Pons).
Catalogue Number: 10U070
Description: Dove has an unusual gift for writing music that is immediately appealing to a wide range of listeners with never a suggestion of 'writing down' to his audience, and that sounds fresh and original despite its consistently tonal language and the familiarity of the styles and influences on which he draws. The substantial three-movement orchestral suite is based on James Lovelock's assertion that the Earth acts as a composite organism whose component parts, from climate to micro-organisms and everything in between, are engaged in a constant dance to regulate conditions such that they remain conducive to life. This lovely, optimistic idea elicits music of irrepressible energy and life-affirming vitality. The first movement has the drive and pulse of post-minimalism of the John Adams type, while the jaunty finale draws on repeated patterns both minimalistic and otherwise (a bit of jazz and neoclassical Stravinsky, plus Le sacre, included) in rhythmic whorls, as the multitudinous partners in the dance swirl in their cosmically choreographed steps. The middle movement combines the flowing forms of John Luther Adams with the gentle, nebulous swells of Holst's Venus and Neptune. Just as appealing is the hugely entertaining Brief History, which brings Dove's great talent for writing vocal music that is downright fun to sing (the admittedly unusually sophisticated children's choir here sound as though they're having a whale of a time) with material of real substance. Dove's frequent collaborator Alasdair Middleton's witty texts cover key episodes in the geological and ecological history of the earth, which Dove illustrates with clever, characterful music; Le Carnaval des animaux set in a natural history museum.