BRETT DEAN (b.1961): The Lost Art of Letter Writing for Violin and Orchestra (Frank Peter Zimmermann [violin], Sydney Symphony; Jonathan Nott), Testament for 12 Violas (BBC Symphony Orchestra viola section; Martyn Brabbins), Vexations and Devotions for Choir, Children's Choir, Large Orchestra and Electronics (Gondwana Voices, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; David Robertson).

Catalogue Number: 11P010

Label: BIS

Reference: 2016

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: Not unusually for this very socially conscious composer, these works have an explicitly programmatic message; they examine the question of human interaction and communication. The violin concerto celebrates letters written by significant historical figures - Brahms, van Gogh, Wolf and Ned Kelly. Dean's idiom is firmly grounded in tonality, accentuated in the first movement by a number of brief quotations from Brahms' music. The second movement is ghostly, intensely introverted, with a despairing climax, depicting the decaying interactions of a man withdrawing from normal human contact. The third movement is a brief, harmonically ambiguous intermezzo on the border of late romanticism and the escape from tonality that followed, or that between lucidity and madness. The dry perpetuum mobile of the finale suggests the harsh Australian landscape in which the outlaw carried out his exploits. Testament, presented here in its original version for strings alone, is based on Beethoven's "Heiligenstadt Testament", its feverish, agitated sounds vividly suggesting Beethoven in the act of penning his despairing document. Vexations, a 'sociological cantata', deals with the dehumanization of society through humanly unsatisfying interactions with electronics and meaningless, alienating langua ge. In all three movements the strongest possible contrast is drawn between the mocking, turbulent demons of societal dysfunction and music of serenity, beauty and inward calm. SACD hybrid


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