ANDERS BRØDSGAARD (b.1955): Galaxy, Monk's Miniatures.
Catalogue Number: 12M078
Description: Galaxy is an impressive 42-minute tone poem that sets out to do exactly what the title implies, and does it very well indeed. A slow-moving spiral structure, it does indeed suggest the traversal of astronomical distances, evoking the majesty of the heavens and the complex mechanisms that drive their processes. A visual analogy for the music might be the time-lapsed photography of a space probe's fly-by of a vast rotating planet, or the animated graphical representation of fractal geometry like the Mandelbrot Set. In musical terms, as the work slowly progresses there is an imperceptible acceleration and accumulation of detail; tonal and atonal harmony coexist, the underlying structure gradually revealed to be a 12-note series overlain with rich harmonies that at times recall Panufnik's time-suspending slow movements; at others there is a distinct flavor of Sibelius to the stately, dark-hued timbres and harmony. This competes with metrically complex music that suggests Messiaen, with a tendency toward his characteristic sumptuous, coloristic harmonies progressing in rhythmic unison. A slightly different slant on this unusual confluence of harmony and rhythm is at play in Monk's Mixtures, haunted by the spirit of Thelonious Monk. Constantly shifting metrical patterns enliven the block harmonies of progressive jazz (or organ 'Mixtures' as implied by the punning title) in a thoroughly modern, dissonant tonally-based piece that avoids overt references to jazz while adopting elements from it in an intriguing and original way. Odense Symphony Orchestra; Christopher Austin.