JULIAN MARSHALL (b.1953): Out of the Darkness for Mezzo-Soprano, Chorus and 2 Cellos (Howard Moody [conductor]), GAVIN BRYARS (b.1943): The Island Chapel for Mezzo-Soprano, Cello and Keyboard, ARVO PÄRT (b.1935): Spiegel im Spiegel for Cello and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 12O087
Label: Music & Media
Description: Marshall's cantata sets a powerful 1937 poem full of vivid imagery of decay and disintegration, by Gertrud Kolmar, who a victim of Auschwitz. The classically-trained composer has had a distinguished career in various fields of popular music, which finds it way into the fabric of the piece, both in its easy melodiousness and accessibility and in the adoption of a popular idiom, often rhythmic and toe-tappingly dancelike, which a composer with a different background probably wouldn't have done with such a dark text. The restrained, acoustic forces give the piece an eloquent intimacy and dignity, with something of the direct emotional appeal of the 'new spirituality' movement and certain post-minimalist persuasions. Bryars' piece refers to, and was written for an event in, the tiny, strikingly located chapel on a hill overlooking the Cornish town of St Ives. Against a shimmering background of synthesizer chords, the cello and voice weave lonely soliloquies and duets, tonal, consonant and evocative of spiritually resonant places. The symbolism-laden texts, by Etel Adnan, add to the work's sense of meditative awe. English texts. Melanie Pappenheim (mezzo), Sophie Harris, Lucy Railton (cellos), Ian Belton (piano).