CHARLOTTE BRAY (b.1982): Zustände for Piano Quartet, The Sun was Chasing Venus for String Quartet, Invisible Cities for Viola and Piano, Beyond for Solo Violin, On the Other Shore for Solo Cello.
Catalogue Number: 12U068
Reference: NI 6371
Description: Bray's clear, nuanced, atmospheric idiom is shown to great advantage in these chamber works. Zustände describes three 'states' of ice; brittle and splintering, a majestic solitary iceberg, and a shifting, treacherous ice field. Chilly harmonies are formed into fragments, blocks and unstable, energetic figuration. Invisible Cities describes four facets of the same city, as in Calvino's eponymous book. The frenetic energy of the first movement suggests the chaos of rush hour, while the elegiac second movement is a delicate nocturne, increasingly haunted by some tense inner turmoil. In the third movement, "Distant, otherworldly" the viola laments, while the piano seems initially indifferent but is gradually drawn into the emotional crisis. The finale follows a repeated-note thread through the city, first glimpsed at a distance, then in robust close-up. The composer achieves a strongly evocative sequence of tableaux in this work, suggesting a series of cityscapes in the style of Futurism. In The Sun was Chasing Venus, ascending motifs and flaring, stabbing chords dominate the texture of the first section, followed by a suspended, glowing mist of hazy harmonies. A more robust section follows, and the work ends in a web of subtle wisps of cloud, coloured by the rising sun. Mariani Klavierquartett, Amaryllis Quartet, Huw Watkins (piano).