Ochre is the work of Newcastle, UK-based artist, Christopher S. Leary. He has been crafting utopian, melancholic music since 2001, and has released albums on Toytronic, Benbecula Records, and Village Green. Stylistically, his music is often highly melodic, described by NME as being "full of shimmering electronics, crunchy, crispy beats and sweeping melancholic melodies that recall classic electronic stars such as Boards Of Canada,” with “analogue tones and glitchy beats - snatches of classical orchestration are peppered throughout, helping to create rich cinematic soundscapes".
Nino Rota’s reputation outside Italy as, at best, a civilised purveyor of minor theatre music is turning out to be hardly even a half-truth. BIS’s series of his symphonic and chamber works, and Chandos’s of the concertos, reveals a composer of incisive gifts and technical brilliance. Civilised the music certainly is, but often far more than that, its pervasive wit enhancing rather than detracting from the elegant suggestions of deep feeling. The wise and wily ‘neo-classicism’ of the Third Symphony sets out like an exercise in updated Mozart, but though Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony is brought to mind it soon becomes evident that a strain of acid melancholy undercuts the dapper phraseology. The model here, if there is one, seems more likely to be late Busoni, with disturbing cross-currents just beneath the surface. The Concerto festivo, more obviously a display piece, takes Italian opera genres (aria, cabaletta, etc) and reinterprets them in fairly irreverent orchestral terms, while the ballet music that Rota produced for the tercentenary of the death of Molière – almost his last work –insouciantly mixes Baroque, modern and popular styles, just as it mixes merriment and melancholy, with constant technical brilliance and utter lack of pomposity. The Swedish performers take to the Italianate gaiety as to the manner born. A delightful disc.
Following a highly-praised recording of Symphony No. 1 last year, Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony present here an electrifying interpretation of Elgar’s Symphony No. 2, with the addition of one of his most performed works: the Serenade for Strings.
The music of London-born William Wordsworth (1908–88) – a great-great-grandson of the poet’s brother Christopher – lies downstream from that of Vaughan Williams and Sibelius. Like that of his contemporary Edmund Rubbra, Wordsworth’s music unfolds spontaneously, as a natural process, with a sense of grandeur perhaps enhanced by his move to the Scottish Highlands in 1961. Three of the four works recorded here display the sober dignity of the instinctive symphonist. The Variations on a Scottish Theme (‘Wi’ a hundred pipers an’ a’, an’ a’’),by contrast, reveal a sly sense of humour behind the serious countenance.
Vincent Ho’s music is wild and fanciful, and takes us to the limits of sonic energy, but it is also intimate and tender, for he is not afraid to reveal his truly lyrical soul. THE SHAMAN is a work that sets an atmosphere of magical stillness, with the soloist evoking unearthly sounds - wolf calls, shimmering colours, and the lightest of orchestral textures. It is powerful work that merges the spiritual indigenous world with the modern classical world to create a compelling musical journey. ARCTIC SYMPHONY was inspired by the composer’s first-hand experience of the Arctic Ocean with a scientific research team aboard a Canadian Coast Guard ship. Evelyn Glennie is the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest conductors, orchestras, and artists.