Fiddlesticks

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Dudley,L Harrison,Limbrick and Trad.,O’Regan,S Jones
LABELS: Signum
WORKS: Works by L Harrison, Dudley, O’Regan, S Jones, Limbrick and Trad.
PERFORMER: Madeleine Mitchell (violin); Ensemble Bash
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 111

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It takes audacity to pitch a lone fiddler against a phalanx of percussionists. It’s the sort of thing that happens in free improvisation, but this is nothing of that kidney.

Instead, these are works created by some notable composers for an ensemble (plus one chum) and soloist who are at the front rank of their respective instrumental contingents.

The origins of the group and its repertoire are detailed in the booklet notes, so suffice to say that, as occasionally happens in new music, this kind of project would be laudable even as a failure. But it happily turns out to be my favourite contemporary music CD of 2007.

The composers involved are clearly unperturbed by the sonic gulf between the instruments, but rather recognise an opportunity to explore and exploit not just the differences but also the points of contact between them.

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The resulting works are vibrantly capricious, yet each delivers its respective logic with a sense of completion which makes for highly satisfying listening. These are enthusiastic performances with immaculate sonics: brilliant stuff. Roger Thomas