Saunders

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Saunders
LABELS: Kairos
WORKS: Quartet for accordion, clarinet, double bass & piano; Into the Blue; Molly’s Song 3 – shades of crimson; Dichroic Seventeen
PERFORMER: musikFabrik/Stefan Asbury
CATALOGUE NO: 0012182 KAI
Well-respected in Germany, Rebecca Saunders has yet to gain equal status in Britain. Whether the reason is stylistic or regional (a former pupil of Wolfgang Rihm in Karlsruhe, she is currently a Berlin resident), it is good to have a sample of her work recorded in order to know more.

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In fact, given the care of presentation that includes a pair of detailed essays plus lavish packaging, the contents themselves, finely performed yet lasting under an hour in total, seem in terms of duration a lost opportunity, not least because the composer’s natural span of utterance suggests room could be found for another score.

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No matter: what we have here is enough to judge Saunders, born London in 1967, as adding significantly to the voices of her generation, while having probably found, for the time being, her natural home in the Federal Republic. Though Feldman and Scelsi are partial influences, Saunders’s own music prefers to speak only through metaphors of colour, in dichroic seventeen, Molly’s Song 3 – shades of crimson, and the Jarman-dedicated Into the Blue. Their hues are primary, blunt and bold; and whether too sharp for our native pastel tastes remains to be seen. Nicholas Williams