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LABELS: Black Box
WORKS: The Dying Swan; Falling; Blue Cell; String Quartet No. 1; String Quartet No. 2
PERFORMER: Duke Quartet, Apollo Saxophone Quartet; Joby Talbot (piano), etc
If you have a fairly wide listening brief you may have come across Joby Talbot in his capacity as a member of the art-pop-rock group The Divine Comedy, or you may be aware of his TV theme work. Other than that, you may simply know of his track record within the conservatoire tradition, his works having been performed by the BBC Philharmonic, Evelyn Glennie and many other names of note. This CD contains an assortment of chamber music, which is fine, but overall the programme seems to subvert itself because of the way in which the quite outstanding nature of the first piece leaves the remainder struggling in its wake. ‘…similarities between diverse things…’, written in memory of a friend who died at the end of 2001, is a limpid, elegiac composition written for an evocative instrumental combination (piano trio and vibraphone) in which simple, gently paced melodic elements interlock to generate a piece which produces a kaleidoscope of tension, anticipation and resolution, reminiscent of some of John White’s work. By comparison, the remainder of the pieces seem rather pedestrian, simply adhering to an assortment of modernist compositional approaches and sounding pro-forma and po-faced. A sound argument for the CD single! Roger Thomas