Beyond The Horizon
New Music for Lever Harp by Cage, Maxwell Davies, Lauren Scott & Lennon/McCartney
Lauren Scott (lever harp)
Avie AV 2417 61.19 mins
Originally conceived in 1948 as a work to be danced, John Cage’s In a Landscape embodied his desire for a music ‘to sober and quiet the mind’. The starting point for Lauren Scott’s debut disc, it steers a programme that sets a premium on ‘quieting’ through pieces – many by Scott herself – that inhabit a landscape pervaded by lyrical contemplation and atmospheric commentary. Not all of the pieces, wisely. Monika Stadler’s Away for a While injects a welcome animation. As does Scott’s own ‘Free Running’, which in her suite Adventures for Lever Harp follows an ‘Elegy’ whose discrete note-bending suggests Eastern influences atop a ground bass over which unfolds a measured act of remembrance.
Repeating patterns are much in evidence and supply a useful compositional crutch, though not without running the risk of sounding formulaic. And en masse her miniatures seem to be circling one another within a circumscribed ambit. Notwithstanding, there’s no gainsaying Scott’s skill as a performer. Pre-eminently thoughtful and compelling, she draws sounds of deep soulfulness and will-o-the-wisp rustlings. Perhaps Maxwell Davies’s Farewell to Stromness is a little matter-of-fact; and the arrangement of the Lennon-McCartney ‘Across the Universe’ over-egged; but her Lever Harp sings sweetly and the recording is beautifully judged. Paul Riley