Glennie

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COMPOSERS: Glennie
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Shadow Behind the Iron Sun: improvisations
PERFORMER: Evelyn Glennie (percussion)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 63406 2
‘Lock me into a studio with as many wacky instruments as possible and I will, literally, improvise.’ Shadow Behind the Iron Sun is the product of Evelyn Glennie’s enforced periods of captivity with her substantial menagerie of percussion instruments. In fact, as the booklet makes explicit, the substantial fruits of this initial idea were the product of a collaboration with the producer Michael Brauer. Titles for the dozen pieces come from Michael Crichton’s Viking novel Eaters of the Dead (now republished as The 13th Warrior), although this link occurred more by accident (or providence) than design.

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These performances are, by definition, unique, but for ‘purists’ expecting nothing but live improvisation, they should carry a health warning. This is specifically a product of the studio, and, in addition to Brauer’s contribution, further sounds were added after the event by David Motion. The result of this daring enterprise is a rewarding hybrid. Most of the pieces are short, being effective snapshots of mood. The centrepiece, though, is the nearly half-hour ‘Land of Vendon’ which resulted from Glennie’s pianist, Philip Smith, joining her in the studio. There are hardly any longueurs in this piece, or any of the others. A fascinating disc. Christopher Dingle