COMPOSERS: Sadie Harrison
LABELS: Toccata Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Sadie Harrison: Solos and Duos for Strings and Piano
WORKS: Solos and Duos for strings and piano
PERFORMER: Peter Sheppard-Skærved, Mihailo Trandafilovski (violin), Diana Mathews (viola), Roderick Chadwick (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: TOCC 0304
This collection of works by Sadie Harrison is a vivid exploration of the miniature. No single movement exceeds four minutes and the shortest is just 24 seconds, yet these five magnetic works explore colour and form with a dazzling intensity. Many of the compositions are ekphrastic in nature: Hidden Ceremonies ‘fragments’ in sound the huge canvasses of contemporary artist Brian Graham in nine arresting movements for solo piano; while Gallery (Rooms 1 and 2) is by turns meditative and skittish, exploring the paintings and drawings of artist and violinist Peter Sheppard-Skærved who also performs the work (and writes the disc’s engaging liner notes). The collection closely reflects the composer’s interest in antiquity (Harrison is also an archaeologist) with further works for solo violin and viola inspired by Greco-Roman culture, including the Three Dances For Diana Nemorensis performed with great spirit (and virtuoso foot stamps) by Diana Mathews.
The disc ends with the mesmerising …under the circle of the moon… for violin duo. Its seven short movements take as their prompt sources ranging from Dürer to gemstones to human skin to Hindu cosmology, and are performed with tremendous artistry by Sheppard-Skærved joined by Mihailo Trandafilovski, bringing this beautiful and intriguing disc to a powerful close. Kate Wakeling