COMPOSERS: Fujikura Greenwood Hayes
LABELS: London Sinfonietta
ALBUM TITLE: Fujikura Greenwood Hayes
WORKS: Fifth Station
PERFORMER: Valérie Hartmann-Claverie, Bruno Perrault (ondes martenot)Louise Hopkins (cello)London Sinfonietta/Martyn Brabbins
CATALOGUE NO: SINF CD2-2006
Most composers fret about the difficulties of securing second performances; thanks to the Jerwood Foundation and London Sinfonietta’s own label, here are five London and world premieres guaranteed repeat hearings in perpetuity, albeit on CD. All the composers are offspring of the 1970s, there’s not a whiff of fluffy crossover-meets-modernism in sight, and all but one of the pieces tackle the challenges of concertante writing head-on.
The exception is Tansy Davies’ Neon whose funky approachability is generated by interlocking ‘boxes’ of contrasting textures and impulses, achieving an improbable balancing act between pulsating dance music and ultra-refined urbanity. Radiohead scion Jonny Greenwood celebrates the ondes martenot in Smear (twice over since there are two of them entwining and deftly avoiding any clichés associated with Martenot’s other-wordly apparatus).
Morgan Hayes’ Dark Room, meanwhile, is a mini clarinet concerto undertaking an ear-arresting journey from translucence to opacity and back – breathtakingly played by Mark van de Wiel. And similarly incisively conducted by Martyn Brabbins is Dai Fujikura’s remarkably assured cello concerto for Louise Hopkins, Fifth Station – music that knows what it wants to do, and how to do it. Which is just as true of Stuart MacRae’s Interact where concertante trumpet is dispersed through two movements; the first an exuberant knockabout, the second statuesque yet impassioned. Conducted by HK Gruber (no less!) the Sinfonietta here shows itself yet again in a class of its own. Just a shame about an atrociously abrupt cut after the
end of Smear. Paul Riley