Benjamin: A Mind of Winter; Antara; Ringed by the Flat Horizon; At First Light; Panorama

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COMPOSERS: Benjamin
LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: A Mind of Winter; Antara; Ringed by the Flat Horizon; At First Light; Panorama
PERFORMER: Penelope Walmsley-Clark (soprano), Ross Pople (cello); BBC SO/Mark Elder, London Sinfonietta/George Benjamin
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5643 Reissue (1985-9)
This 40th-birthday repackaging of George Benjamin’s early orchestral works encapsulates the first phase of his development. After Antara, composed with the help of IRCAM hardware in 1987 (for which the little computer piece Panorama, appearing for the first time, was a preliminary study) his music slowly began to shift its emphasis. From the earliest score here, Ringed by the Flat Horizon, the precision of Benjamin’s music, his ear for colour and sure harmonic touch, were dazzlingly obvious: A Mind of Winter is a bejewelled setting of Wallace Stevens, At First Light a flamboyant impression of a Turner sunrise. For a composer in his early twenties they were extraordinary achievements. Andrew Clements

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