Finnissy: Red Earth

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Finnissy
LABELS: NMC
WORKS: Red Earth
PERFORMER: BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins
CATALOGUE NO: NMCD 0405 S
Michael Finnissy is such a prolific composer, producing works in virtually every genre, that it is sometimes difficult to get a bearing on his output. But the biggest, public pieces are the best place to start and a score like Red Earth, first heard at the Proms in 1988, is as vivid and approachable as any. It lasts almost twenty minutes and conjures a vast array of ever-changing textures from a large orchestra. There are decisive parts for a pair of didgeridoos and that local colour provides a clue as to the work’s genesis. On one level it is an evocation of the vast spaces of the Australian desert as seen from an aircraft; on another it is a metaphysical journey through the emotions that such an intimidating landscape provokes – the feelings of awe and trepidation and the ecological fear of losing such primeval beauty. First and foremost, though, it is a hugely impressive feat of orchestral writing. Andrew Clements

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