Horizon 7

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: G Benjamin,Lindberg,Tan Dun
LABELS: RCO Live
ALBUM TITLE: Horizon 7
WORKS: G Benjamin: Dream of the Song*; Lindberg: Era; Rijnvos: fuoco e fumo; Tan Dun: The Wolf†
PERFORMER: *Bejun Mehta (countertenor), †Dominic Seldis (double bass); Netherlands Kamerkoor; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/George Benjamin, David Robertson, Daniel Harding, Tan Dun
CATALOGUE NO: RCO 16003 (hybrid CD/SACD)

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Four completely different works, exploring different styles and emotions. Benjamin’s song cycle is linked tangentially to the city of Granada, and has a warm (and sometimes searing) sensuality which is eloquently projected by Bejun Mehta, with beautifully detailed orchestral writing. 

Written for the RCO, Lindberg’s Era evokes the inescapable world of Sibelius in its slow-moving harmonies, and its seamless transitions between different tempos. A great post-Romantic tone poem for our time, it has an unswerving sense of tonal progression.

fuoco e fumo deploys more of the musical gestures of the avant-garde to paint a picture of the fire which destroyed La Fenice in 1996. Small energetic fragments of musical material build up over inexorable rhythms and almost static harmonies – all is changing, but within a tight framework.

In Tan Dun’s Wolf, the hinterland is Mongolian folk music, and this is the most conventional of the pieces here, but shows, in its vivid colours and clear shapes, why Tan Dun is such a successful film composer. It’s also a virtuoso vehicle for bass player Dominic Seldis, and like everything else on the CD, is immaculately recorded and expertly performed. Even if you view contemporary music with suspicion, this disc is worth a try – you may be surprised.

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Martin Cotton