Frigates & Folly; Divertimento*; Antiarkie**; Speaking of Letters and Dancing?; Mills Mess??; Moby Dick^; Slink & Slide^^
†Rosie Middleton (mezzo-soprano); Crouch End Festival Chorus; †Loki Ensemble/Daniele Rosina; *Britten Sinfonia; ^^Psappha; BBC Concert Orchestra/David Temple; **BBC Symphony Orchestra/Pierre-André Valade; ††Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble/Oliver Knussen; ^London Sinfonietta/Garry Walker
NMC NMC D267 64:09 mins
NMC’s Debut Disc series offers composers a rare opportunity to compile complete albums of their work. The programmes are usually wide-ranging, bringing together pieces created and recorded over a period of several years. As such, these portrait collections tend to be of an extremely high standard – indeed Ryan Latimer’s offering impresses for its breadth and quality.
Herman Melville’s Moby Dick provides the inspiration for the 2014 work of the same name, performed here by the London Sinfonietta. Rather than attempt filmic scene-painting, Latimer conveys tragedy at sea through a ghostly accordion melody, tied up with baleful-becoming-frenetic percussion.
The novel is further explored in 2018’s Frigates & Folly, which focuses on the pipe-smoking second-mate Stubb. The Crouch End Festival Chorus brings the text – adapted from the book by Latimer – to life in this four-part mini-oratorio with the BBC Concert Orchestra. The off-beat melodies and spoken-word sections are enhanced by eclectic orchestration. In Antiarkie, an ode from 2016 to the cartoon soundtracks that served as Latimer’s early introductions to instrumental music, the BBC Symphony Orchestra clatters, sparkles and guffaws.