Posman

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Posman
LABELS: Cypres
WORKS: The Book of Los; Ten Songs of Experience; To Morning; To the Evening Star
PERFORMER: Els Crommen (soprano), Marc Legros (flute), Bart Meynckens (piano); Goeyvaerts Consort/Marc Michael de Smet
CATALOGUE NO: CYP 4616
The name of Lucien Posman was, I must confess, unknown to me before I heard this disc. Posman doesn’t make it into the latest edition of Grove, but, born in 1952, he currently teaches at the Conservatory in Ghent, and is evidently a major figure in Belgian new music (now please, no jokes about five famous Belgians apart from Tintin). Evidently, too, he has a thing about William Blake, for apart from these four works, his list of compositions includes several others also inspired by Blake’s writings and paintings.

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But the qualities that best typify Blake – the visionary intensity of his verbal and pictorial imagery, the compassion, the fierce rage against all kinds of injustice – are nowhere to be found in Posman’s anodyne responses to his works here. All these pieces include a chorus – unaccompanied in the Ten Songs of Experience and the short To the Evening Star and To Morning, with a solo soprano, piano and flute in The Book of Los – and the writing for them is competent, conservative in a Brittenish vein and totally unremarkable. It’s the sort of thing any half decent choirmaster in an English cathedral could have turned out for a service any time in the last 50 years and probably did. Not a note of it is memorable in any way, though no doubt it is satisfying enough to sing; certainly the Goeyvaerts Consort presents all these pieces with plenty of tonal refinement and technical polish. Andrew Clements