Friday, December 07, 2007

CD REVIEW: Tüür- "Magma"-CD of the month

December 2007
By Rob Barnett

In a language carrying the stigmata of Jon Leifs, Messiaen's Turangalila and the later Panufnik Tüür's Magma is part-symphony and part-Concerto. There’s often jazzy syncopation to add to the palette. The work’s bearing and trajectory make it more symphony than concerto with the display almost always called for by the exigencies of the format. There are however moments when display seems in the ascendancy - for example at 16:00 onwards where the athletically active Glennie can almost be seen running full tilt from one instrument to another. It's an imposing work inhabiting a sound-world consonant with the primal molten material to which its title refers. The work ends in a malcontented jangling haze of sound punctuated by scamper and crash and then by a fade to niente.
Inquiétude du fini is distinguished by string and choral ululations and by a slalom sway recalling Penderecki and Hovhaness. The choral writing which is wonderfully done feels Gallic rather than archetypically Scandinavian. At times the more rhythmic material is redolent of Tippett (11:30). The earliest work here, this piece is notably more indebted to Schoenbergian dissonance than Magma.
Igavik is a portrait of the Estonian statesman and friend of the composer Lennart Meri. It was written for his funeral service and is intended to convey a short description of Meri's life. The music manages to be dark and yet to glitter with light and a sort of heroic awe.
The Path and the Traces was written during a family holiday in Crete. It's a work of quiet and disquiet, prompted by the experience of hearing Greek Orthodox plainchant, by the music of Arvo Part and by the death of Tüür's father. It's universe is ultimately confiding and consoling – a still small voice lapping and murmuring.
The notes are by Martin Anderson of Toccata fame and show respect and understanding. The recording is extremely well done.
Exceptional and patently sincere new music only failing to convince this listener in the display sections of the symphony.

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