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Martland: Crossing The Border


Release Date: 11/22/2010 
Label:  Catalyst   Catalog #: 68345   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Steve Martland
Conductor:  Steve Martland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Steve Martland Band
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is Martland's Big English String Piece, formidably energetic with Tippett-like dancing jubilance.

Steve Martland has written a Big English String Piece. It's not his Introduction and Allegro, exactly, nor his Tallis Fantasia or Frank Bridge Variations, but if you were to mention Tippett's Corelli Fantasia ... Crossing the Border, the string orchestra piece in question, even has a Big Tippett-ish Tune, and very bracing it is too. I would hardly call the piece 'pastoral', mind, though it would be possible so to read the 'windows' of quiet, archaic-sounding harmony (not unlike Tallis, as a matter of fact) that pierce the music's athletic pounding towards the end and bring about a mood of quite Tippett-like dancing
Read more jubilance. Formidably energetic, toccata-like figures are the music's main substance, but they build over a slow and steady pulse, like a ground bass, and the result is that the driving power that has never been lacking in Martland's work is here combined with a no less strong sense of forward movement: the structure is firm, the end a logical and satisfying outcome of the beginning.

The other pieces here map his path to Crossing the Border. The roots in Stravinsky are clear (in Shoulder to Shoulder specifically the Symphony in Three Movements), supplemented in American Invention perhaps by recourse to the later Copland. Martland's search for links with the demotic (overtly and most entertainingly observed in the post-big-band Principia and the jovially martial, goose-step waltz of Re-mix—splendid encore pieces, both) seems to diminish in the new piece, as explorations of the motoric elements of minimalism grow in importance. His synthesis of these obvious influences and kinships, though, is highly personal: not many of his British contemporaries have such an immediately recognizable voice (even my reference to minimalism should have been in quotation marks). In the past his music has sometimes given the impression of containing more vehement and vociferous energy than it could channel, and the voltage of American Invention is so high that it occasionally short-circuits and fails to bridge its own stuttering pauses. No such thing in the new piece, which string orchestras both hardly and enterprising would find well worth their while. Fearlessly virtuosic performances and a recording that packs no punches at all.

-- Gramophone [9/1992]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Crossing the Border by Steve Martland
Conductor:  Steve Martland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Steve Martland Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; England 
Date of Recording: 05/06/1991 
Venue:  Church Studios, London, England 
2.
Principia by Steve Martland
Conductor:  Steve Martland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Steve Martland Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1991 
Venue:  Church Studios, London, England 
3.
American Invention by Steve Martland
Conductor:  Steve Martland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Steve Martland Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1991 
Venue:  Church Studios, London, England 
4.
Re-mix by Steve Martland
Conductor:  Steve Martland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Steve Martland Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1991 
Venue:  Church Studios, London, England 
5.
Shoulder to Shoulder by Steve Martland
Conductor:  Steve Martland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Steve Martland Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1991 
Venue:  Church Studios, London, England 

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