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British Composers - Turnage: Drowned Out, Etc / Rattle

Release Date: 05/18/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 55091   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Mark-Anthony Turnage
Performer:  Ulrich Heinen
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony OrchestraBirmingham Contemporary Music Group
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A stunning collection of new music that is insistently approachable without being simplistic.

This is a stunning collection, even more convincing proof than the recent recording of his opera Greek that Mark-Anthony Turnage is a talent of major importance. The influences on his musical language are obvious, but even to name Stravinsky and Copland, jazz and certain areas of popular music, is misleading, since the most attractive feature of his style is its unified individuality, its personal voice. In Drowned Out, for example, one could waste a good deal of time ascribing the regular pulse of its lyrical but tense opening section to the influence of jazz, or examining its gradually intensifying melodic line for traces of
Read more an affinity with blues or 'soul' music. They may be there, but the sustained eloquence of this music is what matters; it is Turnage's own, and an impressive achievement. The fast music that then attacks that sober lyricism has formidably malign energy, rising eventually to savagery. 'Stravinsky', says my note in the margin, but the brutality of the attack and the feeling of danger here is again Turnage's own, and the darkly elegiac epilogue, a ghost of the earlier lyrical music lamenting before its final extinction, is also personal, a mood recognizable from certain pages of Turnage's opera.

The 'influences' are more overt in Kai, a one-movement concerto for cello and chamber orchestra in which saxophones and brass are prominent. The cello line, and that of its lyrical 'companions' (other solo strings, flute, bassoon), are often blues-inflected, sometimes Gershwin-tinged; the 'attacking' forces here are an aggressive double-bass pizzicato and a sort of big-band toccata. Again, there is an extended and poignant epilogue. Three Screaming Popes is already familiar (EMI issued it two years ago as a CD single) and it offers further evidence of the range that Turnage's style can command: the impetus and sometimes troubled lyricism of the two longer works, but also a grave, mysterious solemnity, and it shares with Kai and Drowned Out a pungent sense of orchestral colour. So does Momentum, a sort of extended fanfare written for the opening of Symphony Hall in Birmingham. This has the feeling, by analogy with Janacek, of Turnage's Sinfonietta, a bold opposition of brass-led and saxophone-dominated sonorities from which a striding string theme emerges. The whole piece is exuberant, and again has a big-band quality, but there is a blues element as well, and what I am beginning to recognize as a Turnage chorale.

Most welcome of all, this music is insistently approachable without being simplistic. Turnage's 'recipe' is not 'Stravinsky plus palatable pop'. The 'influences' are used as we use imagery in speech, to aid urgent communication, not to reduce communication to a low common denominator. The performances have a strong sense that the players realize this: they are urgently eloquent and gratefully virtuoso. The recordings are appropriately direct and vivid.

-- Michael Oliver, Gramophone [9/1994]
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Works on This Recording

Drowned out by Mark-Anthony Turnage
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992-1993; England 
Date of Recording: 03/18/1994 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 22 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Kai by Mark-Anthony Turnage
Performer:  Ulrich Heinen (Cello)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989-1990; England 
Date of Recording: 06/10/1993 
Venue:  Concert Hall, BBC North, Manchester 
Length: 23 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Momentum by Mark-Anthony Turnage
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990-1991; England 
Date of Recording: 08/29/1993 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 10 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Three screaming popes by Mark-Anthony Turnage
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 01/26/1992 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 15 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: England (1988 - 1989). 

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