Anna Clyne’s enormous palette of colors and special effects coalesce into an aural three-dimensional experience of striking originality. Equally there’s a comforting familiarity to her music, as she draws inspiration from historic styles that she transforms into a new musical dialect. Anna’s background in electro-acoustic music and her fascination for a variety of multi-media – including poetry, visual art and videography – combine to create rich and exhilarating textures of popular appeal.
The five works on Anna Clyne: Mythologies were written over a 10-year period between 2005 and 2015. The performances on the album feature the BBC Symphony Orchestra and four internationally-acclaimed conductors. Masquerade, commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to open the Last Night of the Proms 2013 and conducted by Marin Alsop, captures the spirit of that quintessentially English tradition. The title evokes an 18th-century outdoor festivity featuring fireworks, acrobats and street entertainers. This Midnight Hour, conducted by the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo, encapsulates the modernity and decadence of two European poets, Nobel Prize-winning Spaniard Juan Ramón Jiménez and Frenchman Charles Baudelaire. Oramo also conducts The Seamstress, a single-movement violin concerto in all but name, featuring soloist Jennifer Koh as well as the whispered voice of Irene Buckley reciting the work’s inspiration, a poem by William Butler Yeats. More poetry by a Nobel laureate, the Irishman Seamus Heaney, inspired Night Ferry; conducted by Andrew Litton, the work conjures crashing waves and weathered seafaring. The album concludes with rewind, conducted by André de Ridder. It’s a wild romp imagining the backwards scroll of a video tape complete with glitches, skips and freezes.
Composed over the past 15 years, the pieces are arranged not in chronological order but in an engrossingly musical sequence not unlike that of a concert. To my mind the most impressive piece here is This Midnight Hour (2015), inspired by poems by Baudelaire and Juan Ramón Jiménez, compact, compelling and tautly directed by Oramo. Irrespective of the conductors, it is the BBC Symphony Orchestra who shine throughout, with superbly mastered sound (by Jody Elff). Another winner from Avie.