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<<  -- 2 --  David Thompson    Bridging the day


The opening piece, for solo cello, Gala Water, is a direct response to the couple's shared grief in the loss of a child through miscarriage. Certainly, there is grief here, in the opening Lento, for example -- angular, and, at the same time, lyrically melancholy [listen -- track 1, 0:03-1:01]. There is anger, too, in the allegro, but the concluding adagio is consolatory, especially towards the end, as the timelessly lovely folk tune on which the work is based emerges over a drone -- a moment of pure balm [listen -- track 4, 1:07-2:10]. Robert Irvine gives a consummate performance, technically amazing, and emotionally involving, as might be expected.

There is another, very different piece for solo cello, The Wise Maid, based on an Irish fiddle tune. This is a fun-filled unashamed party-piece, a tour de force of dazzling virtuosity, which Irvine relishes with very evident enjoyment.

The two occasional pieces for cello and piano are both evocations of the natural world. Bridging the Day, which gives the disc its title is a one movement work. Its five sections take us from dawn to sunset in a garden framed by spectacular scenery. Again, the evocation is telling and direct, in its depictions of light, natural beauty and birdsong. It is a kind of latter-day Pastoral Symphony (even down to a scene by a brook). Once again, the cello writing is all-embracing, and Irvine delivers it with passion and conviction. The piano writing here is less convincing in its reliance on chordal writing and rhythmic interpolation. Beamish seems a little aggressive and heavy in execution, and the textures to my ear lie uneasily with the cello writing. Iask also depicts a journey in nature -- the life-cycle of a salmon. It is highly evocative, and here the piano writing is more interesting and integrated, though again, the composer comes across a shade over-assertively.

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Copyright © 13 March 2002 David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK







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