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Colour returns in Nocturnal, a quartet for four flutes (piccolo, concert flute, alto and bass), piano, double-bass and percussion [listen -- track 2, 0:00-0:28]. There is virtuoso playing here, especially from Nancy Ruffer (flutes) and Corrado Canonici (double-bass), evoking mysterious intersections of the physical -- the sea, wind and waves -- with the metaphysical oceans of the mind. Melville's God-drenched Captain Ahab, quoted in the epigraph, tilts the balance strongly in favour of the latter, to produce haunted, strange, strangely beautiful music. It was written as a tribute to Edward Shipley.

Tesserae F: Domination in Black offers aural correspondences and analogies to Wallace Stevens' poem of the same name [listen -- track 3, 1:09-1:56]. Written for the Bass Clarinet (Andrew Sparling) 'in three verses', it has some of the surreality of imaginary dialogues invented and spoken to himself by a Beckettian tramp but, also, it's a wonderful palette of colours drawn from an instrument usually allowed only to croak, creak or croon inside much bigger orchestral textures.

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Copyright © 24 March 2002 Peter Dale, Danbury, Essex, UK






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