Topologies play music by Alwynne Pritchard -
reviewed by PATRIC STANDFORD
'... excellent playing ...'
There is no doubt that Alwynne Pritchard is an original inventor
in the soundscaping business. Her work is a series of sound
installations relying as much on the vividly inventive imaginations
and interpretations of her performers as upon her own visually
diverting but esoteric scores. She places sounds in a broad
landscape of silence inviting her listeners to wait for events and
find their own associations with which to make sense of their
apparently unrelated sequence. Her soundscapes communicate an
impression of one searching but never finding, improvising endlessly
without discovering any satisfying and usable material; her work
feels like the quiet frustrations of one wanting to compose.
She was born in Glasgow in 1968 and moved from London's Guildhall
School of Music to the Royal Academy and on into the 90s to work
with an impressive list of performers and ensembles, not least of
which Ian Pace and Topologies whose excellent playing makes this CD.
The accompanying booklet is an extended interview between the composer
and Ian Pace, self-consciously resisting lucidity.
The two longest pieces in the recital are Matrix, an exploration
for electric violin, performed by Darragh Morgan
[listen -- track 5, 10:00-10:50] and the title
piece Invisible Cities played by the redoubtable Ian Pace
[listen -- track 10, 9:24-10:20]. There is a
Piano Quintet called Barbara Allen, a lament stimulated by a Yorkshire
mining accident a century and a half ago in which eleven young child workers
were drowned [listen -- track 2, 0:00-1:00].
Alan Thomas plays two versions of a solo
guitar piece, Nostos ou Topos, the performance of which is open to
various interpretations, and he accompanies on electric guitar Pritchard
herself, reading the Spanish instructions for her food processor.
Is it taking us back eighty years to Russolo, L'arte dei rumori?
Well, it can be gentle, like the trio for clarinet, violin and cello
stimulated by a poem written in 1958 by Heiner Müller,
Der glücklose Engel. It all adds up to a very clear Alwynne
Copyright © 6 August 2003
Patric Standford, Wakefield, UK
BUY THIS DISC FROM CROTCHET
Invisible Cities - Alwynne Pritchard - Topologies
MSV CD92040 DDD Stereo 73'47" 2002 David Lefeber, Metier Sound & Vision
Topologies: Ian Pace, piano; Darragh Morgan, violin; Chris George, violin; Bridget Carey, viola; Betsy Taylor, cello; Alan Thomas, guitar; Alwynne Pritchard, voice; Guy Cowley, E flat clarinet
Alwynne Pritchard: Spring (1996); Piano Quintet: Barbara Allen (2000); Nostos Ou Topos (2000); Matrix (2001); Der Zwerg (1998); Kit (1999); Der Glücklose Engel (1999); Invisible Cities (1999)