An impressive achievement
Mirrors of Fire
by Tim Kain -
'Kain's playing is marvellous.'
The major piece on this disc is not the title track but Nigel Westlake's Antarctica. It is a substantial re-working of music originally composed for an Imax film about the frozen continent and the movement titles still reflect its origins. Westlake calls it a 'suite for guitar and orchestra' -- that is, not quite a concerto -- but the distinction does not seem terribly important. The soloist's role might perhaps be interpreted for programmatic reasons as the voice of mankind in a spectacular but indifferent environment, but that is at least analogous to the solo-orchestra opposition of a concerto
[listen -- track 9, 1:13-2:08].
The Tasmanian Symphony is one of the smallest of Australia's State orchestras but has a well-earned national reputation for excellence. It is hard to imagine a better realisation of the score than they give us here under David Porcelijn. Colours are vivid, rhythms are precise, and the orchestra changes direction on the point of an icicle
[listen -- track 11, 1:22-2:33].
Antarctica is a very attractive work in its final form but betrays its origins as programme music in that some transitions lack apparent musical logic. It is not a major fault, but if it troubles the listener there are always the alternatives of listening to the film version (a previous Tall Poppies release) or perhaps even seeing the film.
Copyright © 19 June 2005
Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia