Michael Zev Gordon: The Impermanence Of Things

BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, London Sinfonietta, Ryan Wigglesworth, Huw Watkins

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Format: CDR

Cat No: NMCD277

Release Date:  19 April 2024

Label:  NMC Recordings

Packaging Type:  Jewel Case

No of Units:  1

Barcode:  5023363027724

Genres:  Classical  

  • Description

    Michael Zev Gordon is a composer whose music is deeply engaged with the subjects of memory and loss. These themes are central to the three large-scale works which comprise this new portrait album, named The Impermanence of Things.

    The album opens with a seven-movement orchestral work performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jukka Pekka Saraste, which explores our awareness of the passing of time. Time pushes on, time pulls back, before seeming to stand still completely as we journey towards the end of the work. The final movement shares its name with the overall title – Bohortha – which is a tiny village lying at the end of a remote Cornish peninsula, an evocative symbol of open-endedness.

    If Bohortha consists of many small, contrasting fragments, the Violin Concerto is constructed more conventionally, with both the work's structure and expressive character being influenced by early exploratory sessions with the soloist, Carolin Widmann. Gordon has commented that he was inspired by 'just how many nuances of singing she could bring to her instrument: intense and open, strained and fragile'. Lyrical melodies collide with dissonant clusters in this recording by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Catherine Larsen-Maguire.

    Conventions are again turned on their head in The Impermanence of Things for piano (Huw Watkins), ensemble (London Sinfonietta) and electronics. Rather than playing the traditional soloist role, the piano instead acts as a linchpin, around which thirteen short movements revolve. Throughout the work, a constant tension between forward and backward, reveals an ultimate yearning for stillness in the present.

    Gordon has been the recipient of the Prix Italia, and two British Composer Awards. Two previous portrait discs – On Memory (NMC D144) and In the Middle of Things – were both in The Times' '100 Best Albums of the Year' lists.

    "Watkins is quicksilver in his switching of personality and tone, the Sinfonietta razor sharp in their interjections, with the electronics contributing a kaleidoscopic sheen." – The Arts Desk


    "there is always much to listen to in the kaleidoscopic scoring, expertly realised by Sarasate and the BBC Symphony. […] utterly gripping." – BBC Music Magazine *****

  • Tracklisting

      Disc 1

      Side 1

      • 1. Bohortha, Seven Pieces for Orchestra: I. Lost Worlds
      • 2. Bohortha, Seven Pieces for Orchestra: II. Broken Pieces
      • 3. Bohortha, Seven Pieces for Orchestra: III. Ancora Venezia
      • 4. Bohortha, Seven Pieces for Orchestra: IV. Still Centre
      • 5. Bohortha, Seven Pieces for Orchestra: V. On Gossamer Wings
      • 6. Bohortha, Seven Pieces for Orchestra: VI. Terrifying Angel
      • 7. Bohortha, Seven Pieces for Orchestra: VII. Bohortha
      • 8. Violin Concerto: I. Very Still, Intense; Moderato
      • 9. Violin Concerto: II. Spacious, Still; Lightly Dancing
      • 10. Violin Concerto: III. Spacious; Gently Flowing; Always Simple
      • 11. The Impermanence of Things: I. True singing is a different breath, about nothing
      • 12. The Impermanence of Things: II. So we live here, forever taking leave
      • 13. The Impermanence of Things: III. All things want to fly
      • 14. The Impermanence of Things: IV. Though the pool's reflection often blurs before us
      • 15. The Impermanence of Things: V. Every angel is terrifying
      • 16. The Impermanence of Things: VI. All that's hurrying will quickly be past
      • 17. The Impermanence of Things: VII. Be forever dead in Eurydice
      • 18. The Impermanence of Things: VIII. Another elegiac
      • 19. The Impermanence of Things: IX. From which flit ecstatic butterflies
      • 20. The Impermanence of Things: X. Through a glass mountain
      • 21. The Impermanence of Things: XI. And those who are beautiful, oh who can retain them?
      • 22. The Impermanence of Things: XII. Learn to forget that passionate music
      • 23. The Impermanence of Things: XIII. May his memory be a blessing