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Julian Anderson: Fantasias / The Crazed Moon / The Discovery of Heaven

Julian Anderson , Ryan Wigglesworth , Vladimir Jurowski , London Philharmonic Orchestra Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £11.15 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Ryan Wigglesworth, Vladimir Jurowski
  • Composer: Julian Anderson
  • Audio CD (4 Nov 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: LPO
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,829 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Fantasias - London Philharmonic Orchestra
2. The Crazed Moon - London Philharmonic Orchestra
3. The Discovery of Heaven - London Philharmonic Orchestra

Product Description


Julian Anderson has been the London Philharmonic's resident composer since 2010. This disc brings together three of the works that the orchestra has performed as part of that association. The Crazed Moon, first performed in 1997, represents the early Anderson: denser, more tangled than his recent music, with the debts to the French spectralists more overt, but the energy and proliferation of its ideas have remained typical of his music ever since. The contrast with the clarity and linear writing of the most recent piece here, The Discovery of Heaven, is marked; that was commissioned by the LPO, and this recording was taken from last year's premiere, conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. But it's the vivid recording of the third work here that makes the biggest impression. Fantasias was commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra and premiered in 2009; the National Youth Orchestra introduced it to Britain the following year. Essentially a five-movement concerto for orchestra, full of spectacular effects, textural sleights of hand and lightning-fast changes of direction, it's Anderson's most vivid, most approachable orchestral work to date. **** --Guardian, 31/10/13

This might just be the new music you've been waitung for, its wow-factor surface fluency only part of the story. Strongly recommended. GRAMOPHONE CHOICE --Gramophone, Jan'14

The piece as a whole demonstrates Anderson's orchestral prowess at its keenest, and is sensitively realized by the LPO. Excellent release. --IRR,Jan'14

These are three complex and demanding score but they are delivered with great assurance and expertise by the LPO under Vladimir Jurowski and Ryan Wigglesworth. The LPO deserve praise not just for the conviction of their performances here but also for their enterprise in issuing on their own label not just this disc but also several previous ones of contemporary music. --Music Web

Product Description

London Philharmonic Orchestra - Vladimir Jurowski & Ryan Wigglesworth, direction

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a chance ... this disc is worth getting! 3 Jan 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I bought this disc as a result of a few favourable reviews published in national newspapers and I'm glad I did. Lover's like me of late Romantic music - from Mahler, Stravinsky, Legeti and Strauss onwards will readily appreciate how composer Julian Anderson moulds the rich musical vocabulary and syntax at his disposal into forms that are at once austerely beautiful, intense and almost puckish on occasion. The music may be grand and forbidding at first hearing but as works like `The Crazed Moon' and `Fantasias' demonstrate, Anderson allows the listener a way in. Moods change, thunderous trumpet blats come and go and piercing string motifs sound out but beneath it all there is dramatic tension,rhythmic incident and melody aplenty to sustain interest.

I am no music critic but I can hear adventurous composition and engagement from an orchestra and conductor when I hear it. And hear it I do on this disc, with exciting performance, taut direction and a deep understanding of the composers intentions by orchestra and conductor.Add in comprehensive sleevenotes and outstanding recorded sound and you have a very desirable disc indeed. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music Well Worth Getting to Know 11 Dec 2013
By Mr. A. R. Boyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
You know that you have arrived as a composer when one of your works receives a second recording: "The Crazed Moon" receives another fine performance following its appearance on his debut, award winning; "Alhambra Fantasy" album. It is quite a dark and atmospheric piece, in part a memorial to a musical colleague.

The other two works presented receive their premiere recordings and continue to show the same orchestral virtuosity, colour, rhythmic vitality, clarity and harmonic richness. "Fantasias" is effectively a five movement concerto for orchestra and is possibly the most approachable of all the three works here. "The Discovery of Heaven" is the most recent work of the three displaying the same qualities. It seems to move from an ethereal, heavenly plane, in the first movement to become increasingly earthbound and urban over the following two. It's the richest and most substantial of the three works.

If you're new to his music then useful points of reference are early Stravinsky, spectral harmonies, Lutoslawski and even a touch of later Britten in his harmonies. It is contemporary music that is instantly approachable without ever pandering to commercial fashion. These live performances by the LPO are well recorded with little background noise and perhaps the bass instruments sound a little thin on this recording - but that's a very minor quibble. There are three albums, as I write, now dedicated to Anderson's music and I recommend all wholeheartedly. This latest is a very welcome addition.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Julian Anderson: Fantasias etc. 4 Mar 2014
By Mike H
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
New British orchestral works! Bought it without listening to any samples and the gamble paid off. Superbly recorded disc of vibrant new works by Anderson. The music is brassy and sparkling. After a couple of hearings you can hear the Tippet and Stravinsky influences coming out. Good to see new orchestral works being released on disc. More please!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skillful contemporary works long on color and texture - a nod to Jurowski's musical interests 24 Jan 2014
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format:Audio CD
these three live performances will introduce Julian Anderson to most US listeners, and given the absence of notice at amazon, I doubt it will be a major event. Decades ago British audiences were reluctant to step into the 20th century beyond Vaughan Williams and Elgar, later adding Arnold and Walton but never abiding the Second Viennese School or even much Stravinsky. thanks to the BBC, this has changed; the roster of contemporary music at the summer Proms is heavy with modern music and world premieres. Anderson, now 46, hasn't risen to the status of Ades, Birtwistle, Turnage, and Maxwell Davies, but he's gotten as far as being composer in residence of the London Phil. since 2010.

Vladimir Jurowski has said in interviews that if he had his way, the LPO season would be entirely contemporary music; brave but rather callous words if he implies disrespect to the great composers of the past. One imagines that this disc, which is unlikely to sell well, bows to his predilections, as past releases of Turnage did. Here's the program of three works:
world premiere recording
Vladimir Jurowski, cond.
The Crazed Moon
Vladimir Jurowski, cond.
The Discovery of Heaven
world premiere recording & performance
Ryan Wigglesworth, cond.

Fantasias, in five brief movements, relies a great deal on twiddling and chirping sounds, which have a long tradition, of course, from the Beethoven Pastorale Sym. to the manybirdsong-decorated scores of Messiaen. Since my copy is a download, I don't know if Anderson had birds in mind; there is a restless chipping away in this music that irritated me after two or three movements. One can do worse than say, as the Guardian critic did, that the music is "full of spectacular effects, textural sleights of hand and lightning-fast changes of direction." Pointillism comes to mind as an analogy to painting, although I was at a loss to see a picture among the dots.

The Crazed Moon, in one 14-minute movement, comes from an earlier period - it was premiered in 1997 - and is said to owe much to "French spectralism." It was inspired by the passing of a friend who died young. To be pragmatic, audiences take what their given when it comes to contemporary music and then give a quick reaction before blanking out what they've heard and moving on. Contemporary composers, with few exceptions, operate in a coterie of like-minded specialists. Here Anderson exploits, some deep, growling tones flecked with single notes from the harp and other bits of color. As is often the case, the title, taken from a poem by Yeats, gives little hint of the music itself - nothing here seems crazed or moon-like, although the static pace and gauzy spectrum could be called nocturnal and elegiac. Reading the notes would be a help, naturally. eventually the music becomes more manic and percussive, so crazy and lunatic might apply. As with Ades, the overall experience is fairly easy to appreciate as orchestral sound, if without comprehension.

The Discovery of Heaven, in three movements of roughly 7 min. each, feels texturally different from the previous works but rather the same, too, in that texture and color are all an ordinary listener is likely to grasp. Theme, variation, melody, diatonic harmonies, and so on are either absent or well buried beneath the bright, shifting surface. Generally, compositions survive on the strength of having a memorable personality. As with much else in contemporary music, these skillful, assured works need a great deal more exposure before anyone will know if Anderson has a chance to endure.

Like the Guardian critic, I'll take the safe way out, give four stars to acknowledge how well the whole thing is done, and try to grasp what I can as I listen.
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