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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent modern music stunningly performed and recorded., 11 July 2013
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This review is from: Pickard: Flight of Icarus (The) / The Spindle of Necessity / Channel Firing (Audio CD)
I first became aware of the music of John Pickard through my membership of the Havergal Brian Society of which he is a committee member. The chairman of the Society, Dr John Grimshaw, with whom I have also had considerable contact over the past two years, has fervently championed his music. I very much enjoyed the later BIS recording of John Pickard's orchestral music, as my previous review indicated. I thus greatly looked forward to listening to this CD. I have in no way been disappointed.

Both the Flight of Icarus and the Spindle of Necessity were inspired by Greek legend. Of the two works, I personally prefer the former, partly because the Spindle of Necessity is, in essence, a trombone concerto, which I have to confess is not one of my favourite instruments. However, there is still much to admire in the work, especially the slow section towards the end, representing the Spindle of Necessity itself. John Pickard bases the harmony on the natural overtones of the open strings, underpinned by the sounds of glissandi played in natural harmonics. I found this to be most effective and, at the same time, affecting.

The Flight of Icarus is a immensely impressive piece, wonderfully orchestrated, as indeed are all of the works. Again, I felt that the slow final section is the highlight and illustrates John Pickard's ability to compose music that is both very moving and imaginative.

Possibly, the final work on the CD, Channel Firing, is the finest of the three. The title, as John Pickard says in his own excellent programme notes, comes from a poem by Thomas Hardy, written shortly before the outbreak of the Great War, describing a night time scene in a churchyard on the south coast of England. As John Pickard says, the depiction of the sound of gunfire, brilliantly orchestrated by him, splits the night air, a sound loud enough to wake the dead, which in this case it actually does. By virtue of this depiction, I was immediately drawn into the drama of the piece and remained riveted to it until its end.

All of the participants in this wonderful CD deserve the highest accolade, including, the conductor, Martyn Brabbins and his excellent orchestra, Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra. Full marks must also be given to the sound engineer and to BIS for the supreme quality of the recording made in Norrkoping, Sweden.
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Location: Bristol England

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