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Monday, April 5, 2021

Anna Clyne - Mythologies (Various Artists)


Composer: Anna Clyne
  1. Masquerade
  2. This Midnight Hour
  3. The Seamstress
  4. Night Ferry
  5. <<rewind<<

Jennifer Koh, violin (3)
Irene Buckley, voice (3)

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor (1)
Sakari Oramo, conductor (2, 3)
Andrew Litton, conductor (4)
André de Ridder, conductor (5)

Date: 2020
Label: Avie



Mark Pullinger wrote movingly of Anna Clyne’s cello concerto DANCE (2019) in the August issue, concluding that it ‘should make many friends’. So, too, will this all-Clyne release from Avie, featuring five vibrant, exuberantly scored and appealing works. Composed over the past 15 years, the pieces are arranged not in chronological order but in an engrossingly musical sequence not unlike that of a concert. At its heart is another concerto, for violin, The Seamstress (2014). On her website, the composer describes this not so much as a concerto but as ‘an imaginary one-act ballet’ where the title character’s mind wanders into a series of tales ranging ‘from love to despair, and that combine memory with fantasy’. It is beautifully played by Jennifer Koh (for whom it was written) and given an extra dimension by the incursion of Irene Buckley’s whispered declamation of the Yeats verse that inspired it.

The ‘overture’ is the bracing Masquerade, written for the 2013 Last Night of the Proms. This would seem to be that terrific performance, directed by Marin Alsop (a shame the applause is omitted). At a snip under five minutes in length, Masquerade is the shortest composition here, briefer even than the concluding, irresistible toccata <<rewind<< (2005). The complex, volatile Night Ferry (2012) was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a companion piece to works by Schubert and inspired by that composer’s ‘violent mood swings’ and ‘bursts of manic creativity’.

To my mind the most impressive piece here is This Midnight Hour (2015), inspired by poems by Baudelaire and Juan Ramón Jiménez, compact, compelling and tautly directed by Oramo. Irrespective of the conductors, it is the BBC Symphony Orchestra who shine throughout, with superbly mastered sound (by Jody Elff). Another winner from Avie.

-- Guy Rickards, Gramophone


Anna Clyne (born 9 March 1980, in London) is an English composer. She studied music at the University of Edinburgh and the Manhattan School of Music; her teachers have included Marina Adamia, Marjan Mozetich and Julia Wolfe. Clyne was composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony (2010-14), the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France (2014-16), the Baltimore Symphony (2015-16), and the Berkeley Symphony (2017-19). She was appointed Associate Composer with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for 2019-22. Clyne's music is represented on such labels as AVIE, Cantaloupe, Cedille and Tzadik.


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