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    Kevin Volans – Orchestral Works

    Kevin Volans - Orchestral Works

    Although I’ve met and come to know a plethora of Kevins throughout my life, I’ve never once met Kevin Volans. Hmmm. How could that be? Perhaps the fact that I live in the United States and he was born in 1949 in South Africa and has spent much of his life in Ireland contributes to the reason why. I wonder if I changed my name to Kevin if Kevin Volans and I would ever meet? I ask because I once read a theory that all Kevins meet eventually. Considering the direction the human race is headed, it won’t surprise me if the whole Earth is filled with nothing but Kevins in the not-too-distant future. Anyway…

    “As a student in the 1970s, Kevin Volans studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel in Cologne, where he became involved with the Cologne School of post-minimalist ‘new simplicity.’ Around 1979, Kevin began writing pieces based upon African compositional techniques, which made him one of the most distinctive composers on the European new music circuit at the time. His works of the late 1980s and early ’90s show a move away from the direct influence of African music toward a highly personal sort of minimalism. Part of this may have been the influence of the American composer Morton Feldman, who was a close friend. A close working relationship with the London-based Duke Quartet led Kevin to write more for the string quartet. For much of the late ’90s, he concentrated on dance collaborations with such choreographers as Jonathan Burrows and Siobhan Davies. Since 2000, however, he has devoted most of his energy to orchestral works.”–Wikipedia

    Containing three works spanning from 1995-2012, the Orchestral Pieces CD kicks off with a live recording of “Trio Concerto,” a work in three parts. On part one, piano, violins and wind instruments conduct a series of  short outbursts with a few homely melodies strung underneath it all. With its shrill lashes from the horns and swirling, menacing strings, part two is more severe, like a gathering storm. Halfway through, it sounds like a giant, agitated washing machine. Part three is a combination of the first two, proffering an onslaught of foul weather density like an out of control choo-choo train burrowing its way into the Earth’s mantle.

    Inspired by avant-garde music of the second half of the 20th century, and based on a traditional South African folk song, “Symphony Daar Kom Die Alabama” is a “juxtaposition of different orchestral textures” with no theme, motif, development or climax. The piece switches back and forth repeatedly and rather abruptly from sparse, mellow and minimal atmospheres, turning all densely dissonant, then melodically hovering–finally ending with a series of very loud siren calls. Closing out the disc is “Concerto For Piano and Winds,” in which the composer treats the orchestra like a “vast panpipe ensemble, in which each instrument is treated as an equal (and frequently opposite) partner of its neighbor. The instruments are often interlocked, in a way that one part compliments another.”

    Label: RTE Lyric FM Catalog Number: CD147 Format: CD Packaging: Digi-Pak Tracks: 5 Total Time: 72:57 Country: Ireland Released: 2014 More: Ears Wide Open, Official, LA Phil, Spotify

    Text ©2016 Arcane Candy

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