Evelyn Glennie in concert...
FRACTURED LINES - Double Percussion Concerto on a tune by Peter Erskine
and other works by Mark-Anthony Turnage
Leonard Slatkin conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra




First Lady of Solo Percussion
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Fractured Lines
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TURNAGE premiere recordings
- a FanFaire/Chandos - IPR CD Giveaway (CHAN #10018)

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TURNAGE is the contemporary British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. One of Britain's most acclaimed living composers, he writes for both the concert hall and the opera house. His works, straddling classical music and jazz, are his creative response to life and art and the world around him. His orchestral compositions often involve soloists (he makes music "for people"), as in the work highlighted here in celebration of percussionist Evelyn Glennie's selection as Musical America's "Instrumentalist of the Year."
FRACTURED LINES premiered at the BBC Proms* in 2000 but has since been revised by the composer to its present, perhaps final form - lighter, more jazzy and more tuneful. It is a concerto for double percussion - opening with the threatening thunder of a solitary drum, rolling as it slowly summons the orchestra amidst a resonance of metal and other percussion instruments toward the articulation of a unifying eight-bar motif based on jazz virtuoso Peter Erskine's tune.

The motif repeats in various forms, broken up a la "fractured lines" through the lento and agitato moments of the piece and as it does, Glennie's marimba gains dominance alongside Erskine's drums. Glennie, who can work magic with drums as well, shares instruments with Erskine in parts of the orchestration. But in this piece, Glennie deftly demonstrates that the marimba, that most melodic of "beaten" instruments, can indeed hold its own as a solo concert instrument, a fascinating source of rich and wide-ranging resonances.


The prized features of this showpiece are the cadenzas Turnage composed for Glennie's (pitched) marimba and Erskine's (unpitched) drums - with improvisation allowed, as if underscoring the soloists' very different musical backgrounds (Glennie's classical and Erskine's jazz). The cadenzas demarcate the work into three informal sections and while the subtle tension apparent throughout the piece between the solo instruments could in lesser hands very well have broken down into a nasty case of "fractured lines," it does not. In this as in all of Turnage's works, often darkly dissonant, classical music and the elements of jazz in the end converge in a spirit of friendly harmony.
Listen to a clip from "Fractured Lines" with the full orchestra and most all the percussive elements in play:

 
from "Fractured Lines" - track 4

Other works on the CD include:
Another Set To - For trombone and orchestra / Bluesy and Free with Christian Lindberg, trombone (Track 1)

Silent Cities (revisited version) - Variants currounding a tune by John Scofield / For Orchestra / Nagging and obsessive - Calmer - With movement - Hazy and unclear - Clean and rhythmic - Smooth and serene (Track 2)

Four-Horned Fandango - For four horns and orchestra / Murky - Bell-like - Strange and subdued - Gradually building / Fandango. Tight and rhythmic - Forceful - Murky and sinister - Spacious - Light and eerie

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*BBC Proms - (Proms for Promenade concerts) perhaps the world's oldest perennially running international music festivals, founded in 1895 by impressario Robert Newman "to present the widest range of music, performed to the highest standards, to large audiences." Today concerts are held at the Royal Albert Hall, the Proms' home for the last 60 years. Programs now includes operas as well as concerts, which are broadcast on BBC Radio and occasionally on BBC Television.
(Real Player required to hear music clips. Download now.)
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  Fractured Lines  UCLA Live 2007 

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