Contredanse du Silène Badouny (1998 spot the anagram!) is a capricious take on the idealised (!) French conception of the English country-dance. Scintillating keyboard writing, amply brought out by Nicolas Hodges, gave the music a playful feel in spite of its complexity almost as if Gershwin were rethinking Boulezs Second Sonata. Perhaps this was the intention?
Des caresses ... (1994) is very different: a passacaglia on not so much a theme as a harmonic progression that fails to resolve. The music is sensuous, and ravishingly scored, though the process does seem to lose focus when it turns back on itself just past mid-point. It made an admirable foil, even so, to Du fouet et du plaisir (1997) a chamber concerto whose initial stark juxtaposition sets up an engrossing interplay of character and motion, out of which a new synthesis securely clinches proceedings. Dialectics made fun, or at least entertaining.
Performances of the latter two pieces were given with no little enjoyment by Philharmonia musicians under the ever-capable Martyn Brabbins. Mention should be made of two Bouliane CDs La Musique du Realisme Magique [SNE-543-CD and SNE-544-CD] featuring a range of ensemble works and worth importing via a specialist dealer from Canada. Meanwhile, the opportunity to renew acquaintance live with Boulianes very diverting music will hopefully not be too long in coming.
- Next MOT, featuring Simon Holt, on 6 February 2003, 6.00 in RFH no ticket required, just turn up
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