Dean, B Water Music

The Australian composer’s music is rendered with powerful immediacy

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Brett Dean

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: BIS

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: BISCD1576

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Water Music Heinz Karl Gruber
Brett Dean Composer
Raschèr Saxophone Quartet
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Carlo Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Heinz Karl Gruber
Brett Dean Composer
Pastoral Symphony Brett Dean Composer
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Heinz Karl Gruber
(The) Siduri Dances Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Brett Dean
Sharon Bezaly
Brett Dean Composer

Whether in performance or on disc, Brett Dean’s stock has risen considerably this last decade, and this follow-up to an earlier BIS disc confirms his success as not merely fortuitous. The four works here span the decade of his transition from viola-player to composer, underlining both his technical resourcefulness and his environmental concerns. Water Music elides the timbral disparity of saxophone quartet and chamber orchestra with evident finesse – outlining a course in which water as “sound” and “image” is ultimately defined by its “absence”. This passing from idealised present to starkly imagined future is realised even more directly in Pastoral Symphony, in which a pervasive use of samples is the active context for a tightly argued discourse on pollution and deforestation – one that is no less musical for its being so graphically represented.

Siduri Dances is the expansion of an earlier work for solo flute, with Sharon Bezaly encompassing its pivoting between restraint and abandon with her customary poise. Musically, though, Carlo is a more engrossing listen: a portrait in sound of the late-Renaissance aristocrat-composer Carlo Gesualdo, whose life and music Dean rightly considers inseparable. Concrete allusions to Gesualdo’s music (via tape) and direct vocal interjections (via sampler) are presented in a continuous process that reveals more through closing in on itself – hence the suffocating climactic chord. This is rendered with powerful immediacy, as is everything else on a disc that, alongside informative booklet-notes, can be well recommended to Dean admirers and newcomers alike.

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