FINNIS The Air, Turning

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Edmund Finnis, Mark Simpson

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: NMC

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 71

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: NMCD249

NMCD249. FINNIS The Air, Turning

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
The Air, Turning Edmund Finnis, Composer
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Edmund Finnis, Composer
Ilan Volkov, Conductor
Elsewhere Edmund Finnis, Composer
Edmund Finnis, Composer
Eloise-Fleur Thom, Violin
Parallel Colour Edmund Finnis, Composer
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Edmund Finnis, Composer
Richard Baker, Conductor
Between Rain Edmund Finnis, Composer
Edmund Finnis, Composer
London Contemporary Orchestra
Robert Ames, Conductor
Four Duets Edmund Finnis, Composer
Edmund Finnis, Composer
Mark Simpson, Composer
Víkingur Ólafsson, Piano
Shades Lengthen Edmund Finnis, Composer
Andrew Gourlay, Conductor
Benjamin Beilman, Violin
Britten Sinfonia
Edmund Finnis, Composer
Edmund Finnis (b1984) teaches composition at the Royal Academy of Music and is Composer-in-Residence with the London Contemporary Orchestra, for whom he wrote the fine string-orchestral essay Between Rain (2014), included on this NMC Debut disc. The only other music of his on disc I can trace are Variation 10, the penultimate item of the collaborative Panufnik Variations (LSO Live, 6/16) and the viola study Veneer (London Sinfonietta, 2/13).

These six works provide a good perspective of his compositional range. The biggest, though not the longest piece is The Air, Turning (2016), a full-orchestral tone poem taking its title from a line in Robin Robertson’s poem ‘Finding the keys’. As a study in sound, of the impact of sound upon the air, it is fascinating but has a preludial feel and breaks off just as one expects a larger movement to follow. This is a recurrent trait of Finnis’s style.

Much of his music is quiet and texturally spare, not unlike Laurence Crane’s but with a good deal more going on – as in Elsewhere (2015), where Eloisa-Fleur Thom’s beautifully played violin is ‘accompanied’ by reverb only, or the delicate Four Duets for clarinet and piano (2012), exquisitely played by Mark Simpson and Víkingur Ólafsson. Finnis’s acute ear for sonority is demonstrated in Parallel Colour (2015), seven brief movements (only the central fourth has an extended span, just over four minutes) employing mirror techniques and exquisitely scored. However, Finnis does not display instrumental cleverness merely for its own sake, as Shadows Lengthen (2015), four movements towards a violin concertino, amply confirm.

The performances throughout are nicely done and NMC has engineered them (made at four locations at different times) very well to sound of a piece. An intriguing disc of a composer to watch.

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