Best known for his many and varied scores for stage and screen, Jonathan Goldstein brings a more personal perspective to bear on ‘Cyclorama’: a series of 20 individual pieces, the follow-through between them making for a seamless continuity. Thus the gentle eloquence of Reverie heads into the wistful narrative of Notturno and then the sensuous interplay of Everywhere, so setting a pensive overall tone which is duly intensified and even offset – hence the timbral starkness of Elegy and also the suave charms of Memento mori respectively – without that mood ever being seriously undermined.
The scoring is centred on the Balanescu Quartet, with a discreet measure of tuned percussion and subtle enhancements from saxophonist Martin Robertson in such as the bluesy poise of Diurno and pianist James Pearson (familiar from his incisive work with Ronnie Scott’s house trio) in such as the limpid elegance of Prelude for Piano and Strings. There is little real complexity, yet textures become more intricate in the cumulative expression of Pavane and the ominous tread of Prisoner’s Tale. The tonal purity of soprano Grace Davidson is heard on three items, above all the distanced emotion of the setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Where the bee sucks’ with which this sequence ends. It would be all too easy to dismiss this as a belated addition to the numerous releases of a post-minimalist complexion that have appeared over recent years, yet all those who value fine musicianship will find much pleasurable listening on this concise and often haunting album.