Music For My Love
In October 2014 Yodit Tekle – the partner of Toccata Classics’ founder Martin Anderson – was diagnosed with cancer. Anderson asked Steve Elcock to write ‘a few notes’ to comfort her in her illness, and in a single day Elcock composed the charming Song for Yodit. Tragically, she died a few months later; Anderson canvassed composers that he knew (and he knows quite a few) to write memorial pieces for her, all for string orchestra, following Elcock’s format. To his astonishment, 100 composers (including some prominent names, several included here, plus – to come – David Matthews, Matthew Taylor, Anthony Payne and many more) have undertaken to do so. Forty works have been delivered thus far. This, then, is the first volume in an enterprise quite unprecedented in modern composition – or recording.
I had the pleasure, unlike most of the composers, to have known Yodit a little. She was a woman of quiet dignity and this quality has been captured in this remarkable sequence of works which – for all the diversity of style, scale and format – plays through like one huge mega composition. Much is elegiac, as one would expect, but there are future classics: Poul Ruders’s Lullaby, its context changed utterly by its final chord; John Pickard’s Donne inspired …forbidding mourning…; Ragnar Söderlind’s brilliant variation set; and Colin Matthews’s magical arrangement of Maddalena Casulana’s beautiful 1570 madrigal, which closes the programme.
The performances are sensitively realised under Paul Mann’s firm direction (his idiomatic arrangement of Jon Lord also features). There could well be another eight or nine discs in this series; if anywhere near the quality of this first volume, they will be self-recommending. A really wonderful disc that I have played over and over