O DAVIS Flight. Voyager. Airborne Dances
Mainly set down in one session, Oliver Davis’s ‘Flight’ is a loose concept built around the violin-playing of Kerenza Peacock. It opens with the eponymous concerto, whose joining of rhythmic incisiveness with slow-burning modal harmonies sets the course for the album as a whole, not forgetting subtleties such as the deft segueing between its final two movements. More varied in content, Voyager is more expressively wide-ranging – though it is a pity that the piano part often does little more than underpin chord changes in the string-writing; the more so when Huw Watkins was on hand as a formidable exponent. Most engaging of the larger works, Airborne Dances is a feat of recording in which the multitracked Peacock plays several violins in the context of two violas, cello and double bass: music audacious on a production level at least.
The shorter pieces are not without their attractions – whether in the blithe syncopation of Skyward, the Swingle-like vocal phasing of Air Waltz or the gentle ‘touchdown’ of Epilogue. No quibbles as to Peacock’s commitment or panache, while Paul Bateman gets a disciplined response from the London Symphony Orchestra, heard to advantage in the pristine acoustic of AIR Studios. Davis supplies the brief background note but this is not music that requires any greater introduction as such. Remaining adherents of the CD might well consider the overall playing time to be just a little ungenerous, though this is arguably one instance where more could have resulted in that much less.