Magazine article Gramophone

Martland: American Invention

Magazine article Gramophone

Martland: American Invention

Article excerpt

Martland [G] [R]

American Invention [a]. Beat the Retreat [b]. Crossing the Border [a]. Eternal Delight [b]. Mr Anderson's Pavane [b]. Patrol [c]. Shoulder to Shoulder [a]

[a] The Steve Martland Band / Steve Martland; [b] The Smith Quartet

NMC [M] (2) NMCD210 (146' * DDD)

From [a] Factory FACD366 (9/92); [b] Black Box BBM1033 (A/01); [c] BMG 09026 62670-2

This is, finally, the memorial that all of us who were admirers of Steve Martland's music have been waiting for. His passing in 2013, before he had reached the age of 60, left a tremendous gap in British contemporary music, and this double-CD of his music deserves the widest possible circulation. Martland was, of course, a maverick. He studied in Amsterdam with Louis Andriessen, and that influence stayed with him, as he would have been the first to acknowledge. Andriessen contributes a brief text, both moving and amusing, to the booklet, incidentally; there are also other indications of just how loved Martland was, in a note by Joe Duddell and short memorial tributes from people as various as Alex Poots, Robert Katz and the late John Tavener (of whose music Martland was a great admirer).

Three of the tracks, Shoulder to Shoulder, American Invention and Crossing the Border, come from the long-unavailable but hugely significant Factory Classics disc, recorded in 1991; Patrol is from a 1993 recording and the rest was set down in 2000. While the enormous value of this anthology can only be celebrated, these dates lead one to lament the lack of more recent recordings of Martland's work and also to wonder whether NMC have plans to reissue the Factory recording of the magnificent Babi Yar.

Both Andriessen and Duddell talk about Martland's brilliance and sparkling wit, and that is the first thing that springs to mind on listening to the opening Horses of Instruction. …

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