Magazine article Gramophone

Butler: Dirty Beasts

Magazine article Gramophone

Butler: Dirty Beasts

Article excerpt

Butler Dirty Beasts (a). Down--Hollow Winds (b). Fall (c). Lovesongs Waltzes (d). Preludes inegales (3). Rondes d'automne (f). Rumba Machine (e) (a) Simon Callow narr (c) Robert Manasse fl (d) Neyire Ashworth cl (f) Leon Bosch db (a)(c)(d)(e) Martin Butler pf (f) members of the Navarra Quartet; (a)(b)(f), New London Chamber Ensemble NMC (F) NMCD212 (78' * DDD)

Plenty of new music has pretensions it can't sustain. Not so Martin Butler's. His output comes close to post-minimalism yet there's no tendency to inflation or bombast and the harmonic language is clear and clean in a way that suggests American and French music from the middle of the last century--Stravinsky and even Debussy continue to loom large. Butler also has a real sense of humour. Listeners who find works for actor and ensemble intrinsically anomalous (and may blench at the prospect of three macabre verses by Roald Dahl treated to a 'modern' musical backdrop) will find no sense of condescension or complexification here. Simon Callow is splendid as the narrator and the New London Chamber Ensemble play with verve and commitment. Dirty Beasts should entertain children of all ages. …

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