Magazine article Gramophone

B Dean: 'Shadow Music'

Magazine article Gramophone

B Dean: 'Shadow Music'

Article excerpt

B Dean

'Shadow Music'

Beethoven String Quartet No 7, Op 59 No 1--Adagio molto e mesto (arr Dean) B Dean Etudenfest (a). Shadow Music. Short Stories. Testament

(a) Magnus Skoldpf

Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Brett Dean BIS (F) [SACD] BIS2194 (66' * DDD/DSD)

This superb new release in BIS's series devoted to Brett Dean takes its name of the longest piece in the collection. Shadow Music is an anxious 2002 triptych with the whimpering, straining 'Forgotten Garden' at its core, an evocation of verdure that's 'a shadow of its former self (Dean) and not at all happy about it.

But the recording's title applies throughout, too, though the shadows come in differing shades. First there's the shadow of other musicians in Etudenfest (2000), a harrowing portrait of string players at practice. A blurry whirl of etudes, finger turners, scales and arpeggios creates a neurotic chaos, the music seeming at one point to drift off to sleep, with exercises the only dreams, before tuning up again in a daze. At the end, an unwelcome interloper breaks in--a pianist, inciting mayhem and collapse. …

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