Paul Bateman / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Oliver Davis: Liberty

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The composer Oliver Davis is something of a British counterpart to Philip Glass, offering spritely short scores in contrast to the monumental quality of much of Glass' music. He achieves a lighter quality partly through the use of concerto and concertante scoring; his recordings have had violinist Kerenza Peacock as an ongoing collaborator, and she is here along with other solo players. Davis deploys simple tonal structures and these texture variations in the service of works that have specific programmatic connotations. These may be abstract (Spiral, Sonar), geographical (Lost Lake), abstract (in the case of the title work for violin, viola, piano, and strings), or mythological (Bacchus, Morpheus). Davis has composed a good deal of music for films, and he's quite effective at generating extramusical connotations from a minimum of materials. Sample Morpheus, a cello concerto, for an idea, and also to hear Davis' adept treatment of the cello as it slides among different roles. This music demands clean orchestral support, which Davis receives from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Paul Bateman. Recommended for those in sympathy with minimalist styles.

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