Composer Oliver Davis is better known in Britain than elsewhere, but this collection of his music may well change that situation. Davis' music takes off from the modified minimalist language of later Philip Glass (although there is no indication of how much he has been directly influenced by Glass) and takes it a step further in the direction of neo-tonal Romantic orchestral music, adding solo instrumental parts that may carry specific extramusical connotations. In this case the extramusical content, as the title suggests, has to do with flight in each piece, although all the pieces are separate compositions. Davis is often active as a television soundtrack composer, and the music has an atmospheric flavor probably connected to that. The larger multi-movement concertos are the most characteristic, but for a taste of what Davis is like, sample the little Air Waltz (track 12), with its vocal "doo-doo-doo"s and multitracked violin part. It could easily have been cheesy on one hand or too abstract on the other, but Davis holds everything in a balance that's not evident at first hearing. Violinist Kerenza Peacock and the London Symphony Orchestra under Paul Bateman deliver an exceptionally controlled performance, and Davis himself as producer makes the studio sound part of the overall effect. Highly recommended for anyone interested in minimalist or crossover styles.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Manheim