Composer Jonathan Dove is known mostly for opera, a field in which he has been both prolific and successful. This collection of his orchestral music is strongly marked by his operatic experience, with more than half of the music actually either coming from an opera (Airport Scenes, an orchestral suite from his opera Flight, which was based on the same story as the Tom Hanks film The Terminal), or including a vocalist; Hojoki (An Account of My Hut) is nearly 30 minutes long and is the centerpiece of the album. Based on a 13th century Japanese text about a figure who responded to troubles in society by retreating to a small hut in the mountains. It's claimed to be the largest work ever written for countertenor and orchestra, and it's an absorbing philosophical work with an admirably clear reading by countertenor Lawrence Zazzo. Sample the opening "Take-Off" from Airport Scenes; it embodies an airliner takeoff in inventive ways, and the rest of the work is accessible to any audience. The final Gaia Theory (an homage to the ideas of James Lovelock) is an attractively lively work if a bit less immediately programmatic, and there are two curtain-raisers to start; The Ringing Isle takes its title from Handel's characterization of Britain. All these works are appealing examples of contemporary British style, and the album's commercial success has been no surprise.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Airport Scenes, orchestral suite from the opera "Flight"|