Mind of Winter: The Music of George Benjamin

A Mind of Winter: The Music of George Benjamin

by Mark Elder
     
 
George Benjamin began attracting attention at an age when most contemporary composers are still struggling to get their works performed by their fellow conservatory students. Having traveled to France as a teenager to study with Olivier Messiaen, Benjamin was tapped by Nimbus for a recording contract -

Overview

George Benjamin began attracting attention at an age when most contemporary composers are still struggling to get their works performed by their fellow conservatory students. Having traveled to France as a teenager to study with Olivier Messiaen, Benjamin was tapped by Nimbus for a recording contract -- a rare privilege for any composer these days -- before he turned 20. Now, in honor of the composer's 40th birthday, Nimbus has assembled this retrospective of his most important works from the 1980s. Championed by Pierre Boulez, Benjamin's music reflects the influence of the French avant-garde more than his English heritage. What's most striking in all these early works is the composer's remarkably inventive and consummately controlled approach to instrumental color. The works' titles -- "Ringed by the Flat Horizon," for example, or "At First Light" -- provide an evocative frame for the music's vivid hues without being overtly programmatic. Benjamin's sonic impressionism harks back to Debussy, with allusions to nature that drift in and out of focus. In "A Mind of Winter," Benjamin crafts an icy setting of Wallace Stevens' poem "The Snow Man" for soprano soloist, and in "Antara" he explores the interaction between electronic and acoustic instruments, featuring synthesized panpipe sounds similar to those in his brief electronic work "Panorama." These recordings from the 1980s, led mostly by the composer, splendidly convey the complexity and refinement of the scores, which offer challenges but also many rewards to adventurous listeners.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/11/2000
Label:
Nimbus Records
UPC:
0710357564321
catalogNumber:
5643
Rank:
191965

Tracks

  1. Ringed by the flat Horizon for orchestra  - George Benjamin  -  BBC Symphony Orchestra  - Mark Elder  - Ross Pople
  2. A Mind of Winter for soprano & chamber orchestra  - George Benjamin  - George Benjamin  - Paul Archibald  -  London Sinfonietta  - Wallace Stevens  - Penelope Walmsley-Clark
  3. At First Light for orchestra  - George Benjamin  - George Benjamin  - Gareth Hulse  -  London Sinfonietta
  4. Panorama  - George Benjamin
  5. Antara for orchestra  - George Benjamin  - George Benjamin  - Pierre-Laurent Aimard  - Sebastian Bell  - Richard Blake  -  London Sinfonietta  - Ishiro Nodaira

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mark Elder   Primary Artist

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