Sally Beamish: The Seafarer

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All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
English composer Sally Beamish wrote the three pieces recorded here while she was composer-in-residence with the Swedish and Scottish chamber orchestras. It's not surprising, then, that they all have distinctly icy, wintry moods. "Whitescape," a sketch for an opera based on the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, explicitly conjures images of the arctic tundra where Dr. Frankenstein has traveled in search of his monster. It's highly effective in its evocation of a bleak, frozen landscape. "Sangsters," a three-movement tone poem suggested by the Scots poetry of Betty McKellar, depicts a craggy and similarly chilly terrain. The "Seafarer," Beamish's second concerto for ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
English composer Sally Beamish wrote the three pieces recorded here while she was composer-in-residence with the Swedish and Scottish chamber orchestras. It's not surprising, then, that they all have distinctly icy, wintry moods. "Whitescape," a sketch for an opera based on the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, explicitly conjures images of the arctic tundra where Dr. Frankenstein has traveled in search of his monster. It's highly effective in its evocation of a bleak, frozen landscape. "Sangsters," a three-movement tone poem suggested by the Scots poetry of Betty McKellar, depicts a craggy and similarly chilly terrain. The "Seafarer," Beamish's second concerto for viola, was written in memory of conductor David Shallon, the husband of Tabea Zimmermann, the soloist. Like "Sangsters," it takes poetry as its inspiration, in this case a tenth century Anglo-Saxon text that uses the sea voyage as a metaphor for the passages of life. Here again the imagery is dark and icy, with a glimmer of hope at the end. Beamish relies more on color and gestural and textural variety than on melodic premises to create interest, but she has a full arsenal of musical inventiveness to describe the relatively narrow range of themes and images -- coldness, isolation, tortuous, and dangerous terrain -- that she explores in the pieces on this album. Beamish, a violist herself, writes for the instrument with real understanding, and her concerto sounds like it would be gratifying for the performer as well as a showcase of the viola's unique dark qualities. Zimmermann plays beautifully, with fullness and sensitivity. Ola Rudner conducts the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Örebro, in committed and atmospheric performances. The sound is natural, spacious, and clear.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/29/2008
  • Label: Bis
  • EAN: 7318590012413
  • Catalog Number: 1241

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Viola Concerto No. 2 "The Seafarer" - Sally Beamish & Ola Rudner (27:55)
  2. 2 Whitescape, for orchestra - Sally Beamish (10:37)
  3. 5–7 Sangsters, for orchestra - Sally Beamish (20:13)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Tabea Zimmermann Primary Artist
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