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Ryan Latimer – Antiarkie (FLAC)

Ryan Latimer - Antiarkie (FLAC)
Ryan Latimer – Antiarkie (FLAC)

Composer: Ryan Latimer
Performer: Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble, John Rayfield, Crouch End Fesitval Chorus, Rosie Middleton, Loki Ensemble, Psappha
Orchestra: BBC Concert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Oliver Knussen, David Temple, Garry Walker, Daniele Rosina, Pierre-André Valade
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: NMC
Catalogue: NMCD267
Release: 2021
Size: 278 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Mills Mess
02. Frigates & Folly

03. I. Scherzo
04. II. Fantasia
05. III. Passacaglia

06. Moby Dick

Speaking of Letters and Dancing
07. I. A Letter
08. II. Dancing
09. III. Summer Night

10. Slink & Slide
11. Antiarkie

With music that is “anarchic and cartoonishly fun” (BBC Radio 3), Ryan Latimer’s first portrait album Antiarkie is the latest in NMC Recordings’ Debut Disc series.

As his earliest exposure to orchestral music, the playful, frenetic, visceral nature of cartoon soundtracks remains a prominent aspect of Ryan’s work. The title track Antiarkie is a tribute and commentary on this characterful music with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by Pierre-André Valade, equipping a clattering range of percussion to achieve the effect of ‘wild and irregular chaos’.

This child-like energy is ever-present in the piano and percussion duet Slink & Stride, commissioned and performed by Psappha. A selection of short tunes and motifs jostle and reanimate “often subtly entwining themselves or sometimes taking more striding leaps.” (Ryan Latimer)

Ryan turns to Herman Melville’s classic 1851 novel Moby-Dick for his Crouch End Festival Chorus commission Frigates & Folly with the BBC Concert Orchestra and David Temple. This piece focuses on the ship’s tragically optimistic Second Mate, Stubb, whose sarcastic quips and witty songs include a silly ditty making light of a looming typhoon, a surreal dream scene involving a badger-haired merman imparting important life lessons, a drinking song and a depiction of the steadfast sun amidst the chaos of the cosmos. The piece entitled Moby Dick draws upon the structural and stylistic traits of the novel as a whole, capturing the dramatically contrasting character types and unfolding narrative. It was composed for the London Sinfonietta as part of the ‘Next Wave’ programme, established by NMC and Sound and Music.

The song cycle Speaking of Letters and Dancing uses three short poems to explore the effect of distance and proximity in a personal relationship, brought to life by mezzo-soprano Rosie Middleton and Loki Ensemble with conductor Daniele Rosina. The first two movements use the texts of Polish poet and playwright Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska and explore the anticipation and anxiousness of receiving a long-awaited letter from a loved one with unexpectedly heart-breaking consequences, as well as the intimacy and joy of dancing with others. The collection concludes with Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa’s refined, compact poem Summer Night which depicts an evening so still that “even the stars, galaxies apart, might whisper intimately to each other.” (Paul Conway)

Oliver Knussen and the Royal Academy of Music’s new music group Manson Ensemble take on the intricate weaving gestures of Mills Mess. An amateur juggler himself, Ryan takes the piece’s name and inspiration from the juggling pattern created by Steve Mills in the 1970s. The abrupt, twitchy changes of mood and rhythm convey the heightened precariousness as the spectacle becomes more flamboyant.

Constructing a “meta-ensemble” from the peculiar collection of instruments at his disposal, Divertimento, performed by Britten Sinfonia, plays with time-honoured genres with glimpses of baroque-inspired fantasias, modernist violin gestures, and deconstructed quotes from Mozart’s Oboe Quartet.

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