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DARK FORMATIONS music by Ed Hughes

Quartet; Chamber Concerto; Dark Formations; Strike!; Sextet; Light cuts through Dark Skies; Orchids (I-VI) A Buried Flame

New Music Players/New Music Vocal Ensemble/Richard Casey - conductor, pianist and annotator

Metier msv 28530
[2 CDs: 74+66 mins]

This is modern music for listeners 'with two ears' who enjoy contrapuntal music from Purcell to Bach to late Beethoven. Ed Hughes (b. 1968) is a contemporary British contrapuntalist of unique originality and instrumental flair.

Some of his music is related to film (e.g. the cover image above to Hanns Eisler's chamber music for Fourteen Ways of Describing Rain, 1941) and it is all given with consummate security and audibility, with rhythms "simultaneously complex and simple, distinctive, original and yet approachable" [Richard Casey].

I find the ensemble music irresistible; the piano Orchids harder to grasp (and doubtless fiendishly difficult to learn). A Buried Flame for choir sounds impressive, but it is disappointing that (presumably) copyright restrictions prevented Metier from including the poetic texts by Guantanamo detainees from being included in the liner notes...

Peter Grahame Woolf