Philips's collection of major works that have propelled Gavin Bryars to New Music stardom is an effective overview of his music. The longest work is his Cello Concerto, handsomely played by Julian Lloyd Webber with a big, colorful tone and sustained intensity throughout its contemplative half-hour. A comparable mood pervades the bright tintinnabulating textures of the whimsically titled One Last Bar, Then Joe Can Sing. Similar as well, in their attractive serenity and suppressed sadness, are many of the other works here, prime among them the viola concerto in all but name, The North Shore, a tone painting of the rugged cliffs of northeast England. Adnan Songbook, settings of six poems by Lebanese poet Etel Adnan, are beautifully sung by soprano Valerie Anderson and delicately scored for a small ensemble. Bryars's biggest hits, The Sinking of the Titanic and Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, have inspired him to numerous reworkings and capsuled fragments. They're represented by Titanic Lament, depicting a hymn tune dissolving into gray, watery textures, and two very different four-minute versions of Jesus' Blood, both with Tom Waits.
New visions and colorful dreams emanate from the horn and pen of trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. You would expect the first place winner of the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition to come out with his horn a-blazing, voraciously showing his chops. While he does have the honored award and sharpened abilities, his debut recording, Prelude: to Cora, is one that walks quietly yet carries a huge stick of inspiring, focused and enlightened music that is well beyond his youthful expectations.
LTM is proud to present a newly remastered CD edition of the lost yet influential album Hommages by acclaimed modern British composer Gavin Bryars. Originally released in November 1981 on Les Disques du Crepuscule, Hommages was recorded in Leicester in February 1981 and produced by noted Belgian new music composer Wim Mertens. The album was conceived as a series of diverse homages to other composers, which include Bill Evans (My First Homage), Ferruccio Busoni and Gustav Holst (The English Mail-Coach and the Vespertine Park) and Percy Grainger (Hi-Tremolo). Featured musicians included Andrew Bilham, Ronald Reah, Andrew Renshaw, Nigel Shipway, Dave Smith, John White and Marie Wilson, as well as Gavin Bryars himself on piano and vibraphone. The album is the only one which documents the important period between Bryars' early experimental music and later works from Medea onwards, as well as his enthusiasm for small composer/performer ensembles.