Composer Angelo Badalamenti, who wrote the music for the television series for which this movie served as a "prequel," presents another low-key score mixing after-midnight jazz with ambient sounds, never taken at more than a medium tempo. The mood is dark and languid, appropriate to the unusual tone of the TV show and movie. Jimmy Scott and Julee Cruise contribute eerie vocals to songs with lyrics by director David Lynch.
Cammarano’s horrific libretto is given some of Donizetti’s most beautiful music. After eloping with her lover and being deserted by him, Maria is believed dead but returns home to discover her father has died and left everything to her cousin Matilde. Maria’s ex-lover stabs her and again Maria is believed dead, but in the gripping final scene – a gift for a soprano – Maria stabs Matilde and then confronts Corrado, telling him in her dying moments that she still loves him. This scene alone was enough to ensure many productions throughout Italy and Europe in Donizetti’s lifetime and beyond.
English composer Thomas Tallis witnessed dramatic changes of religion under four monarchs, and his career accordingly represents the development of polyphonic church music in Renaissance England. Along with his student and fellow Roman Catholic, William Byrd, Tallis was one of the earliest composers to publish music under royal patent in England, and his works demonstrated the shifting doctrines and styles of liturgy in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. This 2017 Obsidian release features one piece with a text by Henry VIII's sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr, which gives the album its title, though the mix of Roman Catholic and Anglican pieces on the program suggests that "songs of Reformation" may be seen as one-sided. In any case, the performances by the vocal ensemble Alamire and the viol consort Fretwork put the emphasis on Tallis and his varied output, rather than on the theological preferences of royalty. The result is a well-balanced portrait of Tallis, and his choral music is given transparent textures and clear diction by the 14-voice choir, which maintains independence of parts while offering an evenly blended tone.
Viola player David Aaron Carpenter brings together works united by their composers’ longing for home. Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, deftly arranged for viola by Carpenter himself, and Bartók’s desolate Viola Concerto are each influenced by Eastern European folk song—both composers lived in the U.S. as they wrote their masterpieces, dreaming of their motherlands. Walton’s sweetly melancholic Viola Concerto has an unsettled feeling, while Alexey Shor, now a U.S. resident, recalls his native Kiev with music of great emotional depth and character. Carpenter’s flawless playing is the perfect vehicle for this rich, varied program.
This thrilling album showcases some of Lang’s most urgent, rhythmically complex music performed by an incredible ensemble lineup: the London Sinfonietta, Crash Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, and more. The title track, “Writing on Water,” sets a scintillating patchwork libretto that pieces together literary descriptions of shipwrecks and drowning in its commemoration of the Battle of Trafalgar. Lang’s Nyman-like vocal music lurches and pitches amid a bustling instrumental accompaniment that combines electric guitar and orchestra. The incessantly exciting “Forced March” is a series of relentless collisions between melody and rhythm, while “Increase” combines complex musical patterns and contrasting moods to hypnotic effect.