Search This Blog

Friday, June 21, 2024

Lewis Gill, Parochial Chamber Works, Music Inspired by Warrington, Volume One


I have been friends with UK composer Lewis Gill for some time now, having the pleasure of hearing about his music on social media and exploring mutual musical frontiers by sharing music and thoughts over the years. I originally liked what he was doing in Prog Rock and have followed his forays into Modern Concert Music for some time without  hearing a lot of musical examples until lately. I am especially glad that I have gotten the chance to hear his latest, Parochial Chamber Works Inspired by Warrington, Volume One (Self Released, Bandcamp).

The album covers some eight shorter works all centered around the feeling of place, most specifically of the town of Warrington, England.

The works are all chamber and chamber orchestral configurations, well orchestrated and apparently articulated via synthetic sound modulators such as you might hear in composition software like Sibelius. Gill skillfully builds and articulates the music while wisely avoiding a lot of string writing as this kind of software can be less convincing in this wise.

The works are mostly squarely of a High Modernist ambition, with edgy harmonies, slippery quagmires of repeating cycles of melodic ambiguity that recalls nicely traces of later Feldman and non-formulaic others. We are not talking about vulgarly imitative as we are original fare. Each piece is singular and memorable, though one is also a humorous foray into melodic ironies like Happy Birthday, Way Down South in Dixies and another uses Shave and and A Haircut as a cadence marker!..

It is first rate and well worth repeated listens. Bravo buddy!

Check out a full stream of the album on SoundCloud: To order a copy get in touch with Lewis Gill on his Facebook page:

Monday, June 10, 2024

Nova Pon, Symphonies of Mother and Child, Turning Point Ensemble


When listening to unfamiliar New Music it may on occasion suggest  some better known composer without sounding like a direct imitation. Sometimes the style revives itself under this new creator and stands on its own two feet in a way we may appreciate. And in the end one might suggest that nothing or almost nothing new sounds like absolutely nothing we have appreciated in the past, and the nature of that new-out-of-old form of flattery can be its own innovation at the same time.

That might be said enthusiastically for Canadian composer Nova Pon and her Symphonies of Mother and Child (Red Shift TK546). It puts together nicely an opening ten minute "World Within" with the five movements of the title work.

The chamber orchestra Turning Point Ensemble under conductor Owen Underhill transports us to a finely lyrical state of mind, redolent of some of the lyrical sides of Early Modernists such as Stravinsky, Milhaud, Ravel and such. As you listen however that similarity of expression morphs towards a music of a singular personality. And the music in time stands out as exceptionally memorable, at least to me.

"World Within"starts things off dramatically with a kind of endless modulation sequence between instruments with especially the trombone and trumpet heading a series of musical tag relay teams that articulate Neo-Classical roots and a very satisfying interplay, all with a processual development that thickens and increases complexities in the textural mapping of the score.

The four movement sequence comprising Symphonies of Mother and Child follows with a mysterious opening and a good deal of brilliant interplay. There are moments of movingly cyclical Minimal motifs yet they do not dominate as much as provide a kind of launching vehicle for tone-color variations that break free of the circular turnstyles typical of classic Minimal fare. As the music unfolds, we hear the major mode tonality emerging more and more with a kind of modal folksiness that gives it all a more contemporary feel--and it works very well as you follow the development throughout.

This is very intelligently wrought  music by a true illuminati of total modernism. Bravo.

Highly recommended. A kind of milestone.

To hear a complete stream and find out how to order go to