“a bewitching piece for 12 string players”
Filling the stage in an egalitarian formation of a semicircle, Manchester Collective performed Edmund Finnis’ The Centre is Everywhere, an interwoven texture of 12 independent voices that created a shifting foreground of dynamic arching lines, washing over and converging in cascades of harmony, petering out into the texture of white noise.
Inspired by Scottish poet Robin Robertson’s Finding the Keys, this piece was an ethereally beautiful exploration of the transient nature of the wind and its interactions with the natural world.
Among the latest issues in NMC’s debut series is The Air, Turning, a striking collection of works by Edmund Finnis, born in 1984 and a former pupil of Julian Anderson. There is orchestral music played the BBC Scottish Symphony under Ilan Volkov, ensemble pieces for BCMG and the Britten Sinfonia and solo pieces here, all showing not only how fastidiously Finnis constructs his music, and how cannily he selects and adapts his musical models, but also revealing his precious ability to transform the most straightforward musical objects, sometimes even a single chord, into something richly mysterious and compelling
***** The music of Edmund Finnis invites rather than demands attention – and the more it is given, the more its gifts unfold. Born in 1984, Finnis has an almost synaesthetic ability to paint delicate yet robust, translucent sonic worlds that combine broad, brush-stroke gestures with tiny nuances of sound. Each work on this exquisite debut disc is, in effect, a constantly changing prism in which surface and depth are revealed in tactile, mutual oscillation. The opening title track, The Air, Turning aptly describes the whole as it does this shimmering score.
Where does Parallel Colour stop and Between Rain begin? The former is cast in seven, beautifully sculpted sections around a central double bass while the latter hints at darkness underlying its subtle string tensions. Shades Lengthen completes a beguiling quartet of larger ensemble pieces. Captivating, too, is Four Duets, in which clarinettist Mark Simpson and pianist Víkingur Ólafsson ebb and flow in lovely circles – while Eloisa-Fleur Thom’s breathtaking solo violin takes the listener Elsewhere indeed.
highly effective…shimmering colours and intriguing ideas