Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

Spalding's Bounce and Other Chamber Works


Artist: Ferdinando De Sena
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
8 96931 00352 0
Release Date: 12 August 2016

Composer Ferdinando DeSena presents a selection of chamber works offering a mixture of musical elements. DeSena’s distinct musical style draws on all his diverse musical influences including jazz, popular, and classical avant garde. The popular and jazz fingerprints on his music are subtle, but can be found in his instrumentation and instrumental writing; on this album his combinations include the flute, guitar, sax and even harp and electronics to express unique sounds...

I'm not a fan of this style of music - for pretty much the same reason I'm not a fan of freeform jazz. When I listen to music I do so for one of several reasons: to relax at the end of a stressful day; as background ambiance while I do something else; or because I want to hear something that reflects or heightens my mood. What I don't do as a matter of course, is actively seek out music that is so jarring that it stops you doing whatever you are doing and forces you to concentrate on it because it is so distracting.

In Spalding's Bounce the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that everyone's just playing their own tune with no regard to what anyone else is playing. Obviously when you stop and listen you realise that this is not the case, but the styles and approaches are so diverse that at times there are segments where the instruments clash horribly, and others were they meld together beautifully to create something truly incredible.

Was everything carefully down on manuscript before the musicians played? Was there much, if any, rehearsal? Did the composer allow the musicians to improvise at all? You could be forgiven for believing yes or no to each question.

There wasn't anything here that I'd want to listen to again for pleasure - although as an experience I thoroughly enjoyed leaping into Ferdinando De Sena's world without a safety net.

The album contains 8 tracks (51 min, 41 sec) with 'Lasting Virtue' being about as close as you get to good old fashioned classical music. 'Art Market', to my ears, sounded like a bad synth reworking of '90s background music for Doctor Who.

While it's not my thing, and I doubt I'll ever listen to the album again, those that enjoy the more modern, experimentation side of classical music will totally love this.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Digital album