Click here to return to the main site.

Classical Music Review

Cover Image



Composer: Society of Composers Inc
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 25 October 2019

The Society of Composers, Inc. is a “professional society dedicated to the promotion, performance, understanding and dissemination of new and contemporary music.” Having brought dozens of unique and compelling compositions to Navona Records over the years, they are now back with the latest in the SCI’s series: Flux...

Doesn't anyone write emotive tunes these days? Is there something too-cool-for-school about delivering a beautifully orchestrated work that touches the soul? What is it about delivering a discordant "noise" and stamping a "modern classical music" label on it?

Over the course of this album's 9 compositions (I can't believe that composers really sat down and committed these pieces to manuscript paper) the listener's senses are slowly attacked in a way that is neither pleasant, nor rewarding in any conceivable way.

Yes, I admit it. I don't get it. Why spend years learning the traditional rules only to throw them out of the window and instead write something that the listener has to fight all of their natural instincts in order to appreciate?

It's noise, it's invasive and it's not deeply rewarding. However, there are topics challenged, allegedly, throughout this collection. Ryan Carter’s chamber work presents questions about the pros and cons of social media, while Wendy Wan-Ki Lee’s flute-cello duo explores the balance between idealism and realism and Chi-hin Leung’s Chinese dance-inspired piece features traditional instruments which deliver unique sounds and gestures. Igor Karača conjures up sounds of South African echo caves with piano and saxophone, and Ingrid Stölzel’s music for trio based on poetry stands side-by-side with Jonah Elrod’s music for marimba that explores the dance between city and starlight. Leah Reid’s portable percussion piece dives into an array of sounds and textures while Matthew Heap’s piano duo depicts the transcendental feel of experiencing vast mountainscapes. Nathaniel Haering closes off the album with a vocal work depicting the complexities of aging.

To be perfectly honest they could have been inspired by the horrors of watching The Smurfs in a weekend marathon... or travelling to Slough by train... the ideas behind the compositions are irrelevant when they are uniformly annoying.

I feel sorry for the musicians. All that time studying the form, only to be forced to use your instrument like a novice.

However, if you like witnessing the rules of classical composition being torn up in front of your very eyes, then you'll probably think I'm a plebeian for not appreciating the craftsmanship on offer here.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

Digital album