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Classical Music Review

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Spring Shadows
Electronic Solo Works


Composer: Anne Neikirk
Performed by: Andrew Allen (tenor saxophone), Wayla Chambo (flute), Elizabeth Huston (harp) and Adam Vidiksis (percussion)
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 24 January 2020

Composer Anne Neikirk collects together a diverse section of her work on her latest album, Spring Shadows. Tenor saxophone, flute, harp and percussion all feature heavily on their own pieces throughout this release...

There's something engaging and richly rewarding about Anne Neikirk's work. Spring Shadows contains 7 tracks (28 min, 07 sec). It opens with the saxophone-based, 'Ballonman'. This piece is inspired by and built around the poem 'In Just-' by E. E. Cummings. Here, the saxophone melody is built around the tune of Cummings speaking voice.

While this opening is captivating, the next piece, 'Flicker' left me a little rattled. The music showcases a sonic representation of fire. However, the jarring electronic manipulation pulled me in two directions. The first was one of intrigue, trying to work out how she had created the sounds on display, the second was of revulsion, as my teeth rattled as the sounds went through me like fingernails on a chalkboard. .

'LocoMotives' is arguably this album's most accessible piece. In this Harp based track, the electronic manipulation is used to augment the overall sound. It was inspired by the sounds of a Philadelphia Regional Rail Train. Finally we come to the four-part percussion based 'Lung Ta'. The experimentation here is interesting, but won't be to everyone's taste - sadly a lot of people don't see percussion working on its own without other instruments.

The electronic manipulation of the instruments is fascinating and, for the most part, makes for an intriguing listening experience.


Darren Rea

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