CD Spotlight. A Very Joyous Disc - Brahms arranged by Kenneth Woods impresses Alice McVeigh. '... this is an excellent performance representing a useful, joyful and even inspired addition to the orchestral repertoire.'
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Originally conceived as an impassioned argument in a crowded pub, opinions drunkenly overlapping and allegiances flipping sides with every sip, Argument for Strings is the first work for string quartet by British musician Dan Michaelson (born 1963), and the first in a series of 'Argument' EP releases. Intentionally lean and with very little breathing space, these four tracks of twitchy, nervous violin, viola, cello and double bass are accompanied by piano and the Longformacus bell.
Though better known for his solo albums of dark, Americana tinged reflection, British artist Michaelson is no stranger to instrumental music, having spent the last few years creating score for film - such as Blowin'Up (2018) - and television - eg Detectorists Series 1, 2 and 3, (2016-2018) - whilst gradually moving closer to the orchestral world through his trilogy of albums Distance, Memory and First Light (2018).
'Whilst working on the orchestral palette of those albums, I fell in love with John Adams, Steve Reich and Caroline Shaw with the same force that I had fallen for The Velvet Underground and Leonard Cohen many years before, and with the same result ... the inspiration to investigate a new direction.', Michaelson explains. Commenting on making the decision to take a break from singing and lyric writing, his response was simple: 'Everyone gets tired of the sound of their own voice sometimes ...'
Working closely with violist and conductor Robert Ames and violinist Galya Bisengalieva to complete Argument for Strings, Michaelson found their way of working to be 'very similar to being in a band, just with less wrong notes', which suited him perfectly and has led to the completion of an album to be released in late 2019 on Village Green Recordings.
Robert Ames is co-artistic director and conductor of the London Contemporary Orchestra and is also known as an innovative programme curator. He has worked closely with many leading figures in new music, including Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Bryce Dessner, Mica Levi, Nico Mulhy, Richard Reed Parry, Terry Riley, Anna Meredith and Steve Reich. He is also passionate about championing music from the leading composers of his own generation, premiering works by Shiva Feshareki, Claire M Singer, Emilie Levenaise Farroush, Catherine Lamb and Edmund Finnis amongst others. Recent forays and collaborations have also taken him into the world of pop working with artists such Actress, DJ Shadow, Jonny Greenwood, Thom Yorke, Jamie XX and Frank Ocean.
Galya Bisengalieva is an award-winning Kazakh/British violinist making her own work as a soloist, improviser and collaborator with artists and composers of varied genres. She has collaborated with composers Steve Reich, Laurie Spiegel, Suzanne Ciani, Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros as well as commissioning and performing new works by Hildur Guðnadóttir, Sarah Davachi, Shiva Feshareki, Claire M Singer, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Mica Levi, and CHAINES. Galya leads the London Contemporary Orchestra and her violin solos and improvisations can be heard on Lynne Ramsay's Cannes Film Festival Winner You Were Never Really Here (2017), Elizabeth Chomko's film What They Had (2018), Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre's drama The Mustang (2019) and Alma Har'el's Sundance Film Festival Nominee Honey Boy (2019).
Further information: www.michaelsonscores.com
Posted 6 July 2019 by Keith Bramich