Aldeburgh pageant assessment – Gavin Higgins’ Faerie Bride brings otherworldly charisma to Aldeburgh | Classical track

Tales of mortals who marry fairies don’t usually finish neatly however have regularly made for spellbinding narratives. The historic Welsh legend of the Lady of the Lake, recorded within the 14th-century manuscript Llyfr Coch Hergest, supplied the foundation for The Faerie Bride by means of composer Gavin Higgins and librettist Francesca Simon. Acclaimed for his or her first collaboration, The Monstrous Child, this new paintings is styled a cantata, the usage of simply two singers with complete orchestra, a mirrored image of Higgins’s position as composer-in-association with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales who premiered it on the Aldeburgh pageant.

As the farmer telling in unhappy retrospect his tale of falling in love with the girl who rose from the glacial waters of Carmarthenshire’s Llyn y Fan Fach, baritone Roderick Williams used to be unfailingly transparent and expressive. Emerging from the instrumental texture as despite the fact that from the misty depths of the lake, mezzo soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons as his bride conveyed an charisma of otherworldliness. The couple’s happiness is actual however conditional, for it’s she who set the wedding phrases, vowing to go back to her watery underworld must she be struck 3 middle blows. That her faerie blood offers her sight into the long run ends up in the misunderstandings which in flip reason the blows that ship her again into the lake, leaving her husband bereft.

Exuberant … Graham Fitkin, Ruth Wall, Clare Hammond and Kathryn Stott play Fitkin’s compositions. Photograph: BPA

Weaving conventional Welsh people songs into the mezzo’s traces and bringing a pastoral lyricism to wind writing invoking the passing seasons, Higgins’ regulate of his orchestral forces used to be extremely confident, and blended with an equivalent intuition for colouristic and atmospheric element. Martyn Brabbins performed with feeling.

In distinction, Graham Fitkin’s new fee, the former afternoon, had handled the all too recent international the place public pronouncements and statements are empty of which means, with the impact of habituation. Bla, Bla, Bla used to be the final paintings in a live performance of piano track for 2 pairs of duettists: Fitkin, his spouse Ruth Wall, Clare Hammond and Kathryn Stott. In previous items of his from the 80s and 90s, Fitkin’s used to be the exuberantly riding bass line, however this piece’s engagement with the idea that of Shifting Baseline Syndrome used to be greater than a pun. Donning a head-mic, Fitkin narrated whilst he and Wall on synthesisers added layer upon digital layer of sampling – together with witty snippets of movie discussion – to Hammond’s and Stott’s two are living pianos. With scintillatingly vigorous rhythm and a few Pet Shop Boys touches, the moments of cacophonous mayhem spoke volumes.

The Aldeburgh pageant continues till 26 June.

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