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Torrid Nature Scenes Enhanced


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Audio CD, Enhanced, May 28, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Lauded for his "crackling style" (NewMusicBox) and called "compellingly original" (Boston Phoenix) and "both humorous and unsettling" (WGBH), Vines presents "Torrid Nature Scenes"-a series of musical landscapes that instill anxiety and ebullience in the listener. Includes extended liner notes, author readings of the original poems, study scores and more.

Product Details

  • Conductor: Stephen Drury
  • Composer: Nicholas Vines
  • Audio CD (May 28, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Navona
  • ASIN: B00CIOG2ZS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,499 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Jeremy Shatan on September 13, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This is an excerpt from my complete review, available at: [...]

"Now for those of you who see Schoenberg's forbidding and humorless face when you hear the words "contemporary classical," relax. Vines is anything but humorless. After all, the first piece on the disc, The Butcher Of Brisbane, is based on a series of Dr. Who episodes from the 70's - although liking or knowing anything about that show is not a prerequisite for enjoying the music. Described as a "Carnival for solo saxophone(s) and chamber ensemble," The Butcher Of Brisbane shows its hilarious, if unsettling, hand early on, in the Prologue. After an angular and combative start by the sax and ensemble, the horn lets loose four loud foghorn blows that are startling and raucously funny. Those bleats return throughout the work, serving as a reset button and a reminder of who's boss."
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Yes! This CD is amazing - the music is incredibly composed, and the performance is fresh, vibrant, and spectacular. Hopefully more of Mr. Vines's music will be recorded and released soon!
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Format: Audio CD
In 1969 Miles Davis completely redefined 'jazz' through the release of 'Bitches Brew'. It was exciting - a vast, radically different soundscape that spoke eloquently of its particular time and place.

Vines, I think, has done something similar with 'Torrid Nature Scenes'. An Australian composer, Vines was trained at Sydney University (a prodigal son, apparently) before spending a decade or so teaching at Harvard. But this, folks, is no university hack. His music, like that of jazz's splendid sorcerer, is 'full of life and scenes and people and blood and sweat and love', to borrow Ralph J. Gleason's memorable description of 'Bitches Brew'. And Vines shares with Davis another key professional insight: the need to enlist the best musicians available - in this case Stephen Drury's Callithumpian Consort, run out of Boston's New England Conservatory - to make manifest his extraordinary musical canvas. The result - innovative, challenging, always interesting - is a veritable shot in the arm for that ever more maligned record-store subsection known as 'Contemporary Classical Music'.

The CD (and it's worth buying the CD, replete with Andrew Robbie's instructive essays on each work, rather than the digital alternatives) contains three major pieces, 'The Butcher of Brisbane', 'Economy of Wax' and 'Torrid Nature Scene'. I won't explain them all - Robbie does that more than adequately - but I will note that all of the tracks sparkle with Vines' ironic playfulness. Vines is particularly good at making small ensembles sound large - how he does it, I'm not entirely sure. But there are plenty of notes there, although never too many notes... like Davis, Vines understands the importance of space, silence, moments of implied significance.

Should you buy 'Torried Nature Scenes'? Yes, undoubtedly. Why? Well, it's something that's never been heard before in music. I was a tad sceptical initially, I admit, but no longer. A new musical magus for our times is here.
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