"Yesterday I listened... today I loved!"
Posted on: 13th Apr 2012
Wild, punchy and exhilarating, I first came across the music of Tansy Davies when she unleashed her Wild Card at the Proms in 2010, when a brooding bass clarinet skulked around the back of the texture in her brilliant orchestral piece. The work represents a journey through a deck of Tarot cards, and the opening ‘Devil’ card is full of implied menace as the bass clarinet looms and lurks underneath the orchestra.
Her music combines a brash and vibrant sound with strong jazz/funk-inflected rhythms in a manner reminiscent of her compatriot and 'Bad Boy' of British music, Mark-Anthony Turnage. Her spectrum of influences is huge, ranging from the chameleon of pop, Prince, to Ligetti, a vast deck contributing to an eclectic style which revels in its steadfast refusal to sit in a neat pigeon-hole.
Written for the Composers Ensemble, and first performed not a million miles away from Canterbury at the Dockyard Church, Chatham, her piece Neon is a lively, funky piece with that lurking bass clarinet again shadowing a punchy rhythmic feel, skirling Eastern-sounding woodwind lines and bristling with spiky electronic textures, like an updating of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale, all combining to create a compulsive listening experience something akin to that of the devilish Chamber Symphony by John Adams.
Here’s an interview with the composer herself at the launch of her album ‘Troubairitz’ on the Nonclassical label in March last year.
Tansy’s piece Feather and Groove comes to Sounds New at the lunchtime concert with the COMA London Ensemble on Sunday 6 May, in a programme also including works by Michael Nyman and Jonathan Harvey: details online here.
Posted by Daniel Harding.