Another delightful piece by English composer Martin Yates. Review: "These lively three sketches are accessible and around grade 5-6 standard. They sit nicely under the fingers but presenting some challenges with key and time signature changes. The piano part would be easily readable for an accompanist and should be straightforward to get together with the flute part. The movements are contrasting with a slow reflective middle movement between two lively faster movements. This would suit a pupil of around grade 6 standard looking for a short piece to play at a school concert or a professional looking for a new piece to add to a recital programme." – Dr. Rachel Smith DMA, MA, BMus (Hons), FTCL, March 2015
Described by the London Times as "one of the most exciting and versatile British conductors of his generation”, Martin Yates made his conducting debut with Bizet’s 'Carmen' at the Israel National Opera aged 24 and has since had a busy career that has included conducting many of Europe’s major symphony orchestras and at many important opera houses including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra and Opera, Royal Opera House in Convent Garden, Royal Swedish Opera House and the Rome Opera. He has appeared with such leading performers as Montserrat Caballe, Bryn Terfel, Barbara Hendricks, Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna and Yo-Yo Ma and has conducted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo three times. Intending from the outset to pursue a career as a composer, Martin studied with Richard Arnell and Sir John Taverner and has written four string quartets 'LA Beach Music', 'New York Night Music', 'Frisco Bay Music' and 'Nashville, Tennesse'. The ever-popular 'Café Music', a 'Harpsichord Sonatina', 'Divertimento' for oboe, bassoon and double bass and a considerable amount of music involving the flute, most of which was written for the British flautist Anna Noakes. These works include the Sonata 'Fire Island', 'Sonatina 1 and 2', 'Sonata for Flute and Harp' and 'Concerto for Flute, Harp and Strings'. The Guardian described Martin Yates as a composer of confident and engaging music that has a style and colour that is both immediately appealing and rewarding to listen to. Martin has also written several scores for theatre productions including the plays 'Jane Eyre', 'The Woman in White' and 'Dear Octopus', three musicals 'Wuthering Heights', 'The Soap Opera' and 'Nothing Doing Tonight' and later works include 'Brass Quintet' and 'The Promise' for Flute Ensemble. Players as diverse as flautist Anna Noakes, harpist Gillian Tingay, pianist Kathron Sturrock, flautist Emily Beynon, double bass payer Duncan McTeer, soprano Jean Glennon and conductor Kent Nagano have played his music. His very popular arrangements of the two Gershwin classics 'S Wonderful' and 'I Got Rhythm' for horn quartet are played all over the world.
Starting with a lively opening theme the Bagatelle leads into an appassionato type melody before going back to a faster pace - a reminder perhaps of a short happy holiday? Dawn awakens in Dawn Chorus leading to the main melody as the day progresses, with a second theme representing the sun arriving in the early hours of morning. Ganger is a walking type dance of a German nature reminiscent of pre war Berlin.
Penderyn is a tiny village at the edge of the Brecon Beacons and is the birthplace of the compose's grandmother. The old church of Penderyn is enclosed by trees that are home to scores of birds from which the village takes its name - 'Hill of Birds' is the English translation. The flute evokes the bird song and in the central section plays a folk style melody, while the piano takes a harp like role with an old Welsh hymn (Llef) hidden in the harmony and following the bird song.
A lively interpretation by Rebecca Faith, the Joy to the World melody is heard layered with original melodies and motifs. An interesting rhythmic idea binds the piece together making it sparkle and dance, with the underlying semiquaver movement creating an exciting shimmer effect. The constant shifting of key, texture and melodic ideas makes this an arrangement that will keep both the performer and listener on their toes.
Describing a person's feelings towards his or her partner Melody of Love shows continuing affection in a couple of variations. Impressions reflects moods, sadness and nostalgic thoughts, leading to a short melody of joy before returning to impressions of life, and Air is a serene hymn like melody with a feeling of peace.
This arrangement by Rebecca Faith is not what is usually expected when labelled with the familiar title Silent Night. This piece of music is more of a variation of themes, the familiar melodies remaining recognisable but treated as small pockets of atmospheric motifs rather than one long lyrical melody. The style and harmonies have a more experimental magical feel whilst remaining easy on the ear, and are created to capture the attention and imagination of the listener.