Philip Sawyers: Mayflower On The Sea Of Time

Album cover art for upc 0710357643927
Catalog: NI6439

April Frederick Thomas Humphreys English Symphony Orchestra English Symphony Orchestra Chorus

Having conducted as much of Philip Sawyers’ music as I have, I have learned that he’s very sensitive to genre and idiom. With this experience in mind, I was fascinated to see what new facets of Philip’s vast musical personality would come to the fore in this, his first oratorio. Given the strong narrative of the source material, it will be no surprise to listeners that this is music that is most often striving purposefully forward. Where in his symphonies, Philip is often very careful to highlight structural moments, and to punctuate musical sentences and paragraphs with great precision and clarity, Mayflower is a study in constant transition and transformation. Cast in four large parts, there is an obvious and intentional overlap with traditional symphonic structure, right down to the ‘scherzo’ of the third section. But the ongoing weaving of Leitmotifs throughout the work means that the hour-long whole expresses a depth of continuity and connection that i find incredibly compelling. One could be forgiven for wondering if Philip’s many years playing Wagner in the Royal Opera House pit informed his approach. Nevertheless, however much Philip has adopted technically from his forebears, the language, the voice and the vision are uniquely his. Live Recording - World Premiere Recording [Kenneth Woods]

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