Volans: violin:piano; Etude 9 (Eight Bells for Mary); viola: piano; Passi leggieri

Reviewed on Mon 26 Oct, 2015

Performances by long-time Volans collaborators Waldo Alexander (violin/viola) and Jill Richards (piano) are beautifully modulated and full of glistening details.

Immediately obvious in Kevin Volans’s hypnotic new chamber compendium is the conflicting tug and tumult of deep, dislocating emotional currents. Publicity describes violin:piano’s central concern as being “all about the contour of the moment”. Certainly, it reveals (and at times revels in) fleeting freeze-framed images and statements that evaporate as quickly as they coalesce – as if, in the evocative 25-minute title track, emotions were caught and cusped in falling droplets of water. Both it and its noticeably more animated and agitated companion, viola:piano, move from caliginous murk to gleaming luminosity with liquescent allure. Etude 9 (Eight Bells for Mary) is a dark, peristaltic rumination of the heart for piano with ring modulation, the solo violin Passi leggieri bears the coruscated, penumbral twang of the Hardanger fiddle for which it was first composed. Performances by long-time Volans collaborators Waldo Alexander (violin/viola) and Jill Richards (piano) are beautifully modulated and full of glistening details. Excellent recorded sound.
–Michael Quinn